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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 cars for sale

6 Search results
Jaguar S-Type
10995 24995 GBP
  • 1965 Jaguar S'Type 3.8 Manual with Overdrive

    £24,995 £24,995

    DVT 505C was manufactured on 17th August 1965 and was supplied new by Byatts of Fenton, Stoke on Trent to its first owner in the Greenwich area of South London. The car was dispatched to Mr Bird of London SE18 on 24th August in Warwick Grey with Red upholstery and is a factory supplied 3.8 Manual with Overdrive model. The Jaguar didn’t spend long in London and during the 1970’s was located in Poole, Dorset and later moving close by to Bournemouth. Interestingly, many of the best original, honest Jaguar saloons we have come across in almost twenty five years dealing in classic cars spent their early life on the South Coast with retired, careful owners. During the 1980's and 1990's DVT 505C spent the majority of its time in the Bristol area and had three lady owners in the City over 21 years from 1980 to 2001. In 2001 the S'Type sold to its most recent owner in the North of Scotland where it has been cherished, well maintained and nicely detailed over almost fifteen years of ownership. MOT certificates and invoices have been kept with the car showing it has covered almost 10,000 miles since 2001. Invoices are mainly for upkeep and maintenance and detail replacement parts such as a br

    • Year: 1965
    • Mileage: 10000 mi
    For sale
    Classic and Sportscar Centre
  • JAGUAR S-TYPE 3.4 Auto 1965 Auto Petrol

    £10,995 £10,995

    A very nice example of the marque.................a very comprehensive history file is with the car and it has a current MOT, rust protected from new and only 3 owners to date.........the car will need some work to the wood and the front seats. The car has been very well maintained throughout its life and has had the benefit of worldwide travel...........

    For sale
  • Jaguar S-Type Saloon 1965


    *** THIS CAR HAS BEEN SOLD *** Please contact us if you were interested in this car. Our inventory is constantly changing and we will have similar examples of this model becoming available soon. Jaguar S-Type Saloon 3.8S 1965 Midnight Blue overdrive chrome wire wheels The Jaguar S-Type is an english ‘Sport Saloon”, built between 1963 and 1965. It was a more luxurious car than the Mark II but smaller than the Mark X. Colour is Midnight Blue. Delivered on the 7th of April 1965 by Lagerwij’s Automobiel Mij in The Hague, Holland. The car is in a beautiful and well maintained condition. The car has the original most powerful matching numbers 3781 CC 6 in line 220 HP engine. Originally this car was delivered with an automatic gearbox, but the conversion to a manual gearbox with overdrive was made. Thanks to the very expensive conversion the car drives great. Car has Holland title and Holland mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1965
    For sale
  • 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
  • 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
  • Jaguar S-Type

    £23,695 £23,695

    *SIMILAR QUALITY CARS ALWAYS REQUIRED* SOLD Thinking of selling? Our proven commission sale or SOR (Sale or Return) program is a great way to utilise and access our professional services and facilities while still maximising the return from your vehicle with minimal hassle, stress and time, If you’d like to take advantage of this then please get in touch for further information. Alternatively If you’d like to move your vehicle on quickly and efficiently with minimal delay then we can make an offer on an outright purchase basis with payment and collection arranged soon after. A sublime Jaguar S-Type 3.8S with just three owners and in show condition EQUIPMENT Zone toughened windscreen, chromium plated window frames, sealed beam headlamps and fog lamps, twin fuel tanks, counter-balanced boot lid, ammeter, oil pressure gauge, revolution counter, starter switch, panel light switch, front and rear central armrests, labelled switches, interior flood lighting, cigar lighter, twin windtone horns, Webastow full length sunroof, Moto-lita steering wheel. EXTERIOR This desirable S-Type is finished in Dark Blue which suits the distinguished character perfectly. The impeccable paint finish has a deep lustrous shine with a mirror reflection and will stand proud at shows. A photographic record reveals the transformation from a one owner garaged stored example to a superb Jaguar ‘S’ model in the creators preferred colour choice. The chromium plated accessories gleam against the regal blue and show virtually no aging. All the sealed beam lamps are Lucus items as are the lens covers and reflectors. The glass and window rubbers are in prime condition but the door rubbers have cracked. Absolutely no corrosion or rust is visible thanks to the catalogued bare metal restoration and meticulous preparation incorporating a body coloured underside. Excellent panel fit and alignment will satisfy the most demanding owner. A new conception in luxury motoring. INTERIOR A sumptuous, luxurious and spotlessly clean Blue leather hide interior is complemented by acres of polished figured walnut and sparking chrome enhancements. All the interior wood was stripped removing all the old veneer and some 30 plus coats of lacquer where then applied. The matching deep pile carpets with thick felt underlay and clean light grey velvet headlining work to offer a tasteful, lavishly equipped and superbly finished interior. A refined and opulent cockpit with fully operational gauges, labelled switches and rotary dials. The highest degree of comfort is offered to all occupants with rear picnic tables complete with a crystal champagne flute. Modern enhancements include an expensive wooden Moto-Lita steering wheel and a Retrosound classic radio with electric aerial. A real automotive indulgence in true Jaguar tradition. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION The world famous Jaguar XK 6 cylinder twin overhead camshaft engine produces 220bhp in the larger 3.8 litre capacity. The refined power plant was stripped to a bare block and rebored with new pistons fitted. The crank has been reground and balanced with the head converted to unleaded fuel. All components were fully rebuilt and upgraded such as electronic ignition and a Kenlow cooling system where necessary and painstakingly detailed to enable bonnet up exhibiting. A full stainless steel exhaust system is fitted along with a steering rack conversion and a later XJ6 series two automatic gearbox for modern day use. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES Optional stainless wire wheels are the ultimate expression of period sporting prowess and are shod in new 185/80 R15 tyres. A complete new braking system was fitted during the refurbishment and now offers strong braking performance. HISTORY FILE Registered new on the 2nd November 1966 to a Mr Ronald Edgar Hammond where it remained in his care for 34 years. Garaged stored but unused for 21 years this fortunate car was discovered by Mr Michael John Dearing of Classic Vehicle Restoration Specialist in Lincolnshire and was fully restored by him for personal pleasure in 2000. Kept by him until 2014 he used it to attend many motoring events to showcase the capabilities and expertise of his business. Witness to this is a photographic album revealing the dedication and hard work carried out to create this stunning and desirable example. Eventually sold to Mr Koushi who almost gave up the search to find the ultimate S-Type 3.8S until this car became available. HPI Clear and an Approved Used Car Check Certificate. To see a video of this car please click on the link below: https://youtu.be/2O341haqwFs To see a full set of photographs of this car please click on the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskvVioKH 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    For sale
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