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Old 12-21-2002, 10:00   #1 (permalink)
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2003 Jaguar S-Type

By Joe Wiesenfelder, cars.com 12-20-02

There’s a misconception among consumers that cars change significantly from one model year to the next. Barring complete redesigns, the changes from year to year, and even over the course of, say, five years, tend to be minor. For 2003 — just a few years after its debut — the S-Type looks practically the same on the outside, but it boasts many upgrades in many areas.

Introduced for the 2000 model year, the S-Type is Jaguar’s entry into what most people consider the midsize luxury class. According to cars.com criteria, the S-Type lands in the full-size category, but when you consider that there’s an X-Type below it and an XJ sedan above it, the S-Type looks fairly mid in terms of size and price. It also tends to be “cross-shopped” against the likes of Audi’s A6 and BMW’s 5 Series, though those models have lower starting prices.

The S-Type’s two existing drivetrains are revised, to the extent that the 4.0-liter V-8 has increased to 4.2 liters and changed the trim level name to S-Type 4.2. A new top trim level, the performance-oriented S-Type R, blasts onto the market under the power of a new supercharged version of the 4.2-liter V-8. Both of these trims now come with the second-ever six-speed-automatic transmission to appear in a production car. Even the S-Type 3.0’s 3.0-liter V-6 is modified for better performance and is now teamed with a welcome five-speed-manual transmission, which also happens to lower the entry price by almost $2,000.

All S-Types also benefit from suspension upgrades and new interior designs.

All these changes and the performance R variant breathe some excitement into the S-Type lineup. Like Audi’s “S,” BMW’s “M” and Mercedes-Benz’s “AMG” designations, Jaguar’s R stands for performance upgrades not just in engine power but in handling and braking as well. Jaguar has not built the car that will unthrone the BMW M5, but the British automaker has created something that has its own character in the souped-up alphabet soup genre.

AT A GLANCE
Base List Prices*
3.0: $41,850
4.2: $49,330
R: $61,755

Base Invoice Prices*
3.0: $37,665
4.2: $44,397
R: $55,580

Destination Charge*
$645

*Pricing reflects 2003 model year inception. See current, detailed pricing in the Model Report.

Good
- Improved V-6
- Improved V-8
- New five-speed manual
(3.0)
- New six-speed automatic
(4.2, R)
- Potent R performance
variant
- Handling
- New interior design

Bad
- Snug interior
- Manual on 3.0 only
- Automatic shift program
needs work
- No folding backseat on R

Bottom Line
2003 upgrades breathe new life into the model

Test Vehicles
2003 S-Type 3.0: $43,995 MSRP as tested with destination charge and options including Premium Package

2003 S-Type 4.2: $51,975 MSRP as tested with destination charge and options including navigation system and Sport Package

2003 S-Type 3.0: $66,850 MSRP as tested with destination charge and options including navigation system and Communication Package
Attached Images
File Type: jpeg 1218jagstype310.jpeg (17.3 KB, 880 views)
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