- The Washington Times - Friday, May 10, 2002

The entry-level Jaguar S-Type is powered by a 3-liter, V-6 mated to a standard five-speed manual transmission, with a six-speed automatic optionally available.

Next, in the midrange, is a 4.2-liter normally aspirated V-8-powered four-door with a six-speed automatic transmission, and last, but certainly not least, is the cream of the crop, and my favorite the S-Type R with a supercharged version of the 4.2-liter V-8.

Of the S-Type R, Mike O'Driscoll, president of Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover of North America, perhaps put it best: "The S-Type R firmly demonstrates our passion for fast, dynamic vehicles that give as much pleasure to drive as they do to own." The R is to Jaguar cars, what M models are to BMW, what AMG models are in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, and what S stands for with performance-oriented Porsches.

The flagship S-Type R is not only an ultrahigh-performance machine, but a sedate, refined and luxurious vehicle as well. In reality, the R serves a dual role it is understated, elegant transportation capable of delivering instantaneous power on a competitive level, satisfying the demands of the most discriminating driving enthusiast.

The S-Type R comes equipped with a race-inspired engine, a sports-tuned suspension, race-engineered Brembo brakes and Jaguar's Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS), to provide optimal ride and handling characteristics. Even the R's interior is executed in a sporting style, with a leather-trimmed R Performance steering wheel and 16-way adjustable sport seats, as well as a bolder, more aggressive front fascia, rear spoiler, 18-inch "Zeus" alloy wheels and xenon headlamps. Also setting the R apart from normally aspirated S-Type models is a bright-finish mesh grille with a body-color-keyed surround and distinctive badging, featuring the same red R logo that appears on the nose of the new 2002 Jaguar R3 Formula One racer.

Pricing for the latest S-type begins at $42,495 for the 3-liter V-6, five-speed manual example. The more coveted S-Type R with its supercharged V-8 and six-speed automatic transmission has its base price set at $62,400 which includes as standard fare the Premium package; a power moon roof with privacy shade; xenon headlights; Premium sound system; heated front seats; and destination and delivery charges. Available optional features include a DVD-based navigation system ($2,200); and a voice-activated communication system ($2,250). Fully loaded, the S-Type R will set one back $66,850.

The S-Type R epitomizes Jaguar's art of performance with a slight edge of aggression. It visually stirs one's emotions and physically induces an adrenaline rush in terms of its delivery of positive performance attributes. The interior reflects an exceptionally high level of ambience with a tasteful and harmonious blend of leather, chrome and gray-stained bird's-eye maple, polished wood veneer accents, which includes a new full-width instrument panel trim.

The 18-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels and performance tires are surely suggestive of the car's capabilities.

Some expressed displeasure with the car's rear license plate surround, likening it to that of a Ford Taurus actually, it's the other way around, with Ford copying Jaguar.

Other noteworthy new S-Type features include electronically adjustable pedals and an electronic parking brake with fully automatic operation, located on the center console.

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