Lately, things have gone from bad to worse for Jaguar. As part of Ford’s Premiere Automotive Group, Jaguar has proven to be a financial disaster in the last few years, with less profit then the highly exclusive Aston Martin. All of their hope is in the new S-Type that will be launched late next year. This new model could be Jaguar’s car of comeback, or their way to perdition. All possible efforts were made in the development of the 2008-year model S-type, and Jaguar promises it is going to be spectacular.
Codenamed X250, the next generation Jaguar S-Type will bring some fresh spirit and make a departure from the traditional Jaguar styling. In addition, such a departure seems to be more than necessary, as the sales of the feline badged manufacturer dropped like a Jaguar on its prey, lately.
The most important design novelties are expected to be borrowed from the RD-6 concept car, presented in 2003. Such an element is the four traditional round front lights that will be joined together, two by two. The center grille will get more angular accents and a metallic finish. Angular accents will be found all over the body in a mixture with the traditional curvaceous lines.
Inside information spread in the media show that the new S-Type will not feature an integral aluminum chassis, like the XJ and XK do, but a steel chassis with several aluminum components. This may point that the new platform is an improvement of the current design, and not an entirely new project. This is a decision that might have been dictated by cost reduction necessities.
Official Jaguar sketch
No major changes are expected in the power-plant department. The base model is expected to feature a supercharged 3.2-liter straight six that will offer a good compromise between performance and mileage. The entry V8 will displace 5-liter and offer up to 350 bhp. The S-Type R will most likely be equipped with the 4.2-liter supercharged V8 currently available on the XK, but with an increased output towards 450 bhp. This would be necessary as the German competitors (BMW M5, Audi RS6) exceed 500 bhp.
A diesel will also be offered as before. The 2.7-liter V6 features twin turbochargers and the latest, high-pressure, common-rail direct injection, making it among the most advanced high-performance diesel engines in the world. Innovations such as a Compacted Graphite Iron (CGI) cylinder block - which provides outstanding strength and durability as well as weighing less than a traditional cast iron unit - allied to state-of the-art electronic engine control systems have given Jaguar the engine that the marquee, and many thousands of potential customers, have been waiting for.
The 2008 Jaguar S-type should hit the showrooms in the second part of 2007, as a 2008 model, and the S-Type R top of the range is expected to follow about a year later.
The current S-Type is Jaguar’s premium mid-sized sports saloon. It was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2004 and went on sale from April. The design has been extensively re-worked and refined to achieve a more athletic, contemporary look, with cleaner, tauter, more muscular lines and subtly modified proportions.
The use of lightweight aluminum rather than steel for the bonnet gives improved weight distribution and handling balance. The revised shape also brings tighter panel fits and enhanced performance. Transformed by subtle and sophisticated changes, the S-TYPE retains its highly individual look and remains true to the Jaguar brand.
The new Jaguar S-TYPE also introduces a significantly improved interior, adding to the feel of contemporary luxury. A redesigned instrument pack emphasizes the S-Type’s sporty character as well as presenting more information more clearly and there is now a greater choice of color and trims options. S-TYPE Sport and S-TYPE R models now have as standard a sporty aluminum fascia finish. This style was made famous in Jaguar sports cars, such as the 1961 E-TYPE, but this is the first time that S-TYPE customers have been able to choose an interior without wood trim. Like the exterior, the new interior sees further improvements in material and build quality. Sporting luxury is the keynote here, in a cabin infused with Jaguar quality, from the cleverly engineered, driver-orientated ergonomics to the satisfying feel of the controls and trim.
2006 Jaguar S-Type
The new S-TYPE also offers an even broader catalogue of comfort and convenience features, from new wheel styles to advanced cruise control and parking aid options.
The new S-TYPE enhances Jaguar’s reputation for sporting character in a luxury saloon car. In 2002 the S-TYPE gained all-new front suspension and extensively revised rear suspension. The refined and sporty layout continues into the new S-TYPE, with a modified suspension including low friction ball joints and re-tuned dampers, providing improved ride and dynamics. Across the range the new S-TYPE features Servotronic variable-ratio power steering, powerful brakes with ABS anti-lock and Emergency Brake Assist, traction control and Dynamic Stability Control, all as standard equipment.
Click here to read ore about the 2006 Jaguar S-Type.
The new benchmark in the luxury performance segment in North America was set by the new Audi A6. This is main competitor, the new Jag will have to face. A scant one year later, the successful V8 and V6 variants are being joined by an A6 3.2 sedan with Audi’s revolutionary multitronic (CVT) transmission and FrontTrak front wheel drive. In all of its forms, the latest generation of the Audi A6 combines superior driving dynamics and sophisticated technology with exceptional comfort and equipment.
To up the ante in driving dynamics, Audi is now offering an S-Line package with appearance and hardware items for a specifically more dynamic driving experience. This package includes a number of exterior elements including a distinctive front grille with S-line badge, aluminum door sills with S-line badges, S-line front and rear bumpers and 18-inch 5-arm quattro GmbH wheels with 245/40 R18” summer performance tires. When equipped with this package, the standard wood trim in the A6 will be replaced with an elegant gray birch wood trim. A Misano red exterior is now available for the Audi A6 but only on S-line equipped cars.
Powerful engines with up to 8 cylinders and 335 horsepower, the most advanced transmission technologies, and a choice between quattro permanent all-wheel drive or FrontTrak front wheel drive make Audi’s current A6 range its most comprehensive ever. Thanks to the cutting-edge suspension combined with high body rigidity, this power and performance opens up a new dimension in driving dynamics.
Already acknowledged as classic, the fundamental proportion of Audi’s sports sedan with its low-slung windows and coupe-like roofline now comes with even greater strength and energy. The contours of the shoulder line sweeping up and the movement of the dynamic line above the side sills give the entire body of the car a unique push in forward design. The distinctly curved dome on the middle of the engine compartment hood symbolizes the power and performance offered by the new Audi A6. Seen from the front, the trapezoidal design of the single-frame radiator grille reveals clearly that the A6 represents the latest generation of Audi models.
More information on the 2006 Audi A6 can be found here.
2006 Lexus GS
The most popular luxury brand in the is Lexus, and their premium performance models, the GS is one of the bestsellers.A showcase of the giant company’s most advanced technology, it is not only loaded with more computer power than some third-world countries, and flush with a degree of luxury enjoyed only in the best zip codes, but the fully restyled and reengineered four-door luxury sedan makes a bold dynamic statement that says, "Watch out, BMW!"
Lexus openly admits that BMW’s 5 Series sedan provided the benchmark for the new GS, in much the same way the big Lexus LS originally targeted the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, at the time top of its class. Again going after the perceived leader of the pack, Lexus devised a crafty strategy.
First, it broadened the appeal of the GS lineup with a faster, better-equipped "base" car. In fact, the rear-wheel-drive GS 300 out-measures its competitor from Munich, the BMW 530i, in torque, the 0-60 sprint and fuel mileage, not to mention offering a far friendlier and more sybaritic cockpit.
Second, to entice those in cold climes who until now had to look elsewhere for an all-weather passenger car, Lexus is offering an all-wheel-drive option for the GS 300. More than one-third of all new GS sales are expected to be AWD models, most headed for the northwest and northeast .
Finally, Lexus made sure the top dog of the family, the 430, had the bite to wrest bragging rights away from the Germans, not just by matching but exceeding the high-end performance recorded by the BMW 545i. Simply put, Lexus fine-tuned its 4.3-liter V8, paired it with a wonder of a transmission and cloaked the drive train in a slippery coat of sexy metal. Result? The GS 430 runs in realms never reached by a Lexus, and it is quicker than the BMW.
However, the primary target of this new, longer and wider GS is not all that important, because Lexus is confident its four-door sedan’s combination of driving fun and creature comfort is unequalled among its many peers and will do much to spread the badge across the land.
Click here if you want to read more on the 2006 Lexus GS.