- The Washington Times - Friday, May 12, 2000

MODEL: Jaguar S-type
VEHICLE TYPE: Four-door sedan
MILEAGE: 17 city, 23 highway

The downside of my test-drive week in the all-new 2000 Jaguar S-type was having to return it. Believe me, this car is exceptionally enjoyable to drive.
The fact that a Jaguar offered such enjoyment was surprising. I'm of the old school where we'd jest, "You have to own two Jaguars, one to drive while the other was in the garage having repairs." For those who still labor under such a false notion, be assured that today's Jaguar is a completely different animal.
The change is the result of Ford Motor Co.'s partnership with this British manufacturer. Today's Jaguar retains its distinctive elegant appearance, but the electronics and mechanical workings are greatly improved. Instead of waddling down the road, the S-type tracks the road with precision. Steering, especially in sharp turns, is precise. It has a solid ride and quickly responds to hard acceleration.
My tester had a 4.0-liter V-8 engine that produced 281 horsepower. There is a V-6 engine available, but having driven the V-8, I wouldn't opt for anything less. Pickup and performance were two of the reasons this week was so pleasurable. Jaguar people say it takes 8 seconds for 0-60 mph with the V-6 engine but only 6.6 seconds with the V-8. Top speed in either car is 130 mph and 150 mph with the sport package. Such performance statistics are definitely worthy of the boasts.
The suspension on this heavy rear-wheel drive car enables it to hug the road even in sharp turns. Should a sudden quick turn be required, the S-type features "Dynamic Stability Control" that senses when the vehicle is about to go out of control and instantly applies brakes and acceleration to the proper wheels to stabilize and keep the car going in its intended direction.
The S-type is not merely a performance car. Basically, it's a luxury sedan with many thoughtful features plus an exotic appearance. Jaguar has always been known for its sensuous design, and the S-type is no exception, even though it is distinctly different from its more expensive siblings. This car has a base price of $48,000.
Jaguar's S-type also has an expressive "face," with the headlamps appearing as two catlike eyes and an oval "mouth." In spite of these changes to the front end, it sits on its wheels in an identifying Jaguar manner.
The interior is everything that one should expect of a true luxury sedan. Everything and more, that is. For example, in sweltering hot weather, as I approached the locked car, I was able to open the sunroof and lower all four windows by using the remote locking device. Should a buyer really want to go for the ultimate in luxury, the climate control unit can be operated by voice commands, there is a navigational system that is easy to operate, and the rain-sensitive windshield wipers will activate at a rate determined by the downfall of raindrops.
The six-pack CD player is kept secure in the glove compartment, which makes the available storage space for the owner's manual rather tight, but the trunk is enormous. I also noted another thoughtful feature in the trunk. Should there be need, either side of the rear seat backrest lowers by simply engaging a lever conveniently located within easy reach of the deck lid. There is a trunk lockout button in the glove compartment for valet parking.
These may seem like small insignificant features considering this is an expensive luxury sedan, but it's loaded with such amenities. You have to see it and drive it to appreciate and understand them. But beware of the downside: leaving it.

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