Jaguar's fattest Cat yet
Jaguar S-Type R
298kW @ 6100rpm from blown 4.2-litre mill
18-inch wheels, twin exhaust systen
Heavy, but nimble
New-age audio system
There's a new trend emerging among the luxury tourers - power.
If you don't have it, you may as well forget it.
And the the magic number could be 200. That's right, 200
kilowatts of power at the crank, which is easier said than
done. Locally, you could nominate the Holden Statesman packed
with the 5.7-litre Chev engine, perhaps even an HSV-enhanced
Take the new Jaguar, for instance. Under Ford's wing, the
company has supercharged one of the company's many V8 blocks
and is now targetting the hot BMW M5. Both the S-Type R and
M5 create around 300kW and it is clear than the lines have
Maserati's new Quattroporte is likely to join the fiery four-door
fray in 2003, but for now, we'll take a look at the S-Type
R and see if the R really stands for what we think
The look of the S-Type R is, for all intents and purposes,
traditionally Jaguar. But at the same token, subtle tweaks
will identify it as something completely different for those
with an eye for detail.
Take, for instance, the bootlid spoiler. Very small, but
sporting. The new 18-inch wheels, ever-so-slightly exaggerrated
body kit, revised grille (with integrated growler emblem)
and xenon healights take nothing away from the distinctive
Jag look, but give it a visual edge over it's stablemates
at the same time. Oh, and the 'R' badges are a bit of a giveaway...
Weighing in at about the 1800kg mark, the S-Type R is (really)
leaden with luxury goodies, including state-of-the-art (Xenon)
HID headlights with electronic headlamp leveling, 16-way electrically-adjustable
front seats, dual zone automatic climate control, heated front
seats, rain-sensing wipers, moonroof, six-CD autochanger and,
surprisingly, power adjustable pedals. Another unique feature
is a button-operated hand-brake, which would make rally-driving
The suspension system is pretty cool too, which endows the
new 'R' with fairly nimble handling. CATS, or computer active
technology suspension, as the boffins call it, gives the portly
Jag it's dancing shoes, allowing for a more refined ride,
but at the same time solid handling and reduced body-roll
when at the limit.
To get this balance right, the dampers are electronically
controlled two-stage adaptive types, changing to suit the
situation. CATS also incorporates uprated springs and the
whole shebang amounts to more predictability when cornering
and braking. In that respect you could also add 'safety' to
the 'handling' gains.
Hauling the fat Cat in from speed are massive Brembo brakes,
sporting 365mm discs up front and 330mm discs aft, with four-piston
calipers all round. Together with DSC, the S-Type R is an
ultimately safe car.
The DSC, or Dynamic Stability Control, incorporates ABS and
TCS to give the car sure-footing, even in adverse conditions,
and helps reduce severe over and under-steer.
The S-Type R is a very important model for the British marque
and, as such, the car makes use of an all-new six-speed auto
gearbox from ZF. A first for Jag.
The new slick-shifting six is coupled to a revised version
of Ford's 4.0-litre V8, used in the outgoing S-Type model.
The new quad-cam 4.2-litre V8 is worth an impressive 224kW,
but slap on a supercharger and peak power is hiked to a commanding
298kW. This is achieved @ 6100rpm - quite a high-revver for
a V8. Peak torque is 553Nm @ 3500rpm, creating a tasty poweband
Such a glut of power allows the big Cat to arrive at a 250km/h
top speed, while the 0-100km/h dash is claimed at 5.3 seconds,
which is quite a feat for such a large car. That should wipe
the smirk off the 500Nm BMW M5's face. But power isn't everything
and Jaguar is hoping that it's new flagship model will chip
away at a customer base that is predominantly German-biased.
As far as safety goes, the S-Type R comes fitted with Adaptive
Restraint Technology System (ARTS). Basically the deployment
of the front airbags is based upon the presence, position
and weight of the front passenger, the position of driver
in relation to the steering wheel, the usage of seatbelts,
and the severity of the impact and was first seen on the XK
Series sports cars.
Mike Cross, the chief engineer of vehicle integrity, had
this to say about the dynamics of the sporty S-Type: "The
S-Type R has a dual personality, in line with Jaguars
philosophy for our ultra high performance flagship vehicles.
The new car is inherently quiet, refined and comfortable
but when stirred, it becomes a true performance machine, satisfying
the demands of the driving enthusiast. Power is instantly
available, without ever being intimidating or overly demanding
of the driver."
Complimenting the XJR and XKR coupe and convertible, the
new S-Type R is Jaguar's most powerful saloon ever built.
And perhaps that's exactly what the marque needs to get attention
- a big, luxurious, expensive and kick-ass 298kW behemoth
to excite the punters. Jaguar newcomers will appreciate the
sheer grunt and impressive amount of extras and goodies that
make up the S-Type R, but traditionalists, if they can forgive
the Ford-esque rear, should find merit in the fast S-Type,
too. Potential buyers can expect to pay around $165,000 for
the fattest Cat around when it arrives in July.