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Future models - Jaguar - S-Type

First look: S-Type’s simple new look

Familiar but different: The distinctive S-Type grille is now shorter and wider.

Jaguar’s mid-sized luxury sedan gets an updated exterior and interior

16 Jan 2004

JAGUAR’S S-Type mid-sized luxury car has gone under the knife for the second time in two years, with changes to both the exterior and interior looks.

Apart from the styling work, overseen by Jaguar’s design boss Ian Callum, there has also been some subtle revisions to the suspension.

This makeover is expected in Australia in mid-2004 to take on the new BMW 5 Series and the other heavyweight German contender in the category, the Benz E-class.

The new S-Type is likely to make its Australian debut at the Melbourne motor show in March, where new and slightly raised prices will also be revealed.

S-Type certainly needs a boost in Australia, with sales slumping to just 314 in 2003, the lowest ebb since the car’s launch in 1999. Indeed, the whole Jaguar marque could do with a lift here, as sales were off more than 18 per cent in 2003.

Mr Callum, who is best known to Australians for the work he did on the HSV range, has reprofiled the bonnet to give it a more pronounced central ridge that tapers into a more upright grille.

The bonnet is also now made of aluminium, which saves 11kg in weight and improves weight distribution.

And if you think you’ve seen that grille before, you’re right. It was previewed on the R-D6 concept first shown at Frankfurt last September. It is based on the famed D-Type’s grille shape and is shorter and wider than the old one.

“This car has a focal point and it’s clear what it is – the front grille and twin headlamps,” said Mr Callum.

“But to make it work, everything around that focus has to be as simple as possible, and the extensive changes for 2004 are designed to achieve precisely that.” At the rear, Mr Callum has reduced the boot’s substantial droop by 25mm and added a full width plinth for the Jaguar name. There are also redesigned tail-lights and bumper.

The highlight inside is an aluminium fascia finish which is standard on the S-Type Sport and S-Type R models. This style was made famous in Jaguar sports cars, such as the 1961 E-Type, but this is the first time S-Type customers have been able to choose an interior without wood trim.

Technical work has been restricted to the suspension, which has already been substantially redesigned at an update in 2002. Jaguar has retuned the dampers and added low-friction ball joints to improve ride and handling.

“The suspension revisions to the new S-Type are subtle but significant, making the car even more refined and comfortable,” said Mike Cross, Jaguar’s chief engineer, vehicle integrity.

“The steering is very connected, linear and positive. The driving dynamics overall are a combination of stability and sporting agility, which makes the S-Type very satisfying to drive.” There has been no change to the petrol engine line-up, which kicks off with the 150kW 2.5-litre V6 and is topped off by the monster 298kW S-Type R V8.

No details have been released about the 2.7-litre turbo-diesel engine that will be launched around mid-year in Europe. The engine, co-developed by Ford and PSA, is not expected to come to Australia.

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