Back in the noughties you didn’t have to spend close to £150k to nab yourself a mid-sized Jag saloon powered by a V8 engine. While today’s XE SV Project 8 stands tall with a notable lap record to its name, back in 2002, the S-Type R won hearts and minds with its rumbling 4.2-litre and the eternally appealing promise of daily Q car usability. Even in this its most sporting guise, the S-Type had a leather-clad interior and comfortable suspension. Handily, these were the days when petrol prices were still below 70p a litre, too.
The snout of Jag’s 395hp S-Type was aimed squarely at the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG - albeit in its own, distinctly Jaguar way. There was a brutish supercharged V8 under the bonnet, just like in those German rivals, but the S-Type R’s retro-inspired exterior styling, wood veneer trim and general demeanour was quite different. Barring small giveaways like the twin exhaust pipes, slim boot spoiler and bigger wheels, it didn't make a fuss. Well, not when parked at any rate. On the move it was a different matter.
The inherent thrust of the engine combined with a typically well-judged chassis made the car more than capable of an entertaining B road hustle. With a ‘charger to force feed the V8, the mid-range delivered a very healthy 399lb ft of torque, backed by an increasingly audible whine to contrast the deep throated soundtrack. The S-Type R’s motor peaked at 6,100rpm; it could sprint the 1.8-tonne saloon to 62mph in 5.6 seconds and onto a 155mph limited top speed.
Without wishing to suggest that 2007 is now lost in the mist of time, the car must've already seemed like a slightly eccentric offering to the world of sports saloons when new. Somewhat predictably, the M5’s greater overall performance, not to mention the more ominous presence of AMG’s 5.4-litre unit, meant the R was always destined to be something of a leftfield choice. Especially with mixed reaction to the S-Type in general is factored in.
Still, thanks to its understated appeal, you can not access a near 400hp Jaguar four-door - one that cost from £47,000 when new - for supermini money. Used supermini money, in fact, because they can be bought for considerably less than the £14k being asked for today's Spotted. Its distinguishing feature is comparatively few miles, with only 43k clocked up since the car's registration 13 years ago.
Not only that, but it’s also a limited edition Stratstone model, which means it gets a mildly higher spec cabin (yes, there's a plaque) and a handsome set of 19-inch BBS wheels. This being a post-facelift car, it also comes with the minor aesthetic tweaks and an aluminium bonnet that were added from 2005. True, you'll need to really want one to consider paying £5k more than you would for this earlier version. But one thing’s for certain: they don’t make ‘em quite like this anymore.
SPECIFICATION | JAGUAER S-TYPE R
Engine: 4.2-litre supercharged V8
Transmission: six-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 395@6,100rpm
Torque (lb ft): 399@3,500rpm
First registered: 2007
Recorded mileage: 43,000
Price new: £47,000 (2002)
Yours for: £13,995
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