Jaguar S-Type V8
Like Shed himself, the S-Type is a misunderstood sort of beast. It's a car that's berated or celebrated, usually depending on whether you've driven one or not. In Shed's considered opinion
, the twin-turbo 2.7 diesel is one of the most grossly underrated cars on the used luxury market.
Unfortunately for us meanies, this view is shared by enough people to keep oil burner S-Type values buoyant. They rarely come onto the market at under £3K, with low-milers fetching up to £12K - not bad for a car that was discontinued five years ago.
The fear of personal bankruptcy makes the V8 model much more affordable, with no shortage of solid-looking specimens on offer at our £1K-and-under qualifying price.
Before we get into this cosy S-Shed, one of any number we could have easily picked, let's pause for a moment to recall the supercharged 400hp 4.2-litre S-Type R. That was a quick car. Too quick, it would seem, for sometime Jaguar F1 'ace' Antonio Pizzonia who rolled one after absent-mindedly selecting an F1 braking point rather than the one he actually needed for a substantial barge containing himself, an Autocar scribe, a tooled-up snapper and a full leather interior with deluxe stereo. That point being about 150 metres further back up the track.
There's another point in this video when Steve Sutcliffe (the Autocar man in question) realises that F1 drivers can have feet of clay, not only metaphorically but also literally after the cross-country trudge of shame back to the pits. Sutters is the hero of the hour, calmly peering through a shower of sunroof fragments to inquire after the health of the driver before making a hasty but dignified exit. If this video proves anything other than the occasional frailty of those we hold up as driving gods, it's that the S-Type is a good car to crash in.
A leggy R will cost you as little as £4k, with even fresher examples coming in at comfortably under £10K, making it a tempting left-field choice for the discerning hooligan, given that the last Rs retailed at a bluey under £50k. Regular V8s like our Shed are not as ballistically quick as the R, but they still deliver the mink-glove delights of 281 smooth hp, 150 refined mph and six surprising seconds for the 0-60 dash, all for under one thousand of your English pounds.
Its V8 rumble is far more appealing noise than the bottom-end rumble with which owners of the fragile 3.0-litre V6 S-Type are grimly familiar. The V8 is made of sterner stuff but there are still general issues to beware of. Keep an eye on the transmission, replacing the fluid whether it needs it or not, and only using the proper stuff for the job. Air-con compressors fail, timing chains rattle and the electric handbrakes can give trouble. The S-Type is also quite hard on suspension components, but when they're working the result is a fine ride.
Any misgivings you may have about the S-Type's mechanicals or exterior appearance are quickly forgotten once you've slid into the cabin. If you're not a fan of high dashboards you probably won't like it, but if the phrase 'womb-like' takes you back to a nicer place, you'll be right at home there. You'll notice lovely woods and leathers and good build quality.
This 2001 car may or may not benefit from the engine and steering improvements Jaguar made in that year. It would be nice if it did, but with the best part of a year left on the MOT, would it be that much of a loss if it didn't?
The S-Type was the last of the 'old man Jags'. That's most often used as a derogatory term, but Shed sees things differently. He sees the S-Type as a classy full stop to a 50-year era that brought a lot of pleasure to a lot of people.
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