GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

Jaguar S-Type R

Home
Here are the Reviews
GT2 Racing Guide
GT3 Racing Guide
GT4 Racing Guide
GT5 Racing Guide
GT6 Racing Guide
Links to other GT sites

red_s-type.jpg

Year: 2002
Class: Mid-Size Luxury Car
Type: sedan

Host: GT4
Country: Great Britain


Price: $92,130

Construction: unit steel

Length: 192.0" // Width: 71.6" // Height: 57.0"
Wheelbase: 114.5"
Overhang: @ 6 feet 5 inches
Track: 60.4" [F], 60.7" [R]
Ground Clearance: 5.9"
Weight: 3,967 pounds

Turning Radius: 43 feet 5 inches
Layout: front engine / rear drive
Tires: 245/40ZR-18 [F], 275/35ZR-18 [R]
F. Suspension: dual wishbones, coils, lat. & diag. links, "CATS" 2-position damping system, anti-roll bar, shocks
R. Supension: dual wishbones, coils, "CATS" 2-position damping system, anti-roll bar, shocks
Brakes: vented discs + ABS

Engine: 4.2 liter DOHC V8
Construction: aluminum block & heads
Aspiration: twin air-to-water intercooled superchargers
Fuel System: EFi
Valves / Cyl: 4
Bore x Stroke: 3.39 x 3.56"
Compression: 9.1:1

Final BHP: 420 @ 6,100 rpm
Fnl Torque: 428 @ 3,500 rpm

Credits per HP: $219.36
Pounds per HP: 9.45
 Hp per Liter: 100.1

Idle Speed: 750 // Redline: 6,000 // RPM Limit: 6,500

Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Differential: open

0-60 mph: 5.533 seconds
0-100 mph: 11.366 seconds
0-150 mph: 28.066 seconds
 
400 M:   13.788 @ 110 mph
1 Kilom: 24.286 @ 142 mph

 
Test Track Lap: 2:17.582
100-zero mph: 4.07 seconds
Top Gear RPM @ 60 mph: 1,800

Top Speed at Redline:
1st: 46 mph
2nd: 70 mph
3rd: 99 mph
4th: 128 mph
5th: 170.93 mph @ 6,000 rpm
6th: 168 mph (RPM not available)
  

-----------EXTERIOR / HISTORY-------------


Gran Turismo 4 has provided gamers with many car-types missing since GT2, which will without a doubt not appear in GT5, so let's enjoy these gems while we can. Getting the chance to cruise around in a genuine luxury cruiser, and race it as well, seems a pleasure limited to these games--and what finer pleasure have we than to fox-dash around in a Jaguar, surrounded by Connolly leather, the finest comforts money can buy, and such? Let us peruse.

In GT2, we had two Jags from the XJ generation: the XJ Sport, and the XJR "vehicle". GT4 doesn't include either of these, but fear not, for in this game we have two newer, better Jags: the Jaguar S-Type R and the XKR Performance. From both games, we also have the XKR Coupe, which I'll hopefully have the time to review someday.

The original S-Type was actually produced in 1963. In 1998, Jaguar decided to revive the S-Type, giving it similar design cues to the original, but the finished product (like the one in our game) didn't arrive on the market for several more years.

Some people loved the new S-Type when it first appeared in 2000, calling it "classic" and "pretty", and it definitely has that identifiably sculpted Jaguar shape. But personally, I hate the small grille. It ruins the front-end, giving it a bug-eyed, pigeon-faced look that says "goofy" instead of pretty. Such a face matches the original S-Type, but seems out-of-place here in the new millenium. It's hard to say which car has an uglier grille: the Chrysler 300C, or the Jaguar S-Type. The 300C's grille, after all, is also based on an older model from Chysler's past.

And apparently, many people agree with me despite some of the glowing reports I've read about this car online. Over the past 10 years (actually more than 10), Jaguar has lost sales while others have forwarded. I couldn't find actual statistics, but in America Jaguars of any year, make, or model are relatively rare. People don't buy them on a massive scale here. True, there is a definate customer base for Jags. People who are needing to drive a status symbol, but don't want to follow the uppity crowd in a Beemer, Benz, Acura or Lexus, may find Jags a welcome choice. Jaguar certainly has a style all its own, despite the fact that since 1998, it has been owned by Ford and shares parts with the Lincoln LS.  

Yes, that's right. The S-Type was the first car fully produced as a "Jag/Ford". It shares parts with the Lincoln LS, but Ford and Jaguar were careful not to make the S-Type too much like a Lincoln and vice versa. The Lincoln LS is supposed to be less luxurious than the Jag, which isn't the way things should be in my opinion, but whatever. Why not make them truely compete instead? Urrgh.

Unlike earlier XJs, the S-Type was supposed to be a more performance-oriented car all around, aimed at competing with Lexus' LS & GS, BMW's 5-series, and the like, and the S-Type R represents the absolute cream. But Jaguar customers nowadays don't require super-sporty cars. Long gone are the days when Jaguar made spartan, road-going sports cars like the '61 E-Type we have in GT4. Therefore, this S-Type R (in real-life and the game) has a bit of a soft feel to it...not as firm or commanding as a BMW 5-series or an Audi RS, for instance.

In real-life there were many versions of the S-Type, with different engine sizes, suspensions, transmissions, and comfort. The "R" happens to be top-notch for many reasons I'll go into later on. Although it is better than the XJs found in GT2, there are plenty of areas where this 4-door has not excelled much. Not that you should avoid the S-type R altogether, but keep in mind that this is no AMG/Benz, BMW, and is arguably not even up to par when compared to the Lexus GS models found in GT4.

All these cars pack lots of weight, for they are luxury and safety-oriented. The S-Type R has a long list of features I'll decline to discuss except for its standard "4-year Emergency Assistance" package. Similar to GM's OnStar program, Jaguar's version will also automatically call up assistance to those in need (accidents and whatnot). I just think it's funny. Certainly nobody racing an S-Type R would leave this stuff on during an actual race!

Jag driver takes Suzuka's Spoon Curve too hot, winds up spinning out-of-control in the sand....inside the cockpit, a voice suddenly chirps:

This is Jaguar Emergency Assistance, we have just been warned that you have had some severity, how can we help?

Jag driver: No worries, everything is okay!

Are you the owner of the vehicle, sir? Our GPS has located you in some sort of ditch off of what looks like a very complex road. Over.

Jag driver (having problems getting back on track): DAMMIT!!! NOW I'M GETTING PASSED!!!

We will try and assist you in any way possible, sir. Please try and stay calm...


...trying to make a joke there. Didn't exactly come out as planned, did it? Ah well.


---------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN------------------

So in real-life, as I said earlier, there were many engines offered for the S-Type: V6s in 2.5, 2.7, and 3.0 sizes, and the 4.0 liter V8 that's in our game. What we have with this V8 is a very smoothly running feline, with a wide band of torque & power that gets to its destination quickly. It is SO smooth, oftentimes you barely notice how quick it is. Which is how Jag customers like it. There were also four transmissions: a 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic, 6-speed automatic, and a CVT. The top-line S-Type R only can be had with the 6-speed, and what's interesting is that in GT4, this tranny actually shifts like an automatic.

In other words, when we take most cars and select "A/T" instead of "manual" in the OPTIONS menu, you will basically get a manual transmission that shifts automatically. Each time there is a gear shift, the game also simulates the car's clutch being disengaged. This happens whether or not the real-life car was only offered as an automatic, like the Ford SHO was, for instance. But in this Jaguar, the transmission shifts smoothly, with no discernable clutch disengagement. A nice touch from Polyphony Digital. Obviously someone over there was anal enough to simulate such actions. Once we get rid of the stock gearbox for a close, super-close, or full-custom one, it starts shifting like any other GT transmission, however.

As a 6-speed, of course, this happens to be a very tall transmission. Nowadays, we would expect nothing less from any passenger car that isn't bought from the economy level, and so what we get is a tall 6-speed. It was so tall, during my Test Course lap for top speed, the car redlined in 5th, but then lost speed once it shifted into 6th! Yikes! Of course, even the Viper has tall gearing, and you'll never need to use 6th gear in a stock Viper, but at least the Viper can still pull at high speeds in 6th gear!

Of course, this is not a Viper we're talking about. The S-Type R makes its distinction from other S-Types because its engine happens to be supercharged. At the time, this car had some of the fastest (some say the fastest) acceleration amongst mid-size luxury 4-doors. The real-life R could make zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, and my track tests straddled this perfectly. From idle with TCS off, I made 5.533 seconds, but when letting the clutch in at 3,000 rpms with TCS on, the car makes it to 60 mph in 5.133 seconds. Again, not exact, but close enough. More bonus points for PD.

One annoyance is this engine's redline of 6,000. It's annoying because peak power shows up at 6,100 rpms, so if you're simulating this car as an automatic (as I do), you'll have to HOLD the button to keep this car in gear longer and make peak. Manual transmission drivers will also find some annoyance, since the RPM limit is at 6,500, which means there will come those times when you'll wind up over-revving this car, no matter how careful.

I was ready to throw some wicked voodoo towards big, bad Polyphony Digital for mucking this all up, till I did some research. Turns out, PD is not at fault for once. The real-life car is even worse than the game-car, believe it or not, since its engine has a module which cuts off speed at 6,200! Yes, this is one of those pussy-mobiles (no pun intended) that does everything for you, and even makes sure you don't have TOO much fun. Ugh. Some good news...please???

On the aftermarket, there are 3 levels of natural tuning available, yet oddly no extra supercharger can be found. At best, this cat puts out a healthy 621 bhp with 583 foot-pounds. So if anything, we really can't criticize this car's engine, can we? Jaguar...Ford...whoever was in charge certainly did their homework so far as power goes.

Uh....

 

   

--------------CHASSIS / HANDLING---------------

It is here that we need help folks. Not the worst car in GT4 by any means, but we need to pay attention just the same.

In real-life the Jaguar S-Type has an optional "CATS" suspension (standard on the S-Type R). This stands for (get ready...) Computerized Active Technology Suspension. Lol, cute. In a real-life S-Type R, this supsension automatically shifts between a softer and a firmer ride, but we can assume the car in our game is always in sport mode. When this car made its debut, this suspension technology was much applauded as a step forward for Jaguar, since many others car-makers nowadays seem to think it's such a good idea to have multi-purpose electronic suspensions that react automatically, and pander to everyone (I'll pass, thank you).

But real-life car-reviewers also tell the truth: when it comes to a high-performance, high-paced ride, NEVER is this car up-to-par when compared with many others of its class.  It comes close, and certainly is closer to being a sports car than older XJs, but never makes it all the way. This goes for the S-Type R, as well as lesser S-Types. As I've driven this car in both the Pan Euro races and Laguna Seca 200 Mile endurance, it certainly is astounding how well PD has simulated this car. It certainly feels wallowy like a modern 4-door Jag.

Of course, real-life Jaguar customers often don't care. These people, after all, want a plush, pillowy ride, and Jag would provide nothing less. These are the graying-at-the-temple bankers, the blue-haired widows with tons of dough stashed away (apparently), the "upwardly mobile" blacks who want to show off their wealth. I see the typical Jaguar customer everyday, folks...he or she is NOT the type who desires to spend long afternoons pushing their expensive car to its limits. The only limits being pushed by such a customer might be putting their air-conditioner on "max".

But perhaps while doing their customer research before the S-Type made it to market, Jaguar inferred that at least some of their buyers want something more...the S-Type R being the final result. 

It is of note that this isn't a horrible car to drive, not like I was expecting, it just isn't as good as many others found in our game. Mid to late-corner understeer is what is expected, and yes, we have liftoff, Houston. Understeer is definately this car's worst fault. GT4 has many cars programmed for understeer-as-default, of course, but I have the feeling that even if the S-Type R appeared in GT2, it would be just as prone to push. After all, the XJs in GT2 certainly understeer. But they also oversteer & fishtail alot--one thing the S-Type definately does not do as it appears in GT4.

Even when fully-powered past 600 horses, the rear-end of the S-Type feels much more manageable than the front during typical situations. There are times, once you get the hang of it, that you can strategically MAKE this car growl with oversteer. Having that torquey engine helps for sure, but this is not an oversteery machine by nature. I thought since this car has such a long, large trunk (or boot, as Brits call it), perhaps I would see some sway-oversteer on occasion. Yes, there is some; unfortunately, when it shows up is usually when things have gone too far. SPINS, in other words. Most of the time, this heavy car feels solid so far as oversteer goes.

It is of some note that in real-life (sorry, I keep using that phrase), Jaguar went to great lengths, as many others do lately, to make sure their cars do not oversteer. The rear tires are larger than the fronts, for instance. Also, the car's stability & traction systems are keyed to cut the engine's power and apply brakes at the first sign that things are getting too hairy. Safe, but not very fun. And the more I drive this car, the more I realize it is not supposed to be fun!

Despite the fact that this is supposed to be the sportiest of S-Types, the R isn't tossable at all. This is no Beemer, folks, not in the least. You can play around a little with alternate racing lines in this one if you have to, but too much experimentation will be reprimanded quickly, like an angry cat clawing at your shin. This isn't a car you'll want to brake late into a corner, throwing all cautions aside, knowing your safety margin is as large as can be. No, it the R doesn't like such behavior at all. Also notable is that real-life testers often describe this car's braking ability as below standard. This wasn't obvious in my straight-line 100 to zero test: the result (4.03 seconds) perfectly average. It was once I entered this car in the Laguna Seca 200 Mile endurance that (lap after lap) I really started to notice how this cat prefers to be stopped.

Like a muscle car, brakes must be applied firmly, and almost in a straight line. This car is not a trail-braker, no surprises here. It is possible to sucessfully play around with braking-while-turning, the way it's possible to feed a lion with your bare hands, but the results may not always be to your liking. So have care.   

Really, it's not soley the fault of brakes or tires. This car also has a 114.5" wheelbase, making tighter corners something you'll constantly need to think about...as this Titanic nears iceberg after iceberg.

   
So rather than an agile, quick-witted jaguar, or a simply fast-running cheetah, what we have here is perhaps a big, lazy lion...a male who never hunts, knowing the rest of his pride has previously been there/done that. A cat that can do great things, when its in the right mood...but only if the path ahead is easy, well-worn, and not too tricky.

sand_s-type.jpg

PROS----------------------------------------

1). This car's heart: its 4-liter dual-overhead cam V8, fed by an Eaton Supercharger. Torque kicks in reliably during races from about 3,000 rpms and up, even in 3rd or 4th gear, giving us a reliable power source 100% of the time.

2). 3 na tunes available.

3). Great rear-end traction. Limited-slip action is not needed for awhile.

4). Sounds like an actual Jaguar? I can't say, but the variety of growls, purrs, and screams this car emits changes drastically from low to higher revs, depending which exhaust you've got affixed. You can even hear the supercharger whistling!

5). Many colors to choose from. A car with an undeniably British look.

6). Stable. This cat stays on its feet.

7). 6-speed transmission. When stock, it actually behaves like an automatic, too.


CONS------------------------------------

1). Expensive! Real-life S-Types with a V6 cost around $45,000. The S-Type R's double pricetag obviously denotes this car soley for the rich.

2).  Infirm manueverability for many reasons. Understeer dominates, of course, with swampy suspension mannerisms and difficult corner placement capabilities.

3). Lots of pounds.

4). Goofy bird-beak of a grille.

5). Rating fun-ness on a scale of 1 to 10, this car rates an even "1".

6). Taciturn braking into corners (where most braking is needed, of course).

7). If this is a supercharged, intercooled car in real-life (and it is), why can't we buy a bigger supercharger or intercoolers?

8). Fuel thirsty.  

9). Not many events this one can compete in without blowing others away or struggling to keep up with them. Can't do either the NA-tune Challenge or Turbo Cup, for instance.

10). Racing exhaust sounds awful. Realistic, probably, but awful.


Published: December 24, 2008

CLICK HERE FOR MORE CAR REIVEWS