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Roadfly Magazine
Issue Four
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
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Issue Four
Jan. 6, 2003
LA Auto Show
LA Auto Show Photo Gallery
Mission MINI

Porsche Cayenne Introduction
Maybach Introduction
2003 Jaguar S-Type Road Test
Coming Next Issue
Detroit Auto Show
Nav-TV Interview
Bose Headphones

2003 Jaguar S-Type Review (continued)
The "S" stands for Stunning, Sporty and Superb

2003 Jaguar S-Type 3.0L Quarter Shot

16" Wheels on Jaguar S-Type

Jaguar S-Type Front Sunroof view

Sitting inside the 2003 Jaguar S-Type

Go to
Jaguar S-Type
Photo Gallery
Official Web site:
Jaguar was quick to point out that there was more to the S-Type than its powertrain. Jaguar engineers have stiffened the S-Type chassis by more than 10% and have included several suspension revisions including updated dampers (struts), springs, bushings and sway bars. Prodigious amounts of aluminum are also used in the fully independent front and rear suspension to help lower unsprung weight and increase rigidity. We found the handling to be tight and precise, although we did notice one very unsettling trait: When driving quickly over uneven terrain, the engine cuts power momentarily when wheel slip is detected.

The system is so quick to respond that it can be quite unnerving, especially when you're not expecting it. Our hearts skipped several beats when one of the rear-driven wheels apparently lost traction with the pavement "mid bounce" and the car cut power instantaneously. After realizing what was happening, we still felt uneasy with the system, due in large part to its abrupt and immediate operation. The S-Type R benefits from Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) and may alleviate some of the handling issues we experienced.

The S-Type 3.0L brakes are of the 4-wheel vented disc variety and come equipped with ABS and yaw control. The latter helps keep the vehicle level under heavy braking, and despite what looks to be a great system on paper, we experienced average braking results - 70 to 0 came in just under 200 feet (for comparison, the similarly priced BMW 530i stops in 167 feet).

Inside, we found the newly redesigned seats to be comfortable, supportive and roomy. Our lanky, 6'4" editors had no problems with head or leg room, and all commented on the improved cabin quality. The navigation system was easy to operate, the stereo controls were well placed and the climate control system worked flawlessly.

From behind the wheel, our only complaints included some cluegy controls (window controls, stalks and cruise control), but the issues were minor and would go largely unnoticed after a few days. The new for 2003 dashboard features real bird's-eye maple and an improved instrument layout - both of which are welcome additions. Dual stage airbags are coupled to sensors that determine the size and weight of occupants to better protect them in the event of a crash. Adjustable pedals help to accomdate all body types, and power memory seat/pedal/mirror and steering settings remember each driver's individual preferences.

While the 2003 Jaguar S-Type 3.0L may not be the King of the Jungle, it's definitely positioned near the top of the food chain. Thanks to the recent revisions, the S-Type is more comfortable and capable than ever, and is poised to give class-leaders such as the BMW 530i and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class a run for their money. With an optional sport package and some added amenities, a well equipped S-Type will set you back about $50k - that's less than the BMW and Mercedes, and helps make the S-Type an even more serious contender in its class.

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