Fifteen years after the model was launched, and 10 years since production ended, a Jaguar S-Type R still attracts covetous glances.
It looks naughty in that special Jaguar way, especially in black, a colour that stiffens its soft, curvy shape and sets off its 18in alloy wheels with green calipers and discreet red and green ‘R’ badges on boot panel and wings.
BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG. It missed them, especially the M5, which beat it fair and square in most areas. However, neither rival had the R’s caddish charm – a quality the model still possesses to this day.
It needs careful buying, of course, and once you’ve done the deed, you should track down a specialist, befriend them and stick to them like glue. Not that the R is unreliable; experts we spoke to for this guide were full of praise on that front.
That whine you can hear from the Eaton supercharger is, by the way, normal. If it rattles, suspect the small nylon cog wheel and spring mounted at the front of the unit. The spring gives out, although, mercifully, boost pressure remains unaffected.
On the subject of gremlins, the experts agree that the torque converter can be troublesome, and the sills and wheelarches are susceptible to corrosion. There’s more, but really, it’s all wear and tear. So, covet no longer and instead bag yourself an R – now.
An expert’s view...
BARNY JONES, BARNY JONES LTD
“The R is a great car. It’s not just a faster version of the S-Type — it’s another car entirely. The R is focused and much better engineered. I’ve run one for five years with no issues worth mentioning. It’s now done 108,000 miles and has never let me down. The acceleration is — how shall I say — exciting. The ride is firm but the car is grippy. It looks mean, in the way only a performance Jag does. I get 16-18mpg but it’s a price I’m happy to pay.”
Jaguar S-Type R problems:
Scrutinise service history for 30,000- mile plug and 12,000-mile engine oil changes. A 50,000-mile gearbox oil change would be good to see, too. Coolant header tank can split. Engine warning light and fault code P2119 indicates dicky ECU software — it needs updating. Listen for supercharger rattle from front cog and spring.
Transmission warning light/fault code P1794 means transmission software needs updating. Torque converter is a weak spot, so feel for the ’box hunting.