Jaguar S-Type The Jaguar S-Type is a bit of a throwback. Stately and posh, the S-Type's exterior design shows shades of the '60s Jaguar saloons, from which its designers cribbed generously. The distinct styling also distinguishes the S-Type from other luxury sport sedans on the market, which more typically feature sharp edges and angled surfaces.
At its debut for 2000, the Jaguar S-Type signified the first real fruit of the Ford-Jaguar partnership. Born as the classier-looking twin of the Lincoln LS, the S-Type was the brand's first true competing model in the modern midsize luxury segment.
Given the car's distinctive style and balanced approach to comfort and performance, the S-Type should prove to be a respectable purchase as a midsize luxury sedan. But new-car shoppers should be aware that Jaguar plans to discontinue the S-Type after the 2008 model year. As such, one of the car's more up-to-date competitors might be a better choice. Used-car shoppers will want to play close attention to the model's history, as Jaguar has been making continual improvements to rectify some early mistakes.
Current Jaguar S-Type
The Jaguar S-Type comes in one body style: a four-door sport sedan. Most people will instantly recognize the S-Type as a Jaguar, inside and out. The cabin is graced with burl walnut wood accents and lovely leather upholstery.
There are three trim levels available: base 3.0, V8-powered 4.2 and performance-themed R. The 3.0 trim comes equipped with a 235-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 while the 4.2 trim features a 300-hp 4.2-liter V8. The R performance trim has a supercharged version of the V8 that cranks out 400 hp. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels on all trims.
Although each Jaguar S-Type is heavily equipped with premium features, the 4.2 trim is especially attractive. Not only does it come with the features found on the 3.0 trim (including dual-zone climate control and full power accessories), the 4.2 trim adds a 320-watt audio system with 10 speakers, a six-CD changer and a navigation system.
The supercharged S-Type R should appeal to performance-minded buyers. While it is capable of doing the 0-60 drill in just 5.3 seconds, there's more to the R than mere muscle. It is an all-around performer, equipped with larger disc brakes, an adjustable sport-tuned suspension system and 19-inch wheels. Adaptive radar-based cruise control is also available on the R.
In road and comparison tests, we found the Jaguar S-Type to be a refined drive. While the V6 feels smooth, its performance leans toward the sluggish side. The V8 engine, however, does the job. Despite the light steering and a soft suspension -- two deliberate traits of the brand -- the sedan nevertheless feels stable and confident through all manner of turns. For the S-Type R, its ultimate performance is no match for the best sport sedans from Germany. However, the car remains well-mannered and comfortable in all conditions.
Past Jaguar S-Type models
Although the S-Type has been around since 2000, it is still in its first generation. There have been some incremental changes over the years, mainly on the inside. Early S-Types suffered from a cheap-looking interior that borrowed too heavily from the Ford parts bin. But over the years, Jaguar has improved the cabin to the point where it looks and feels like a proper Jaguar.
Originally, Jaguar rated the S-Type's V6 at 240 hp and the V8 at 281 hp. A five-speed automatic was standard for both. The most important changes to the S-Type came in 2003, when the R trim was released. Jaguar also stiffened the body structure, upgraded the suspension and replaced the five-speed automatic with a new six-speed transmission. Jaguar also released a new five-speed manual transmission with the 3.0 trim that year. It was never popular with consumers, however, and Jaguar dropped it two years later.
Only minor equipment and styling changes have occurred since. In reviews of the S-Type, consumers typically praise the car's styling and features. They've commented unfavorably about its small trunk and the poor shift quality in earlier cars. The Jaguar's overall reputation for reliability is also not as good as those associated with other midsize luxury sedans from Japanese automakers.

Jaguar X-Type
Early in the 21st century, Jaguar and parent company Ford decided to expand the reach of this historically upper-crust British automotive marque. On the surface, the Jaguar X-Type sedan represented a revolutionary step for the brand when it debuted for the 2001 model year: Not only was it compact in size and comparatively affordable, it wasn't even rear-wheel drive. Drawing upon Ford-derived mechanicals, the X-Type stood apart from German and Japanese competitors in the entry-level luxury sedan segment with its standard all-wheel-drive layout. Even when it was fresh on the market, though, the compact Jag was hard-pressed to compete with most rivals, as its driving dynamics and cabin furnishings never met the standards of the class. Now more than five years on, the Jaguar X-Type has been relegated to bottom-feeder status in a highly competitive segment full of younger, quicker cars.
Available as a sedan or wagon (known as the Sportwagon), the X-Type features Jaguar's classic exterior styling cues, with flowing lines, hooded oval headlights, a rectangular grille and elegantly arched roof; all are meant to recall the original and elegant XJ-series sedans.
Alas, the Jaguar X-Type's engineering underneath isn't so prestigious. The basic steel structure of the car and many of its drivetrain and suspension components are shared with the previous-generation Ford Mondeo, a regular family sedan sold in Europe. Though car companies with regular and upscale brands frequently cross-pollinate hardware, the X-Type's plebian roots have always been too apparent.
If you want a new Jaguar on the cheap, the X-Type is the way to get into one. And it feels like it. Although a pleasant enough daily companion for those fixated on "leaping" hood ornaments, entry-luxury car shoppers with an eye for detail will be put off by its overall lack of refinement. The bottom line is that newer, better engineered competitors offer more value for the money. We recommend you check them out first.
Current Jaguar X-Type
Jaguar's current entry-lux X-Type lineup consists of two models: the 3.0 Sedan and 3.0 Sportwagon. Standard equipment highlights include leather seating, wood trim, automatic climate control, a power driver seat and a moonroof. Stability control, front side airbags and full-length side-curtain airbags are also included.
A luxury package for the 3.0 Sedan adds a few extra convenience features, contrasting piping to the upholstery and burl walnut veneers. (Many of these optional features for the sedan come standard on the wagon.) Other popular options include 18-inch wheels, a navigation system, a premium Alpine audio system and satellite radio.
The sole engine offered is an adequate-but-uninspiring 227-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 working through a five-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive, which helps to improve traction in wet or snowy conditions, is standard.
In reviews and road tests, our editors have generally been put off by the X-Type's interior, which has an unfortunate blend of traditional Jaguar elements -- wood veneers, supple leather upholstery and a restrained use of chrome trim -- and mundane plastic parts more appropriate for a Ford rental.
Like most small luxury cars, the Jaguar X-Type is comfortable for up to four passengers but cramped for five. Buyers should also note that the car's dramatic roof line makes for tighter headroom than in some other entry-luxury compacts. The Sportwagon at least provides a bit more rear headroom than the sedan, and up to 50 cubic feet of storage space out back when the split rear seat is folded down. On both the sedan and wagon, the rear door openings are on the small side, making ingress and egress difficult.
On the road, the Jaguar X-Type offers a comfortable ride for the most part, but the suspension transmits too much harshness over bumps. Handling is tepid as entry-level luxury sedans and wagons go, and the all-wheel-drive system is slow to transfer power when wheel slip occurs. Acceleration is passable, but hardly thrilling on a car with a mid-$30Ks price tag.
Ultimately, the slow-selling X-Type is proof that distinctive Jaguar styling isn't enough to keep a nameplate afloat in a market segment that includes brilliant competition from German and Japanese automakers. In terms of acceleration, handling, prestige and even resale value, most other entry-level luxury sedans or wagons will serve you better.
Past Jaguar X-Type models
Jaguar expanded its lineup and joined the entry-luxury market with the 2002 X-Type sedan, a petite new breed of cat featuring standard traction-maximizing all-wheel drive and the availability of a manual transmission. Originally, Jaguar offered X-Type buyers the choice of a 194-hp 2.5-liter V6 or a 3.0-liter V6 (then rated at 231 hp). The manual gearbox was offered only with the smaller V6. Most buyers still ordered an automatic transmission on the X-Type 2.5, however, so manual-shift models aren't easy to find on the used car market. Note that Jaguar dropped the 2.5 model altogether after the 2005 model year.
Despite the hype of being billed as an alternative to the status quo -- especially Sport Package-equipped models and their more athletic and desirable ride and handling qualities -- our editors noted numerous build quality problems and subpar interior materials in early models.
By 2004, X-Type prices were down and quality was somewhat improved. In addition, the car was freshened with new wheels, revised front bumper/foglights and a reshaped trunk lid and release. If a used X-Type is on your list, the '04 and up models are your best bet. The Sportwagon model joined the lineup in 2005, and in 2006 the X-Type went high-tech with satellite radio and Bluetooth wireless technology.
Overall reliability has not been impressive on the Jaguar X-Type. If you're shopping for a used entry-luxury sedan or wagon, there are many better choices in this price range.

Jaguar XF
The Jaguar XF is an all-new midsize luxury sport sedan. In the grand scheme of things, this statement is perhaps not of extraordinary significance. But for Jaguar, whose past 10 years have been awash in slowing sales and diminishing consumer enthusiasm, the XF is a savior of sorts. Sporting standard V8 power and a blending of tradition with modern style and technology, it's one of the most interesting Jaguars to come out in a long while.
Current Jaguar XF
The Jaguar XF debuted for the 2009 model year. It rides on a stiff new structure that shares some suspension components with the sporty XK coupe and convertible. The car's exterior shape takes inspiration from many historic Jaguar design cues (especially the 1959 Jaguar Mk. II) and combines them with the current enthusiasm for sedans styled to have a coupelike roof line. The result has been somewhat controversial, but most will agree that the XF looks better in person than in photos.
There are two engines available, and they will be familiar to many Jaguar drivers. The first is a normally aspirated 4.2-liter V8 producing 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The second is a supercharged version that makes 420 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. For both engines, power is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with manual control via steering-wheel-mounted paddles. One of the XF's more distinctive features is its JaguarDrive gear selector, a small rotary knob that rises out of the center console, replacing the traditional console-mounted shift lever.
All Jaguar XF models are generously equipped. With seating for five, the sedan arrives in three trim levels -- Luxury, Premium Luxury and Supercharged -- each endowed with finely stitched leather upholstery, wood veneer accents, brushed aluminum trim, dramatic "phosphor blue" interior illumination, and the innovative JaguarSense system, which uses proximity sensors to open the glovebox or turn on map lights with the wave of a hand.
Jaguar's latest midsize luxury sport sedan offers the expected features for this class of car, including 19- or 20-inch wheels, a navigation system, keyless ignition/start and a 440-watt Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system. Antilock disc brakes, stability control, active front head restraints, front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard on all XF models. The Supercharged adds a blind spot monitor to the list.
Overall, the XF is a clear indicator that Jaguar has learned from its past missteps and delivered a wholly compelling midsize luxury sedan. Traditionalists may balk at the XF's chic, coupelike roof line and strikingly unfamiliar front-end treatment. For those buyers, the classically appointed XJ sedan still graces Jaguar showrooms. The Jaguar XF is aimed at a new buyer: younger, more style-conscious and more tech-savvy. Measured from that point of view, the XF is a solid hit.
Past Jaguar XF models
The XF is a new model but from a lineage standpoint it replaces the S-Type midsize sedan sold from 2000-'08.

Jaguar XJ-Series
The British have a penchant for revering (and some say clinging to) things past -- old buildings and dentistry from the 16th century, warm beer, 50-year-old double-decker Routemasters, the royal family and the Jaguar XJ. Introduced in 1968, the XJ's basic styling has strayed very little through three generations and several midlife redesigns. About the wildest thing to happen was the addition of square headlamps in 1990 -- and they were generally met with a smattering of jeers and "cor blimeys!"
The Jaguar XJ has never really been considered the cutting edge of full-size luxury sedans, but it has continuously been a niche model for those who consider luxury to be the quintessentially British look of abundant leather and veneered wood. Brushed aluminium, iDrive-like technologies and Japanese precision just won't cut it. Although features like digital gauges and navigation systems have been added over the years, the basic look has remained, even if it has occasionally clashed with such newfangled technology.
With the exception of its vintage duds, the present Jag XJ is a thoroughly modern luxury sedan. A lightweight aluminum frame, powerful V8 engines, active damping suspension, adaptive cruise control and high-tech features like navigation and Bluetooth keep this flagship sedan in step with competitors from Germany and Japan. Yet Jaguar's insistence on maintaining "timeless" styling has backfired, leading to disappointing sales at a time when it can ill afford any false starts (or whatever English rugby analogy would apply).
Current Jaguar XJ
Today's third-generation XJ was introduced for the 2004 model year, featuring an all-new aluminum chassis that is significantly stiffer and lighter than the previous steel structure. This added stiffness translates into better body control and more precise road feel, while the reduced heft makes for a quicker, more nimble-feeling car. The base engine is a naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V8 making 300 horsepower, while the XJR and Super V8 get a supercharged version of the same engine that churns out 400 hp. The only transmission offered is a six-speed automatic attached to Jaguar's classic and controversial J-gate shifter.
The Jaguar XJ is offered in two wheelbases and five trim levels. The XJ8 and supercharged XJR are short-wheelbase models, while the XJ8 L, Vanden Plas and supercharged Super V8 have long wheelbases. XJ8 and XJ8 L come with a respectable amount of equipment for a luxury sedan, while the Vanden Plas adds more luxurious trappings. The XJR is equipped for enhanced performance. The Super V8 is essentially a Vanden Plas with much of the XJR performance equipment, plus a few extra high-end features. Much of what is standard on the Vanden Plas and Super V8 is optional on the base XJ8 models.
The interior, much like the rest of the car, is a peculiar mix of current technology and heritage design. Burl walnut wood trim, chrome and supple leather are liberally strewn about, providing a coddling environment that would make the Fifth Duke of Wellington feel at home. Yet in reviews, we found this classic British style comes at the expense of ergonomics and general usability. Controls and switchgear are laid out illogically and set low in the dashboard, while their craftsmanship is not up to par. Whether considered "charming" or just "irritating," it would be nice if the XJ's cabin joined the 21st century.
Our road tests have shown the Jaguar XJ8 to deliver an isolated ride that filters out even the most punishing roads with little intrusion into the cabin. The soft suspension, though, tends to mask the car's stiffer body structure and good steering. On the other hand, the XJR (and to a lesser extent, the Super V8) makes the most of its advanced aluminum chassis. Its quicker steering, more aggressively tuned air suspension and 400-hp supercharged V8 prove that Jaguar can produce a luxury sedan that pleases enthusiasts and luxury-minded buyers alike.
Changes to this generation have been minimal. The long-wheelbase Vanden Plas and Super V8 didn't debut until 2005, while 2006 saw modest horsepower increases and the addition of technology like satellite radio and Bluetooth. A limited-edition Super V8 Portfolio model that added even more luxurious interior trappings was available that year. For 2008, the XJ was mildly restyled, adopting XK-style front fender vents and a more aggressive front fascia.
Past Jaguar XJ models
The first Jaguar XJ debuted in 1968 and lasted through 1987, while the second generation was on the prowl from 1987 (yes, both generations were offered that year) to 2003. The second generation started out with round headlights, but for 1990 adopted ungainly rectangular units that were met with disdain by Jaguar enthusiasts. On the whole, this era of the XJ (which ran to '94) was seen as one of the darkest, as it was plagued with various problems, many of which were electrical in nature.
For 1995's midcycle makeover, the round headlights returned, along with a sleeker, lower grille. The interior was also significantly revised to bring it into the 1990s, with improved materials and more up-to-date electronics. The traditional look remained, however, with radio and HVAC controls contained in a pod under a large swath of wood.
There were a number of different engines offered during the second generation's lifespan. The square-headlamp version came with a choice of either an inline-6 (3.6 liters and later 4.0) or a 6.0-liter V12. These models were referred to as the XJ6 and XJ12, respectively. The engines carried through the 1995 overhaul, with a supercharged, 310-hp version of the six-cylinder engine first appearing in the new XJR in 1995. The V12-powered XJ12 was dropped in 1997.
In 1998, Jaguar replaced the inline-6 engines with all-new V8s. A 4.0-liter V8 (290 hp) was found in the XJ8 (the "8" in the name signifying V8 power), while a supercharged version (370 hp) powered the XJR. A few years into this generation, the supercharged V8 became available in other XJs as well, namely the Vanden Plas Supercharged and Super V8 models.
Performance of the 1995-2003 XJs ranged from swift for the six-cylinder cars to thrilling for the supercharged V8 versions. Our road test of a 2000 Vanden Plas had that long-wheelbase luxury sedan sprinting to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds. Ride and handling are composed but (except on the XJR) biased toward plush comfort, as one might expect of a vehicle whose cabin resembles an Edwardian parlor.

Jaguar XK-Series

The Jaguar E-Type or XKE is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful, iconic cars of all time. Introduced in 1961, it has been lusted after ever since, appearing on teenage boys' bedroom walls, grown men's garages and in movies like the "Austin Powers" series, where it served as the international man of mystery's Shaguar. More than three decades since the XKE went to cat heaven, its spirit lives on in a new breed of sleek Jaguar coupes and convertibles. The latest Jaguar XK-Series maintains classic design cues like the oval grille, but adds a thoroughly modern all-aluminum body and high-tech features designed to better defend Britain against German competition.
After 22 years of the unloved Jaguar XJS, the XK name and spirit were revived in the late '90s with the stunning XK8 coupe and convertible. Powered by an all-new 290-horsepower V8, it was quick and capable of keeping up with the best of the sub-$100,000 luxury coupe rivals of the time. As its 10-year life wore on, however, the competition predictably began to surpass the XK8 and the high-performance XKR in terms of refinement and comfort.
For 2007, the Jaguar XK ditched the "8" in its name and dusted off several layers of old-school Jaguar heritage to reveal an all-new, more modern coupe and convertible. Sharing components with the XJ sedan's aluminum structure, the XK is lighter and more rigid -- actually 50 percent stiffer -- than the old XK8, Jag says. Its interior is a drastic departure from the typical Jaguar look, with a modern dashboard design featuring a more intuitive control layout. The biggest interior change is the availability of alloy trim in lieu of wood – although some may argue that a Jag without wood is like Tom Selleck without the mustache.
Current Jaguar XK-Series
The new Jaguar XK and supercharged XKR are available as a two-door coupe and convertible. The standard XK comes with a 4.2-liter V8 churning out 300 hp and 310 pound-feet of torque, while the XKR's supercharged version of the same engine pumps out 420 hp and 418 lb-ft of torque. Both models come standard with a six-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for automanual control. Jaguar's old "J-gate" shifter has finally been replaced with a new design that could perhaps be called a Backwards L Gate or Upside-Down 7 Gate.
The XKR adds sportier interior trim, 19-inch wheels (versus 18s), a firmer suspension, retuned steering, larger front brakes and exterior modifications like an aluminum mesh grille. The XK's standard stability control program is reprogrammed for the XKR to allow the driver more leeway and the option of shutting it off completely.
In road tests and reviews, we've found the regular Jaguar XK to be a little disappointing in terms of acceleration; the coupe's 0-60-mph time of 6.4 seconds is about a second slower than some competitors' times. Both XKR models are expectedly much quicker, going from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. When driving calls for something other than a straight line, both XKs display impressive composure through high-speed sweeping turns. On tighter roads, though, they lack a nimble feel. One final aspect to consider before a purchase would be reliability. In the three XKs we drove, we discovered electrical gremlins involving the touchscreen interface that operates navigation, stereo and climate functions.
Past Jaguar XK models
They say cats have nine lives and quite appropriately, it takes a long time for Jaguar coupes and roadsters to die. The XKE survived from 1961-'74 before being replaced by the very different XJS, which languished in mediocrity for 22 years before being mercifully put out of its misery. By comparison, the 10-year-old XK8 was practically a kitten when it was replaced by today's XK.
The 1997 Jaguar XK8 debuted in coupe and convertible body styles, with the XKR arriving in 2000. The standard 290-hp 4.0-liter engine was Jaguar's first-ever V8 and only the fourth all-new engine in its history. We were impressed with its low-end torque and found that it accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. We also thought it was "a hoot to drive" with effortless acceleration, precise steering and a supple suspension.
Inside, the XK8 featured a classic Jaguar look with lots of Connolly leather and walnut trim. Although it began to look antiquated later in life with unintuitive controls and subpar materials, in the retro-crazed late '90s, it was certifiably chic. The car's cramped interior dimensions and small trunk were never in style, however.
In 2003, the Jaguar XK-Series engine was upgraded to 294 hp and 303 lb-ft of torque (from 284 lb-ft), sending the coupe from zero to 60 in 6.1 seconds – which is better than the current model. That year also saw a new six-speed automatic and more than 900 other mostly minor changes, none of which touched the still-attractive sheet metal. After that, the XK8 prowled about through 2006 without any significant updates.
The high-performance XKR featured a supercharged version of the 4.0-liter V8, making 370 hp and 387 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 mph in the coupe was accomplished in 5.1 seconds. The 2003 revisions also applied to the XKR, including a power boost to 390 hp and 399 lb-ft of torque.
Prior to the XK8, Jaguar offered the XJS coupe and convertible. The latter appeared in 1989, replacing the odd "Cabriolet" model, which featured a Jeep Wrangler-esque retractable roof that maintained the window frames. By 1990, a 262-hp 5.3-liter V12 was the standard engine. It was briefly replaced in 1993 by a 4.0-liter inline-6 making only 219 hp, but a new 278-hp, 6.0-liter V12 emerged in 1994 to complement the standard six-cylinder. A four-speed automatic replaced the ancient GM TH400 three-speed auto in 1993. In 1992, a new head- and taillight design debuted.
The XJS was actually heavier than today's XK, making it all the more slow, ponderous to drive and generally undesirable. Also, with its 1970s-era interior and Jaguar's notoriously poor reliability from this era, used-car shoppers should avoid the XJS as if it were a rabid cat in heat.

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