Jaguar S-Type -- Review: Ah, to be young, rich and beautiful on a limpid summer day in Southern California. Or to pretend to be at least one of the three, courtesy of a job that allows you to drive expensive cars that you could otherwise never afford.
Click here to find out more! We were feeling quite pleased with ourselves while driving a 2005 Jaguar S-Type 4.2 around Los Angeles, having been the recipients of the obvious perks that come with driving a luxury vehicle, such as prominent front-and-center placement in the valet parking line of the Cheesecake Factory. Or knowing that passersby subtly check out the car, then glance inside to see if the driver’s aesthetic endowment matches the vehicle she’s piloting. (Quick tip – large sunglasses and a hat help keep the reverie alive.)
The 2005 S-Type, like most other Jaguars, is indeed a beautiful car, even six years into its product cycle. At its introduction for the 2000 model year, critics reached a nearly universal consensus about its distinctive exterior styling, which managed to be both modern and classically retro at the same time. Back then, the Jaguar S-Type stood out as the belle of the excellent, but sometimes staid, group of European and Japanese cars that comprise the midsize luxury sedan coterie. Though some reviewers gave it a good drubbing for sharing too many bits and pieces with its corporate cousin, the downmarket Lincoln LS, its unique flavor helped double Jaguar’s worldwide sales during its first year on the market.
Fast-forward five years. To keep finicky consumers intrigued by the S-Type, Jaguar gives its aging sedan a minor facelift and a new option package chock-full of the traditional luxuries that have come to symbolize the brand.
A new aluminum hood and slightly modified front styling add definition while retaining the S-Type’s distinctive appearance. In back, the tail end of the 2005 Jaguar S-Type sports more obvious modifications that include new rear lights, tweaks to the bumper, and a revised trunk lid that provides added cargo capacity. Overall, the updates are not so dramatic as to alter the character of the Jaguar, and we still find it to be pleasing to the eye.
But to what degree can mere good looks sustain a career as a luxury sedan? We test-drove the refreshed 2005 Jaguar S-Type to see if its beauty is only skin deep, or if there is substance behind its fair face.