Long term tests

Jaguar S-type 4.2 V8 R

A memory comes back to me from the early '90s, of driving the then-new 3.8-litre version of the M5. I can vividly remember being blown away by the Beemer and, being a bit of a Jaguar fan, thinking: 'Wouldn't it be great if Jaguar made proper sports saloons again, a bit like the 3.8-litre Mk2 of the early 60s.' Well, today it does. It even looks like a Mk2.

A memory comes back to me from the early '90s, of driving the then-new 3.8-litre version of the M5. I can vividly remember being blown away by the Beemer and, being a bit of a Jaguar fan, thinking: 'Wouldn't it be great if Jaguar made proper sports saloons again, a bit like the 3.8-litre Mk2 of the early 60s.' Well, today it does. It even looks like a Mk2.

And in many ways the S-type R is everything a sporting Jaguar saloon should be. Lots of smooth, easy power; effortless ground-covering; a supple ride and a snugly sumptuous interior with just the right degree of raciness. After all those years of elegant but rather toothless XJ saloons, I'm chuffed that there's a proper compact sports saloon with a Jaguar badge that we're proud to have on the fleet.

So how has it been, living with the S-type day-to-day? Terrific, actually, but with a couple of provisos. As road test ed Bovingdon commented the other day, it's a shame they don't fit a limited slip diff. Knock out the traction control, flatten the throttle in a low-speed turn or away from a junction and chances are you'll be treated to lots of wheelspin and not much else. Now, not everyone drives everywhere like young Mr B, but we all like to let our hair down from time to time. It would be nice to have the option.

The other flaw in the R's dynamic make-up is the response to the brake pedal. No doubting the power of the impressive-looking callipers and ventilated discs, but I don't want to be reminded of it every time I so much as touch the pedal. Such is the servo assistance that it's near impossible to feather the brakes, to bleed away a little speed, and if you like to drive smoothly, to measure out your inputs with a degree of sensitivity, it's a major irritation. Power, as someone once said, is nothing without control.

Running Costs

Date acquiredDecember 2004
Total mileage9356
Costs this month£0
Mileage this month3131
MPG this month21.8

Most Popular

Lotus Type 131 production confirmed for this year
Type 131 render
Lotus

Lotus Type 131 production confirmed for this year

All-new sports car to rival the iconic Porsche 911 and set the blueprint for Lotus's future models
25 Jan 2021
Naturally aspirated engines – best of the breed from 4-pots to V12s
Naturally aspirated engines - group
Supercars

Naturally aspirated engines – best of the breed from 4-pots to V12s

The naturally aspirated engine is capable of stirring emotions a turbocharged motor can only dream of. We celebrate the best of the breed.
22 Jan 2021
Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS: history, specs and buying guide
Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS buying guide
Ferrari

Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS: history, specs and buying guide

With a little help from a certain private eye, the 308 GTB/GTS would become Ferrari’s best-selling model. Here’s our essential guide
25 Jan 2021