I was the proud keeper of our long-term S-type diesel for the last three months of its stay with us and I lost track of the number of times people said things like: ‘Oooh – you’ve gone up in the world,’ or: ‘who’s a lucky boy then?’
I could have been driving any number of other marque cars costing the same amount or more and no-one would have batted an eyelid.
But choose a big cat and you are instantly catapulted more than a few rungs up the social ladder. How many car manufacturers would kill for a reputation like that? During its six months here, myself and editor John Maslen managed to pile 8,000 miles on the clock.
Throughout that time, the car behaved in an exemplary fashion and wafted both of us along the highways and byways of Britain in sheer and utter comfort.
The S-type is unashamedly styled on the old 1960s MkII Jaguar and looks stunning – at least it does to an old groaner like me.
But look under this car’s skin and you’ll find very little to link it with its ancestor. Instead there is a staggering array of hi-tech fangle-danglery which would have been undreamed of in the ’60s.
Our editor was particularly impressed with the optional adaptive cruise control which senses if the car is getting too close to the one in front and automatically slows itself down.
But being a Luddite who remembers the days when you had to double de-clutch, this particular gizmo was lost on me. It’s a £1,300 option, too.
As with most cars we have on long-term test, a few niggles made themselves evident. For starters, although the S-type looks big from the outside, there isn’t exactly a lot of legroom inside.
It’s rather like a Tardis in reverse.
And the space between the side bolsters of the front seats is incredibly narrow. Skinny specimens like the editor and I didn’t have a problem but anyone with a more portly frame could find they just don’t fit it.
The most annoying thing we found about this car was the fact that the tyres in their optional upgrade format don’t have any air pressure valves.
When you want to add some more air, you have to take a plastic gadget out of the glovebox, unscrew the boltheads which cover the valve holes, screw in another little gadget from the glovebox then add the air.
I managed to lose the key to the car while on a day out a few weeks ago and it gave me the opportunity to test out the Mondial breakdown service that comes as part of the package.
It worked stunningly well. Within half an hour of making the call, a tow truck had arrived to take the car to the nearest dealer, while a very skilled operator broke into the driver’s door (without damaging it) to retrieve my shopping that was inside at the time before offering me a lift home. Trevor Gelken
What the team thought
‘SILENCE can be golden and green at the same time. The Jaguar’s diesel engine is among the best I have ever driven and it is also the quietest by a long way, while also being pretty economical. I covered thousands of miles in the S-type and never failed to be won over by its charms. However, a bigger boot and sharper throttle response wouldn’t go amiss. But for a senior user-chooser, this car must be pretty high on the shortlist.’
‘THE diesel-powered S-type is the car Jaguar should have had all along. It’s quiet and refined, with a sumptuous ride and decent handling. For those ‘broader of beam’ (ie me), it would be worth having a good shop around Jag’s seating options. On the few occasions I drove the car, I found the side bolsters on the sport seats dug into my sides, which was very uncomfortable.’
Model: Jaguar S-type 2.7d Sport auto
Price (OTR): £33,345
Final mileage: 9,488
CO2 emissions (g/km): 208
Company car tax bill (2005/6) 40% tax-payer: £309 per month
Insurance group: 14
Combined mpg: 36.0
Test mpg: 30.2
CAP Monitor residual value: £11,750/35%
HSBC contract hire rate: £601
Final expenditure: Nil