2003 Jaguar S-Type R 4.2L gas from North America


A properly maintained 'good one' is great fun and a real joy to own


The car I bought was a one owner, dealer serviced since new, all service records since new, including original window sticker.

The original owner had a new dealer installed Jaguar stock ZF 6 speed transmission installed 5 months before it was sold to me.

There were several maintenance issues soon after my purchase that were performed by myself. One issue needed the other issues as preventative maintenance.

Needed: 'J' box shifting mechanism... $700.00 ish USD part only from dealer... owner installed... quite simple.

Preventative routine (for 100K miles) maintenance: Once again performed by myself with simple tools and YouTube instructions.

Engine oil and filter change at 5K mile intervals.

Fuel filter change.

OEM spark plugs and ignition 'coil packs' (all 8) replaced.

Head light low beam bulbs.

Front brake pads.

Cold air ram system installed with high flow air filter cone.

General Comments:

Lovely, lovely car... a very lovely combination of Elegance and 'Insolence'... luxury with 400+ 'ponies' all at your command.

The car feels like a sports car with four doors... not overly large inside, but a good snug feel... with 495K+ over 35 years in Porsche 911s, I know of what I speak.

Really drives like the luxury sport sedan it's labeled as, with the ability to eat up virtually any other car on the road. A good friend of mine bought the Maserati four door, a real 'stunner' in Rosa Corsa Red, and it's quite fast, but I 'clean his clock' every time we line up!

I was very fortunate to find a one owner, all records car and then put in the 'preventative' maintenance that should make it roll for many more trouble free miles.

I've seen people talk about 'Dealer' repair cost. I really believe that if you don't have the desire or ability to do most of the light to medium maintenance required on these cars yourself, then they are going to be very expensive to own.

The first owner had an annual repair cost from new of from $3,500.00 to $5,500.00 per year.

I've been able to perform needed as well as 'preventative' maintenance to my car with simple tools, a good hydraulic floor jack and YouTube instruction for an out of pocket cost of $1,400.00 ish... most of which will not need to be repeated for 80K to 100K more miles... that represents a 'Dealer' cost factor just over $7,000.00.

My car runs super strong and is a joy to drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th November, 2015

2003 Jaguar S-Type R from North America


Great British Brute


I bought the car with 89k miles, so I expected a few things would need to be fixed. I replaced the rotors, brakes, rear lower control arms, stabilizers, engine oil/filter, trans oil/filter/pan and notorious e-brake motor. CEL is on and I've not dealt with it yet. A light bulb went out and turned out to be the whole driver's side unit... $1,250!!! I also got a new spare key and programming for another $550. The cost of these last 2 repairs were much higher than I anticipated. I believe Jaguar shop rates are higher than those of Porsche.

The transmission has that hard shifting 1-2 and 2-1 problem, on occasion. This detracts a lot from the driving enjoyment, as I find myself bracing for the jolt. I may look into a remap, but with the dealer's outrageous prices, I may live with it and (probably) not own the car as long as I would otherwise like to.

There are more squeaks from the interior than I would like. My 1996 XJ6 was put together much better in that regard. It seems like Jaguar used much cheaper plastics on the interior.

General Comments:

Silver on black with satin black painted wheels. The car is beautiful. My neighbors thought it was brand new when I drove it down the street for the first time. It has the classic Jaguar looks that remind you of the past, but still look fresh. I think the look will age well, going forward.

My XJ6 was relaxing to drive. I can't say the same about this one. Partly, because of the anticipation of the next hard shift from the transmission. Also, because of the sporting personality that the S Type R has. Loads of torque is available at all times. And, the handling is very tight with just a hint of lean into corners before the suspension tightens up. On the highway, the ride is smooth but not cushy. You can feel the heavy weight of the car in spirited driving, but the car still handles very well and the brakes are superb.

I like that the S Type is no longer made, so it will remain the "newest/last" generation S type out there. The contemporaries; E Class AMG, Audi S4/6, BMW M5, all came out with one or more generations since the S Type was last made, so if you are driving one of those, you have an "old" design. I kind of like Jaguar's approach, which replaced the S Type in the market place with a totally different car that carried a different name.

The navigation seems to be slow and not very user-friendly. I have not really tried to use it. I am not crazy about the combined HVAC, Nav, radio/CD controller unit. If that fails, I would hate to know the replacement cost.

The HVAC temp readout and outside temperature display is VERY low in the control unit. I have to bend down to see the numbers. And, the outside temp does not show when the HVAC is off.

The headliner appears to be holding up. Paint quality is nice, as well.

As of 2015, these are $7-14k cars. I am at close to the top of this range with what I paid for the car including repairs.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 24th October, 2015

27th Sep 2017, 18:27

I am the original poster giving a 2 year update. The car now has about 97k miles on it. In the past year, I replaced 2 coil packs. This was very easy to do, as long as you know which ones were bad. Coils were about $60 each at Advance Auto Parts. I also noticed that the front tires were wearing on the outer edges so I looked at the suspension and saw the upper control arms were worn out. So, I replaced those myself for probably $200 or less (can't remember the exact cost). No doubt this would have been at least $1k at the dealer.

I also got new tires, as mine were 7 years old or so and the fronts were worn.

The transmission's occasional hard shifting issue has largely settled down since changing the fluid/filter. It still shifts hard once in a while, but I am convinced that this is normal for the ZF trans and not some actual fault.

Check engine light sometimes comes one with code that says to check the fuel filler cap. This is annoying.

The navigation is also very slow, difficult to use, and therefore useless. I never have used it to get anywhere. Cell phone navigation is much better and rendering car based navs obsolete, in my opinion.

I think the car is aging very well compared to other cars of its vintage. To buy a new "R", "M", "RS", "AMG" or Maserati badged vehicle stops making sense when I realize that I would lose the entire value of my S Type R in the new car's depreciation after just one year! So, I roll the dice and continue to drive the S Type R with not much to lose. If it totally falls apart in the next year, I am out the same amount I would be if I bought a new version and weathered the storm of depreciation for 12+ months.

Thankfully, YouTube and other resources have allowed owners to tackle repairs in order to keep these cars running at a semi-reasonable cost.