Fleet News

Jaguar S-Type 2.7 SE

Jaguar

Review

Jaguar buyers must have a princess and the pea complex if the lateness of the S-type diesel is anything to go by.

According to Jaguar, the reason I have been driving a diesel S-type for the first time this week is because it has deigned that diesel engines are only now up to the sophisticated and refined standards its cars and customers require.

The fact of the matter is that Jaguar is horribly late, and sales of the S-type have been hit as a result. The likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi have been selling huge volumes of diesel executive cars for the past few years.

This is where Jaguar's rather snobbish argument that there wasn't a diesel fit for its cars falls down. Mercedes-Benz customers are a pretty discerning bunch, and they seem happy with the quality of their diesel engines.

If Jaguar's reasoning – or marketing spin – is correct, the typical Jag owner must have thought Mercedes buyers were hair-shirted masochists who liked to drive around in chuggy, noisy, smoky, tractor-like diesel cars stabbing themselves in the eye with a pencil. The huge shot in the arm that diesel has given the X-type proves Jaguar desperately needed to be in this market.

So, if you're going to turn up late, make a grand entrance –and the S-type diesel most certainly does that. The engine is a 2.7-litre four cam, 24-valve twin turbo V6 with second generation common rail injection which produces 206bhp and 320lb-ft of torque.

It is part of the collaboration between Ford and PSA Peugeot Citroen, so this engine will eventually end up in plenty of different vehicles, from Land Rovers to Peugeot.

But the figures don't tell the full story – you have to get in and drive. The refinement is remarkable. It barely makes itself heard or felt.

With good diesel engines, you find the odd criticism, like they're noisy when first started, or chug at a certain number of revs. Not with the S-type. It is whisper quiet at start up. There's no vibration in the cabin.

The engine is quiet when you're pushing it and quiet when it's relaxed and the exhaust even makes a sporty V6 grunt when giving it some.

There's a little turbo lag until the turbo kicks in at around 1,700rpm in first, but the gearing after that tends to avoid dropping that low, so it doesn't resurface. Torque keeps coming in one constant wave.

Unfortunately the only S-type diesels available to test come with manual transmissions. This is a shame on a number of counts.

The automatic gearbox in the other S-types is wonderful and there should be no reason why that won't continue with this car. Then there's the fact that less than 5% of all S-types sold will be manual so it's not an important variant to test. And there's the fact it's awful.

It just doesn't suit the car. The change is light with rubbery notches, it's easy to push across to reverse when hunting for first, and the clutch has no feel. Jaguar executives know it won't sell, and it feels under-developed as a result. It prompted us to source running cost figures for the auto in our comparison.

There have been a few other changes alongside the engine. The nose has had a slight rejig and the bonnet is aluminium for better weight distribution. At the back the lights have been modernised and the tail raised. There are also a few tweaks internally, with less old-fashioned dials, but the engine really grabs the headlines.

Fact file

Jaguar S-type 2.7 SE auto
Delivered price, standard car (P11D value) £31,467
CO2 emissions (g/km) 208
BIK % of P11D in 2002 30%
Graduated VED rate £160
Insurance group 14
Combined mpg 36.0
CAP Monitor residual value £11,750/37%
Depreciation 31.44 pence per mile x 60,000 £18,864
Maintenance 3.29 pence per mile x 60,000 £1,974
Fuel 10.75 pence per mile x 60,000 £6,450
Wholelife cost 45.28 pence per mile x 60,000 £27,288
Typical contract hire rate £624 per month

All figures based on 3yrs/60,000 miles. Monthly rental quote from HSBC Vehicle Finance

At a glance

For

  • Top class engine
  • Refinement and low noise levels

    Against

  • Lateness to market
  • Slight turbo lag
  • Avoid manual gearbox

    Three rivals to consider

  • Mercedes-Benz E270 CDi Elegance Auto
  • Audi A6 3.0 TDi quattro Auto
  • BMW 530d SE Auto

    P11D price
    Choosing cars that match exactly price-wise at this level is difficult, so two of these cars are 2.7-litre diesels and two are 3.0-litre diesels as a result.

    However, of the four, only the Jaguar comes with leather seats as standard – surely a pre-requisite at this level – with the BMW's leather seats the cheapest option of the three at £1,250.

    You're also looking at £1,250 for leather on the Mercedes.

    Jaguar £31,467
    Audi £31,727
    Mercedes-Benz £32,182
    BMW £33,382

    smr costs
    THE Jaguar takes the honours here with a three-year/60,000-mile SMR bill of £1,974.

    The Audi is next at just over £200 more than the S-type, with the E-class just under £2,400.

    The 5-series appears to have performed poorly at £2,724. However, shrewd fleet managers will opt for BMW's Service Inclusive pack at £1,000 for fixed cost servicing and reduction in the overall SMR bill. Choosing this option would be likely to turn the tables and put the BMW in the SMR top spot.

    Jaguar 3.29 ppm
    Audi 3.66 ppm
    Mercedes-Benz 3.95 ppm
    BMW 4.54 ppm

    Fuel costs
    The Mercedes-Benz has it well and truly licked when it comes to fuel consumption, and is more than a penny per mile cheaper than any of the others although it lacks power and refinement.

    In fact, between it and the worst, the Audi, it's worth about £1,400. Of course, the Audi and BMW are both 3.0-litres as opposed to the 2.7-litre of the Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz, and Audi's new A6 is being pushed at the performance rather than economy end of the market.

    Mercedes-Benz 9.33 ppm
    BMW 10.69 ppm
    Jaguar 10.75 ppm
    Audi 11.66 ppm

    Depreciation costs
    The E-class wins by a distance again thanks to unsurpassed depreciation figures in the sector. It's the second most expensive here behind the 5-series and yet it is a massive 2.7ppm better off than any of the others.

    Over 60,000 miles the E-class would lose £16,800, while the Jaguar would lose £18,800.

    It's good news for the Audi though. The old A6 had been languishing at the bottom of these comparisons, but the new car is competing with the 5-series, which is hindered here by a high P11d price.

    Mercedes-Benz 28.12 ppm
    Audi 30.87 ppm
    BMW 30.97 ppm
    Jaguar 31.44 ppm

    Wholelife costs
    This is something of a shock winner. The E-class romps home in a Schumacher-esqe stuffing of the rest of the field. So far ahead is it, thanks to great residuals and excellent fuel consumption, that a fleet would save nearly £2,500 in running costs on each car over the next best, the S-type.

    Both the A6 and the 5-series aren't far behind the Jag, but their 3.0-litre engines hinder their chances. An E320 would not fare so well, but with the E270 version performing so well, why would you bother?

    Mercedes-Benz 41.40 ppm
    Jaguar 45.48 ppm
    Audi 46.19 ppm
    BMW 46.20 ppm

    Emissions and bik tax rates
    Yet again, the E-class is the class of the field with emissions figures far outstripping the others. For a 40% tax-payer, the E270 would cost £3,218.

    The A6 has the highest fuel consumption and emissions thanks to its four-wheel drive set-up, but is Euro-IV compliant and would cost the same driver £3,934 – just slightly more than the Euro III Jaguar.

    The 5-series is also Euro III, the penalty of choosing auto, and is therefore the costliest at £4004.

    Mercedes-Benz 180 g/km/25%
    BMW 208 g/km/30%
    Jaguar 208 g/km/30%
    Audi 229g/km/31%

    Verdict
    All these cars are fantastic in their own right.

    The Jaguar has the most refined engine and is a worthy newcomer to the sector, while the BMW is the best to drive and the Audi is the best-looking.

    But the Mercedes-Benz, with such excellent running costs and the added cache of its badge.

    WINNER: Mercedes-Benz E270 CDI Elegance

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  • CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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