By KBB.com Editors
The days of the floating luxury liner on four wheels have long since gone, yet there are still a number of consumers that prefer a softer ride to one that feels like it's attached to rails. In the European premium luxury market, most cars favor the sport sedan formula, but not the 2008 Jaguar S-Type. Not that the stylishly distinctive Jaguar can't hold its own in the handling arena, it just produces a more sedate ride. Driving devotees who require more will want to check out our review of the performance-oriented S-Type R. Where its competitors boast of performance first, the S-Type touts a luxurious interior, comfortable ride and more traditional instrumentation, free of an overabundance of technological gadgetry. This is the last production year for the S-Type. Its replacement, an all-new, sportier model dubbed the XF, debuts next March.
You'll like this car if you are looking for a stylish and comfortable luxury sedan that puts the emphasis on smooth, solid comfort rather than sporting performance. Image-conscious buyers will appreciate owning a marque known exclusively for its high-line status, yet at a more affordable price.
The 3.0 and 4.2 models receive the S-Type R's ZF six-speed automatic transmission, as well as its sculpted front bumper. The standard wheels are now 18 inches, with 19-inchers optional on both trim levels. The last 750 S-Types will feature unique Satin Mahogany veneers, leather steering wheel and leather and chrome shifter.
Driving Impressions We drove the S-Type 4.2 V8 and found it a pleasant experience. The car accelerates at a brisk pace with almost no vibration or rough treatment from the chassis and...the shifting happens in smooth, effortless order, with no lunges or jerks. The suspension is soft enough to feel luxurious, but still lets through an adequate level of road feel. Those more accustomed to BMW-like mannerisms may not like the refined Jaguar approach, but the Jaguar engineers had a particular goal in mind. Steering and handling are tight and secure, the leather-wrapped wheel feels great in your hands and the smooth Jaguar manages turns with calm assurance and control.
ZF Six-Speed Transmission
One of the best in the industry, the ZF six-speed's shifts are practically undetectable and the transmission's computer brain seems to always know exactly when to shift and when to hold.
Electric Rear-Window Sunblind
With the press of a button, a sunshade lowers to block direct sunlight.
The standard wood-lined interior is designed for luxury with a stylish leather-bolstered center console housing the navigation system, radio and climate controls. We like the simplicity of the S-Type controls, which don't require tremendous time or concentration to operate while driving. The 2008 Jaguar S-Type's handsome leather seats feature contrasting piping and feel comfortable enough to serve as furniture in your family room. The front seats are nicely formed and give just enough side support to hold occupants in place without squeezing them. The S-Type's rear seat space can become quite snug, especially if the front-seat occupants have their seats adjusted for maximum legroom.Exterior
Distinctive styling is Jaguar's strength, and this holds true for the S-Type. It is athletic, lean and muscular and, of course, it sports the Jaguar "leaper" hood ornament. This year's front end update gives the aging S-Type a bit sportier look, although the rest of the car still says "luxury" first and foremost. An assortment of alloy wheels completes the exterior luxury look and appeal.
The S-Type 3.0 includes a six-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch alloy wheels, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), front seat side-impact airbags, front and rear side-curtain airbags, heated front seats, automatic headlamps, heated side mirrors, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, 16-way power driver's seat with memory and power lumbar support, 12-way power passenger's seat, rain-sensing wipers, Reverse Park Control and steering wheel-mounted cruise, audio and dual climate controls. The 4.2 adds a powerful V8 engine, navigation, Front Park Control, Bluetooth, xenon headlamps, 320-watt Alpine audio and a power rear sunshade.
Options include a DVD navigation system, Adaptive Cruise Control, two-tone interior, xenon headlamps, Front Park Control and 19-inch alloy wheels.
The base 3.0-liter V6 is a good engine, but it seems neither powerful nor smooth enough to merit the Jaguar name. We think the 4.2-liter V8 is the best choice for the S-Type, providing plenty of power while delivering almost no noise or vibration into the passenger compartment.
235 horsepower @ 6800 rpm
216 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26
300 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
310 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24
By SRB on Friday, February 06, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 194,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Styling, performance, handling, comfort, economy."
Cons: "Parts/repairs can be more costly than other cars."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I bought this car on a private-party sale with just about 100k miles, and have driven it another 94k miles over the last four years. I bought it mostly because I always wanted a Jag and loved the S-type's styling... I never expected to be so pleasantly surprised. I've got the V6 with 6-speed auto transmission. Plenty of power, nimble, responsive, and very comfortable. I also get surprisingly good fuel economy averaging about 26-27mpg (with 30+on long highway trips). You can pick up a used Jag cheaper than a used Honda, but the downside is that repairs can be expensive and there's not a lot of shops that can handle Specialty Jag service. I've needed very little maintenance/repair work and fortunately can do most of it myself. That might be a consideration if you're thinking of buying one."
8 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Private seller on Wednesday, October 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive"
Cons: "Not reliable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"WThis car had a new transmission and motor at 50,000 miles. It has mostly sat in the garage the last several years. Great find!"
11 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Bake on Monday, September 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, very responsive"
Cons: "Not really anything"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I just love this car. I have had Audi's, Cadillac STS's &, Porshe. This is no Porshe , but isn't in that class of car. Overall, fun to drive, no real problems at all."
7 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By granny on Monday, September 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,820overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "very good road car with smart handling"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Interior, front seats have new leather.headliner totally redone inside; Engine overhaul to bring up to excellent condition, new hoses etc, paint is like new. low milage Michelin tires rotated every 3000 miles and oil changed every 3000 miles. All mechanical's reworked. battery etc, No glass defects. CA car. Very good road car. original owner."
10 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Katrina on Friday, July 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive; great gas mileage for a V8"
Cons: "parts and repairs can be pricey ; no off-roading"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned this car for the past 8 years and can't say enough good things about it. It continues to meet my every expectation for reliability and driving comfort. I continue to get compliments on its color, sleek lines and comfortable ride. It has become a real "babe" magnet in my retirement years and I'm enjoying the attention."
9 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By LISA on Thursday, May 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,816overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"this was under my carport most of the time i drove it to church and it is in great shape but i now have 2 grand kids and need more room."
9 people out of 13 found this review helpful