For 2005, the Jaguar S-Type receives a subtle makeover, with new exterior styling that’s cleaner and more muscular-looking, and new interior Bronze Madrona wood veneer, a new instrument panel with clearer displays, and a wider choice of colours and trim. A lighter aluminum hood improves weight distribution, and a six-speed automatic transmission becomes standard equipment on all models. All S-Types also receive front, side and side-curtain airbags, plus Jaguar’s Adaptive Restraint Technology System. There’s an available interior aluminum trim package for the Sport and R which replaces the wood trim, and there’s a $4,955 price reduction on the supercharged R model.

The S-Type is available in three lines: the 3.0-litre V6-powered 3.0, 4.2-litre V8-powered 4.2, and the R, with a supercharged 4.2-litre V8. All come with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The 3.0 features 17-inch alloy wheels, electronic parking brake, automatic headlamps with washers, fog lamps, heated mirrors, reverse park control, eight-way driver and six-way passenger heated leather seats, single CD player, 60/40 folding rear seat, cellular phone pre-wire, dual-zone automatic climate control, electric tilt and telescopic steering column, one-touch up and down on all windows, wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, and wood and leather trimmed steering wheel.

The 4.2 adds Servotronic steering, power sunroof, and driver and passenger power lumbar support.

The R adds a tire pressure monitor, 18-inch wheels with performance tires, Brembo brake discs and callipers, Computer Active Technology Suspension, rear spoiler, R-specific badging, automatic self-levelling Xenon headlights, 16-way driver and 12-way passenger power seat with four-way power lumbar, single CD player with trunk-mounted six-disc changer, fixed rear seat back with pass-through, grey stained bird’s eye maple veneer, R-Performance leather-trimmed steering wheel and sport seats.

All of the S-Type engines are very smooth and capable, and the supercharged R may be the ultimate sleeper: it looks like a sedate luxury car, but one that has 390 horsepower on tap and will handle zero to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds. A manual gearbox would be even more fun, but alas, it isn’t on the option sheet. All three models also handle much better than their stiff-upper-lip styling would suggest. The R’s Computer Active Technology Suspension, or CATS, is a two-stage sports suspension that automatically switches the system’s dampers from “soft” to “firm” in milliseconds, depending on road and driving conditions; it also switches the rear or front dampers slightly ahead of the others to reduce or increase understeer, depending upon which is preferable.

The S-Type is built in Castle Bromwich, England.

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