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Old 11-08-2003, 22:35   #1 (permalink)
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Tuned for Luxury: CEC Jaguar S-Type R

The Haus of Claus: In your sleek Jag he’ll help you Raus

AutoWeek
By MARK VAUGHN

Claus Ettensberger’s first tuning project was the 50-cc moped he rode as a teenager in the small German village in which he grew up, but you’d never know it from the line of products he sells today.

Claus Ettensberger Corp. concentrates on more high-end vehicles, assigning a specific line of parts to each make. Specifically, that’s AC Schnitzer for BMW, Lorinser for Mercedes, Oettinger for Audis and Volks-wagens, TechArt for Porsche and, the latest addition to the CEC garage, J Nothelle (jay-no-TELL-uh) for Jaguar.

In keeping with CEC’s German bent, J Nothelle is a German company, headquartered in Duisburg near Dusseldorf in Northern Deutschland. Considering Jaguar’s long racing heritage, it is surprising there aren’t more aftermarket performance parts for its cars. And more surprising that one of the few tuners concentrating on Jaguar is from Germany.

J Nothelle traces its involvement in motorsports back to a racing NSU it built in 1967. Racing versions of Porsches, Audis and Volkswagens followed. It was only two years ago that J Nothelle focused its attention on Jaguar. Since it was something of a guinea pig, the CEC S-Type R we drove featured mostly cosmetic improvements. Engine upgrades are scheduled soon, promising an additional 100 hp and knocking two seconds off the car’s 0-to-60 time.

Granted, any Jaguar with an R on it is already an impressive performer, and you could argue that the most impressive part of driving this Jaguar is still its 4.2-liter supercharged V8 powertrain, to which J Nothelle added only a sport exhaust system with flashy stainless-steel tips ($2,299).

But power isn’t the only thing you can tune. Lowering the car with Eibach springs drops the center of gravity and gives it a more hunkered-down, cat-like appearance. The press kit says the $2,699 lowering kit, which includes appropriate Bilstein shocks, takes the car down 15 mm. The CEC marketing guy said it was 25 mm. Whichever, it looks nice and covers the new wheels and tires better. J Nothelle replaced the stock 18-inch wheels with 19-inch JN Exedra II rims, retaining the stock 245/40ZR measurement front and 275/35ZR rear. (Fronts are $1,299 each and the rears $1,399.)

A stylish yet understated aero kit included a front and rear spoiler, side skirts and a J Nothelle hood emblem for $3,315. Inside is an aluminum pedal set, footrest, gear lever and set of sill plates for $2,246.

The car got plenty of looks on the streets of Los Angeles and we fit right in cruising from CEC’s Century City showroom in West Los Angeles through Beverly Hills to our office. For all the public knew, we’d just optioned another screenplay.

The new springs creaked a little, especially in the rear, and after we noticed a slight wallow going over pavement undulations we guessed the Bilstein shocks that match the Eibach springs hadn’t made it under the car. Turned out we were right, but even with the stock shocks, wallow and float were much better controlled than on most tuning jobs.

The CEC crew took this same Jaguar from San Francisco to Miami in five days in the pseudo-notorious Gumball 3000 Rally, garnering only two speeding tickets and one court appearance in the process. For all that, the car was none the worse for wear.

“There were all these Ferraris and Lamborghinis, but we had more fun,” said CEC marketing vp Victor Carrillo. “We had four seats and a trunk.”

CEC is the importer for J Nothelle in America, routing 90 percent of all parts through 300 CEC distributors across the country.

Even Jaguar Cars North America is interested. Our car was a loaner from Jag, with distributor plates and everything. Carrillo said Jag’s official statement on further involvement is as follows, “J Nothelle is working with Jaguar on the S-Type R, and is expanding the development of components on other vehicles, such as the X-Type.” So the next stop could be Jaguar showrooms across America. That’s a long way from tuning mopeds in Germany.
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