Beauty, it has been said, is a matter of millimetres. It is the merest difference in the slant of a nose or the distance between the eyes or the nose and the mouth that can colour our decisions on who is beautiful and who is perhaps, like your esteemed author here, best judged on their personality.
In the matter of cars, there is no argument. We know one of the reasons most people choose a car is for its looks, and that probably applies no matter how much the individual knows about cars. The same rules apply: the smallest change can make all the difference. How else to explain the penchant for aftermarket alloy wheels, or bib and tucker spoilers, or even extended sills? After all, we all lust after a GTI, but we aren't so interested in looking at the 1.0 S version.
Some cars, of course, are beyond reasonable help. To be different and to stand out from the crowd is all very well, but in 1998 the S-Type was one of the first of the modern breed of retro-styled cars, picking up brazenly on hints of Jags of old, most especially the Mk2. Some saw this as cynical styling, stealing from the past when the object of good design is surely to lead the public gently by the hand into a brave new world.
To drive, the base models of the S-Type weren't overly impressive either, which didn't help its cause. However, in 2002 the R was launched, complete with an Eaton-supercharged 4.2-litre V8 engine making 390hp and 399lb ft, attached to a six-speed ZF automatic gearbox. The R thus equipped was rorty enough to give the impressive headline figure of 0-62mph in 5.5sec. Externally, it had bespoke badges and alloys and also a sporty mesh grille, as well as a discreet rear spoiler on the lip of the boot lid and a body kit. Subtle, but it looked a whole lot better than the standard car.
It was a heavy car, admittedly, but it was also refined and relatively smooth riding. If desired, you could hang the tail out, but for those moments when you weren't in the mood the R was a stable and well-balanced proposition. Inside, it had powered front sports seats trimmed in opulent leather, cruise control and air-con, and plenty of room for the family.
This one has a full service history to support its 88,000 miles. It looks the biz in metallic black, and as it's a 2006 car it benefits from an aluminium bonnet and the restyled bumpers and tail-lights that came as part of the 2005 facelift. At a tad under £8,000 it doesn't seem bad value, although it has to be noted they were once even cheaper. Owners' reports on reliability and build quality are a bit of a mixed bag, to be honest, with rust a major bugbear. Ultimately, it's no beauty either, but a supercharged V8 in a classical British bruiser for this kind of dosh is not to be sneezed at, especially if your nose is just the right distance from your mouth.
SPECIFICATION - JAGUAR S-TYPE R
Engine: 4.0-litre supercharged V8
Transmission: six-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 390
Torque (lb ft): 399
First registered: 2006
Recorded mileage: 88,000
Price new: £55,680
Yours for: £7,995
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