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

2003 Jaguar S-Type R 4.2 supercharged from UK and Ireland


Sports car handling, rocket power, potential big bills


I bought an absolute disaster of a car. The car was outwardly fine and appeared to drive well, and since it was being bought from a trader, there was an assumption of it being of acceptable quality. But after purchase, an inspection by an independent specialist found in excess of £2000 worth of serious faults to the suspension, brakes, gearbox, wheel hub - basically it was in no fit state to be sold by a trader, and a claim under the Sale of Goods Act is in progress. How it managed to get an MOT is a good question...

All rear suspension arms need replacing and all bushes failed (rear wheels have several degrees of motion in all directions).

All major brake lines are seriously corroded.

Gearbox sump leak.

Front wheel hub damaged due to a terrible tyre change job (ruined wheel studs).

Continually throwing lean fuel mix errors.

Going into limp home mode in the rain.

General Comments:

I am not a fan of the S Type's looks. I am a fan of the luxury in which passengers sit, and especially in the STR, the seemingly limitless power.

Nearly everything about this car is pure bliss:

The quality of most components is spot on.

The full leather seats are comfortable and adjust in ways I didn't know were possible. Together with pedal and steering wheel adjustment, the seating position is perfect.

As mentioned, the power is vast and immediate. Drive around town and it'll never need to go over 1500 RPM. Push the pedal down without care and the traction control will kick in no matter what the weather conditions.

It's delivered through a good auto box - driving slowly around town I don't notice the gear changes. Drive fast and the changes are near anticipated.

The steering response is incredible. Somehow the variable assistance feels more direct than true direct steering.

Suspension is similarly magic. With thinner tyres and less suspension travel than my MG, it still manages to deliver a magic carpet ride. Pick up the speed and the CATS stops the car from rolling - at all, it seems.

Bad points:

The touchscreen lags on presses, an issue with a 9 year old device now we're all spoilt by the iPad.

The radio controls are poor. There are hardware buttons for things I never want to change and the labelling is downright odd.

Interior space is lacking, both in the cabin and in the boot.

20 MPG.

Every component on the car costs a fortune, so don't buy a bad one.

If you've ever been in a Ford from the late 90s, there will be a lot of familiar buttons, and the key...

A soon as the situation with this car is resolved, I will be back in the market for a new STR and will be having it independently inspected before committing to buy. I recommend anyone else do the same.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th December, 2012