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Jaguar S-Type: Buying guide and review (1999-2008)

Jaguar S-Type: Buying guide and review (1999-2008) Classic and Performance Car
Jaguar S-Type Jaguar S-Type Jaguar S-Type Jaguar S-Type Jaguar S-Type
Aiming to build a spiritual successor to the original MKII 3.4 and 3.8 litre Jaguars from the ‘60s that were so fondly remembered, the S-Type arrived on the scene in 1999 combining retro lines with modern running gear. Limited to just two engine choices at launch, the range was continuously expanded and improved upon throughout production becoming a characterful alternative to the omnipresent German opposition. A fuel efficient turbo diesel alternative and smooth petrol 2.5-litre V6 did battle at the lower end while the supercharged 400bhp S-Type R took the fight to the M5 and E Class AMG.
While not without its niggles – or huge dynamic failings in the early years – the right Jaguar S-Type can prove to be a great used buy. The traditional traits of ample performance combined with a pliant yet sporty ride are a tempting combination in today’s world of hard riding sporty saloons.  

Which S-Type to buy?

The first cars to be launched were a 3.0-litre V6 and 4.0 V8, both available with five-speed autos and in the case of the V6 a five-speed manual as well. The V8 was updated to a 4.2-litre unit in 2002 and a smaller capacity 197bhp 2.5-litre V6 was also introduced. V8 cars came with SE trim as standard, which meant cruise control, sunroof, leather interior, front fog lights and more. The smaller engine models could also be well specified too, and if speed is not your thing, the run-out 2.5 V6SE is a very well equipped cruiser offering slightly less hefty fuel bills. 
The 2.7-litre turbo diesel introduced in 2004 was a fast and frugal performer; traditionalists wanting some serious performance may however opt for the S-Type R with its supercharged 400bhp 4.2-litre V8 taken out of the XK8. This made it the fastest Jaguar saloon ever, and a worthy adversary to the contemporary mega horsepower Germans. A facelift was carried out in 2004 with detail changes to the exterior and a refreshed interior. 
The smooth power delivery of the V8 petrol cars allied with superior top end performance may clinch it for some, but the 3.0-litre petrol and diesel models are the more popular second hand buy. Some complaints about jerky shifts and reliability issues with auto boxes may make opting for a manual car the safer bet, however the auto is certainly better suited to the five-speed manual was standard for all other cars except the turbo diesel which was equipped with a six-speed gearbox in sports trim.
While in general the S Type is a well-built and reliable vehicle certain models can suffer from electronic and mechanical maladies, so take a read through the common problems section to see what to look out for.

Performance and specs 

Jaguar S-Type V8
Engine 3996cc 32 valve DOHC V8 
Power 281bhp @ 6100rpm 
Torque 28lb ft @ 4300rpm
Top speed 155mph (limited)
0-62mph 6.5 seconds 
Fuel consumption 25mpg 
Gearbox Five-speed automatic

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 2909mm
Length 4861mm
Width 1819mm
Height 1444mm
Weight 1725kg

Common problems

• A number of recalls were carried out relating mostly to pre-face lift cars built up to the end of 2003. These include automatic gearbox issues, failure of suspension ball joints and seatbelt buckle failures. All cars should have been attended to by the dealer network but it is worth checking up if your car was one of the ones affected. 

• Engines are tough and reliable however there were some issues with bore wear on the early 4.0l V8s. Diesels are the only ones fitted with a timing belt so check when it needs doing. The EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve can get clogged, a good motorway blast can resolve less severe blockages. 

• Electric gremlins can manifest themselves in a number of ways and remedying them can be a labour intensive exercise. Test everything before buying paying particular attention to electric seats, windows and inoperative alarms. Seals around the bootlid can perish allowing water to leak in and damage electrics.

• Auto ‘boxes can be jerky during upshifts and there have been numerous complaints of failed units so opt for a manual gearbox if shopping for one of the V6s. Despite being sealed units, gearbox oil changes at 75k can extend automatic gearbox lifespans.

• Rust should not be a major concern but check the sills and cavities for evidence of any corrosion. 

• Some cars can suffer from excessive suspension wear so take a look under the car for any play especially in the front. Most issues will be apparent on a test drive.

Model history

1999: Jaguar S-Type launched in 281bhp 4.0-litre V8 and 240bhp 3.0-litre V6 forms
2002: 197bhp 2.5-litre V6 introduced, and 4.2 V8 replaces 4.0 unit. New six-speed automatic gearbox replaces older five-speeder. Supercharged S-Type R introduced with 390bhp V8
2004: Facelift carried out on all models including revised rear end, new bumpers and aluminium bonnet. 2.7 Turbo diesel arrives; Sport models had a six-speed manual gearbox
2005: 2.5-litre V6 dropped from range
2007: Sporty grille from S-Type R now standard on all S-Types
2008: Final S-Type rolls off the production line to be replaced by the XF

Owners clubs, forums and websites

• www.jec.org.uk – Jaguar Forum
• www.jaguarownersclub.co.uk – Jaguar Owners Club

Summary and prices

With prices starting at £1500 for useable early examples, the S-Type can be a massive luxury car bargain. You will be hard pressed to find someone willing to take more than £10,000 for even the best examples out there, so there is serious value to be had. Do not be put off by higher mileages, but avoid tired and badly treated examples. 
The sensible choice, a 3.0-litre V6 in manual guise, is best sampled starting at the £3500 price point. For this, a facelifted 2004 model can be yours. Manuals are rare but are the better bet for the smaller-engined models. The big V8s can be tempting as prices are similar to lesser variants, start at £2000 for the first 4.0-litre cars, the later more desirable 4.2-litre models range from between £3500 and £10,000. The 400bhp S-Type R is similarly priced but running costs can be significantly higher.
With a decent amount of choice out there and prices not differing greatly between models, the final choice is down to personal tastes. Pick wisely and there are few cars out there that can offer the mix of power, luxury and style that the S-Type can deliver.
Words: John Tallodi
Jaguar S-Type Jaguar S-Type Jaguar S-Type Jaguar S-Type Jaguar S-Type
Last updated: 8th Sep 2016
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Jaguar S-Type
6495 34950 GBP
  • JAGUAR S-TYPE 3.8s 1965 Auto Petrol

    £12,750 £12,750

    For sale
    £12,750 £12,750
    Villiers Classics Limited
    07376 364863 View contact number
  • Jaguar S-Type V6 SE

    £6,495 £6,495

    About this Jaguar S-Type V6 SE This S-Type Luxury was first registered February 2006 and comes with an attractive combination of Radiance Red and Barley Interior. This example also benefits from the 2005 mild facelift. Features such as: Front and Rear Parking Aid, Servotronic Steering, Rain Sensitive Wipers, Front Cup Holders, Cruise Control, Powerfold Mirrors and Bluetooth Connectivity are also included with this car. Powered by a 2.7 litre V6 diesel engine, which gives a smooth and comfortable drive, this car is truly excellent motoring value for money.

    • Mileage: 67000 mi
    For sale
    £6,495 £6,495
  • Jaguar S-Type SE D

    £6,995 £6,995

    About this Jaguar S-Type SE D First registered 20th September 2007 with just two previous owners and 10 service stamps. Frost Blue on Barley Hide. Factory options include: Front and Rear Parking Aid, 18" Triton Wheels, Rain Sensitive Wipers, Extended Chrome Trim, Leather Steering Wheel, SatNav, Cruise Control, Powerfold Mirrors and Bluetooth connectivity.

    • Mileage: 63000 mi
    For sale
    £6,995 £6,995
  • Jaguar S-Type V8 R

    £7,995 £7,995

    About this Jaguar S-Type V8 R The Jaguar S-Type was a model of an executive car that debuted at the 1998 Birmingham Motor Show and was marketed by Jaguar for model years 1999-2008, reviving the nameplate of the company's 1963-66 S-Type as a four-door notchback saloon. This example is the 4.2 litre supercharged v8 known as the S-Type 'R'. This executive rocket produces 400bhp and is capable of doing 0-62mph in just 5.3 seconds. This car is presented in the very likable Zircon Blue with Ivory interior. The car also features such things as: Performance Seats, Reverse Parking Control, Audio Remote Ice Control, 18" Zeus Alloy Wheels, Dynamic Stability Control, Headlamp Powerwash, Xenon Headlights, 'R' Leather Steering Wheel, Front Cup Holders, Cruise Control, Mirrors with Exterior Powerfold Function. The service book has a total of 9 service stamps, some of which are Jaguar main dealers.

    • Mileage: 86000 mi
    For sale
    £7,995 £7,995
  • Jaguar S-Type V8 R

    £9,995 £9,995

    About this Jaguar S-Type V8 R First registered September 14th 2004 (54 Reg) with just 2 previous owners. This example is presented in Ebony Black and Barely Leather interior with lots of features which include: Heated Seats, Premium Sound System, Headlamp Powerwash, Xenon Headlights, Heated Front Screen, CD Autochanger, Navigation System, Front Cup Holder, Cruise Control. The service history is excellent and the service book contains 12 stamps, all of which have been stamped by Jaguar main agents and latterly Specialists.

    • Mileage: 91000 mi
    For sale
    £9,995 £9,995
  • 1964 Jaguar S Type 3.8 Sedan


    This is a very stylish and sporty example that is brimming with patina throughout, and a great choice for the enthusiast who is looking for an iconic classic Jaguar sedan they can drive and enjoy now, and gradually improve upon over time as they see fit. The Sedan has benefited from the previous ownership of a longtime Jaguar Owner's Club member and enthusiast who was always sure to keep it mechanically sound, with the ultimate goal of one day performing a full cosmetic restoration to the car's body -- making this a terrific candidate for a full restoration. The Sedan proved to be extremely reliable and comfortable, reporting to have performed optimally in a wide array of conditions. In recent years, the S-Type's engine, suspension and other mechanical components have been rebuilt, and would benefit from a routine tune-up / servicing before hitting the road. While the vehicle exhibits some rust, it is easily repairable and the Sedan's new owner may commission Classic Showcase to perform any restoration work they desire. Don't miss this opportunity to get an affordable classic Jaguar example that will bring you years of enjoyment!

    • Year: 1964
    • Mileage: 1058 mi
    For sale
  • 1966 Jaguar S'Type 3.8 Automatic

    £23,995 £23,995

    JYL 972D was first registered on 25th February 1966 and is finished in Indigo Blue with Grey leather upholstery. The car is a genuine 3.8S with automatic transmission and still rides on steel wheels as original. The Jaguar has a recorded mileage of 66,300 and from previous MOT certificates we know the car has covered 13,300 miles in ten years since a substantial restoration. The car was subject of a major restoration from 2003-2005 and various upgrades were made to make this S'Type ideal for regular use. A comprehensive file accompanies the car with thousands of pounds worth of invoices and some restoration photographs. There is paperwork detailing the majority of work that included removing the engine, stripping it down and rebuilding. The crankshaft was re-ground, bearings replaced, a 420 oil pump fitted and the cylinder head rebuilt and converted to unleaded. The water pump was replaced, drive belts replaced, carburettors rebuilt, XJ6 rack and pinion power assisted steering fitted and an uprated alternator fitted. Electronic ignition was fitted, two solid state fuel pumps fitted, the fuel tanks replaced, the wiring loom replaced and the propshaft was treated to new universal joi

    • Year: 1966
    • Mileage: 13300 mi
    For sale
    £23,995 £23,995
  • Jaguar 3.4S Type

    £34,950 £34,950

    £29950 Originally supplied by St Helier Garages Jersey in 1965 to the then Chairman of the Jersey Electricity Company, this 3.4S has been subject to a total chassis up restoration, with the engine, gearbox and axle being rebuilt by Rob Beere Racing and assembly works undertaken by a specialist Jaguar restorer. A substantial amount of money has been invested into the rebuild which is understood to be well over £60000 as the owner stopped adding up the invoices then. A very fine example of a fully restored Jaguar S Type, with history from new. A full photographic restoration took place with a bare metal full restored body shell. Fully restored with a Suffolk and Turley interior, stunning woodwork and trim. In excellent condition, following preparation and unit rebuilds by Bob Beere racing (Jaguar specialist). The rebuild includes a new old stock cylinder head , electronic ignition

    • Year: 1965
    • Mileage: 53070 mi
    For sale
    £34,950 £34,950
  • 1967 Jaguar S Type 3.8 Sedan


    Now is your chance to have a stylish and collectible Sedan that has all of the performance and comfort features collectors seek in a classic Jaguar. This original single family owned since new S Type Sedan is a Southern California car with original Black Plates and quite a survivor, full of great patina throughout; the Sedan has been well maintained and cared for throughout the course of its life, and comes equipped with an original and Jaguar factory-authorized Coolaire air conditioning system and owner’s manual. In addition, the Sedan's driving experience and handling benefits from a power steering and brake system, and with no shortage of storage space with a huge trunk. The car was recently serviced by Classic Showcase, where it received a full mechanical servicing, which included the installation of a new exhaust system, along with a fresh set of (4) new Vredestein 185/15 tires. This classic Jaguar S Type Sedan is an excellent choice for the enthusiast or collector who is ready to enjoy a classic daily driver Jaguar model now, or gradually improve and restore as they go along!

    • Year: 1967
    • Mileage: 88194 mi
    For sale