- The Washington Times - Friday, June 21, 2002

I am not exactly sure where the controversy surrounding the new Jaguars began. Nor, am I sure why some media types thought there was a controversy.
It may be because Ford, a very American car company through and through, saved this purely British car company. Or, perhaps Jaguars are now far superior vehicles than they have ever been. It could also be that some critics are just jealous that Jaguar has rebounded with such great vigor and enthusiasm.
Whatever the reason it is unimportant in that Jaguar will continue building fantastically well-appointed automobiles offering performance that is sure to make your heart beat as quickly as the rpms of the Jaguar's engine.
Following an extremely successful debut in 1999, the new S-Type has quenched any of the issues the original version might have had. It's more sophisticated, more stylish and certainly a much better performer. That's even before we get to the "R" model (more about that later).
A redesigned suspension system, better brakes and a larger V-8 engine all merge to make the new S-Type a wonderfully pleasing automobile. There are now three powertrains available in the S-Type. The base car starts with a V-6 engine coupled to either a five-speed manual, or the new six-speed automatic. A larger 4.2-liter V-8 is mated with the six-speed automatic only, as is the 400-horsepower, supercharged V-8 in the "R" model.
Two new features deal with brakes, but not out at the wheels where you might expect changes. No, these improvements are actually in the passenger compartment and both make the driver and passengers more comfortable. Gone is the traditional emergency brake lever. No longer will this lever be the sore spot on the driver's right leg. In its place Jaguar engineers have installed a latch-styled switch that electronically sets and releases the emergency brake. This one addition, alone, makes driving the new S-Type so much more comfortable.
Another feature I have applauded in other Ford vehicles, is adjustable foot pedals. With a touch of a switch it is easy to make a vehicle safer and more comfortable for a variety of drivers. My wife who is 5 feet 2 inches is as happy to see this feature as I am at 6 feet 2 inches.
There are by far more refinements under the skin of the new S-Type than there are inside. A new magnesium alloy front cross member that is the basic structure for the dashboard adds strength without adding unduly to the weight. A new two-piece double-wishbone front suspension allows the S-Type to offer excellent ride comfort while affording very good handling characteristics.
Adding even more extreme performance just as it has in other Jaguar models; the new S-Type "R" will thrill you. A powerful V-8 engine produces an extremely huge smile with its 400 horsepower and 408 pounds-feet of torque. This power is united with a modified suspension system that improves handling by increasing spring rates and revalved shocks. Larger performance tires increase the R's cornering characteristics.
With the refinements that have gone into this new S-Type it appears Jaguar has reached its goal. Jaguar representatives are adamant about how well these improvements have further fulfilled their quest to make the S-Type more of what a Jaguar represents.
They summed it up with one phrase; "When you get out of a Jaguar you should feel better than when you got in."
This was accurate for me following my drive in the "R." In fact, they had a difficult time getting me out of the car.


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