2007 Jaguar S-Type 4.2 LiterPosted on April 5th, 2007
Supple sport sedan
By Nina Russin
Can jaguars growl? The Jaguar S-Type can, but it’s a very civilized growl: a purr on steroids if you will. Jaguar’s sport sedan with the 4.2-liter V8 engine is a serious performer, accelerating from zero-to-sixty in a tick over six seconds. The six-speed automatic transmission is buttery smooth, and speed-sensitive steering provides exceptional response.
The interior is classic Jaguar: tasteful leather trim, a leaper on the steering wheel, exceptional audio system, and ample space for four adult passengers. The trunk is spacious enough to hold a bicycle with the front wheel removed, and there’s a pass-through to extend the load floor into the rear of the car.
When engineers introduced the second-generation car, they didn’t reinvent the wheel. They improved on the original formula by making the current model lighter and better balanced than the car it replaced, with an all-new suspension, a higher level of standard safety features, more room on the inside, and a larger choice of engines. Speed freaks can opt for the supercharged 4.2-liter model with a 400-horsepower engine that goes zero-to-sixty in 5.3 seconds, while buyers looking to maximize fuel economy will appreciate the 3-liter V6 with a five-speed manual transmission that averages almost 30 miles-per-gallon, city and highway.
A leaper with low body fat
The leaper is Jaguar’s moniker for the kitty on the hood: it is essentially unchanged from the design Jaguar used seventy years ago. The image of a cat ready to pounce is the heart and soul of every Jaguar. Jaguars are light, nimble cars. Engineers made the new S-Type more nimble by using more aluminum up front to reduce overall weight and improve the front-to-rear balance.
They also changed the suspension damping for better response. Better fit and finish throughout the car makes it quieter, while variable cam timing gives the engine better power output on the high end, and better fuel economy while idling.
The six-speed automatic transmission provides large overdrive gears to maximize fuel economy. Drivers can manually change gears using the J-shaped gate shifter, or simply cruise along in “drive” mode. The four-wheel disc brakes are linear and firm without being grabby. Standard dynamic stability control helps the driver to maintain control in bad weather by measuring wheel speed and yaw, and using the engine and brake functions to make the car track straight.
The improvements to ride and handling are most noticeable on the highway. In Phoenix, where highway driving is a game of dodge-’em, the Jaguar was exceptionally adept at accelerating and shifting lanes. Not only was accelerating into high-speed traffic a non-issue, but I was able to move around large rigs quickly and effortlessly.
The S-Type interior is spacious and elegant. The standard moonroof allows plenty of ambient light inside for both first and second-row passengers. The leather seats are firm and easy to adjust for good lower back support. Seat heaters are standard: a boon for passengers living in cold weather climates. An electronic tilt steering wheel makes it easy for drivers of various heights to find a comfortable position with good forward visibility.
The center console has a sliding cover that opens to reveal two cupholders and a good-sized bin. It also houses the release for the electronic parking brake, saving space over a large stalk, or additional foot pedal. The cupholders will work well for small drinks, but not large water bottles. There are map pockets in all four doors, but no bottle holders. Rear-seat passengers have separate vents for heat and air conditioning. Most adults should find that the second-row seats have ample shoulder and leg room.
The Alpine 320-watt audio system comes with an in-dash 7-disc CD player. The sound quality is excellent. However, the speed-sensitive volume feature is a little annoying. Fortunately, the redundant volume control on the steering wheel allows the driver to turn the level down when the system overcompensates for road noise. The audio system is Bluetooth compatible, for drivers who want hands-free phone operation in the car.
The touch-screen display in the center of the instrument panel includes audio and climate controls, as well as the standard navigation system. Dual climate controls allow each front-row passenger to adjust the temperature to his or her liking. There are redundant knobs for basic audio and climate controls, so passengers can make quick changes without going into the touch-screen. There are also redundant controls on the steering wheel.
A park assist system is also standard. It uses an audible signal to let the driver know if the vehicle is close to an obstruction to the front or rear. It’s a handy feature for avoiding short objects in the rear blind spots, and more important, for protecting small children who may be in the vehicle’s path.
The trunk is exceptionally deep: long enough to stuff a road bike inside with the front wheel removed. It will easily hold the week’s groceries, luggage for a road trip, and even some large camping gear.
Standard safety features include antilock braking, traction control, dynamic stability control, front, side, and side curtain airbags.
Pricing on the sedan with the 4.2-liter engine starts at $55,335. The S-Type is currently available for test drives at Jaguar dealerships nationwide.
Likes: Elegant styling and sporty performance. The V8 engine has excellent acceleration at all speeds, with excellent fuel economy to boot. The new suspension is compliant without being overly soft, and steering response is above average.
Dislikes: The cupholders are too small to hold a standard water bottle. The speed-sensitive volume feature tends to overcompensate for road noise.
Base price: $55,355
Price as tested: $56,000
Horsepower: 300 Hp @ 6000 r.p.m.
Torque: 310 lbs-ft @ 4100 r.p.m.
0 to 60: 6.2 seconds
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: No
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 18/26 m.p.g. city/highway
Comments: Base price does not include $665 destination and handling fee.
Leave a reply