‘We are looking at it,’ came the reply, ‘and we have trialled engines, but they just don’t fit with the Jaguar brand, particularly when it comes to noise and vibration. We have to deal with that before we can consider a diesel in a Jaguar.’
Five years later, Jaguar introduced its first diesel engine in the X-type, a 2.0-litre unit also used in the Ford Mondeo.
The years of work by Jaguar engineers were worth the wait, as it proved a very refined engine. But, it was also a costly delay, as in the intervening period, the diesel market boomed, with up to 80% of some manufacturers’ sales being diesel.
The latest addition to our long-term test fleet is the next foray into diesel motoring at Jaguar, the 2.7-litre diesel fitted to our new S-type.
Again, financial necessity aided the expansion of customer choice, as diesel sales in the premium sector have rocketed, driven by carbon dioxide-based company car tax. About 60% of S-type sales are now diesel.
With every other premium brand offering a selection of diesel variants, again this version had to be worth the wait, which it was. The twin-turbo engine offers 206bhp at 4,000rpm and more importantly 320lb-ft of torque at 1,900rpm, giving it more low-down shove than the V8 petrol model.
Rest to 62mph takes 8.6 seconds and top speed is 141mph, comparable to the performance of the 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine in the car.
A problem with executive diesels is they often betray their heavy-oil origins with clatter at start-up and under heavy acceleration, but the 2.7 D unit is one of the best around when it comes to refinement.
And even though it was running in, initial fuel economy has hit a high of 36mpg, despite significant town driving. This matches the official fuel consumption figure and suggests it should be possible to beat that. Our S-type is the Sport variant and comes fitted with a host of extras (see panel).
That raises its basic on-the-road price of £33,345 (including £1,350 for an automatic six-speed gearbox), to £38,165.
CO2 emissions are 208 g/km, which for a Euro III engine equates to a hefty tax premium of 28% liability on the P11D price. Based on the standard price, this equals a tax bill of £3,711 a year for a 40% taxpayer.
First impressions are positive, including an interior with a character that seems absent in some rivals, despite the addition of a modern aluminium facia for the first time. There is a real sense of quality workmanship as well, such as the fact that it takes only the gentlest push to firmly close the door. The S-type has already had a hard month, adding more than 3,000 miles to its odometer during a series of visits to readers and fleet suppliers throughout the country.We are still getting used to the S-type experience, but will report in future tests as to whether or not familiarity breeds content.
The manufacturer’s view
With recently revised front and rear styling, cleaned up lines, a freshened interior and an aluminium bonnet to improve weight and balance on the S-type, the introduction of an all-new, 2.7-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel engine has also further strengthened Jaguar’s premium executive saloon.
The S-type is heading past 200,000 sales worldwide and continues its success, attracting increasing numbers of business users. The introduction of the diesel engine has boosted sales of the S-type and made it an even more attractive proposition with more than 7,000 sold year to date in the UK.
Jaguar S-type 2.7 D Sport auto
Price (OTR) £33,345
CO2 emissions (g/km) 208
Company car tax bill (2004/5) 40% tax-payer £309 per month
Insurance group 14
Combined mpg 36.0
Test mpg 32.1
0-62mph 8.2 seconds
Top speed 141mph
CAP Monitor residual value £10,975/33%
HSBC contract hire rate £601
Expenditure to date Nil