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Click for pictures“Jaguar’s new S-Type
  packs a potent 206bhp.
  The intriguing thing is
  that it comes from a
  high-tech, twin-turboed,
  2.7-litre V6 diesel...”


THE NAME JAGUAR has long been synonymous with power. Even so, 206bhp and 320lb ft sounds pretty exciting. But, surprisingly, this comes not from a traditional petrol engine but from Jaguar's superb new AJD-V6 2.7-litre twin-turbo diesel.

This all-new V6 is a superb example of a state-of-the-art diesel engine, and its specification makes for impressive reading. The four-cam, 24-valve, twin-turbo V6 features second generation common-rail direct injection and super-fast piezo-electric injector operation. Maximum power is 206bhp — sufficient to place the diesel-drinking 'S' ahead of all but one of its directly comparable rivals. Torque peaks at
a heady 320lb ft, which is actually higher than that produced by the naturally-aspirated 4.2-litre found in the V8 petrol-engined S-Type. Yet the diesel boasts 47 per cent better fuel consumption. More important still, 80 per cent of this torque is available from just 1,500 revs-per-minute, all the way through to 4,000rpm.

At the same time as it was slotted in the 2.7D, Jaguar also made some understated external styling revisions: a wider grille, re-profiled bonnet now formed from aluminium to improve weight distribution and a smarter tail. The new shape remains highly individual and true to the Jaguar brand while at the same time endowing the refreshed S-Type with a more athletic and more contemporary look. The leaner, cleaner lines and subtly revised proportions show off the significant quality improvements — particularly the tighter panel fits.

The best way to get across just how polished this new Jaguar diesel actually is — short of an eye-opening test drive — is to recount the reaction of a highly-experienced driver and long-time Jaguar enthusiast to whom I gave a lift. After several miles he insisted we pull over so
he could look under the bonnet because the responses and sounds he could hear were so much like a petrol engine that he couldn't believe there was a diesel at work under there. It really is that smooth.

Jaguar's engineers have gone for two small variable-geometry turbo-chargers to ensure immediate throttle response and, as we've already said, 80 per cent of peak torque kicks in low down, from just 1,500rpm. Better still, the 2.7 revs freely right up to the red-line, which it does accompanied by a muted roar that's wholly appropriate for a Jaguar.
At fast motorway speeds you really can't tell there's an oil-burner under the lightweight aluminium bonnet. But tread hard on the accelerator and the muscular 320lb ft of torque makes itself felt instantly. Gear changes from the six-speed ZF auto 'box are, as one would expect, pleasurably smooth.

Along with 'power', other key words on premium saloon buyers' shopping lists include 'dynamic', 'sporty', 'luxurious' and 'refined'. Here, too, Jaguar's engineers have come up trumps. Stiff, compacted graphite iron engine construction, dual isolated engine mounts, elastic cam-cover gaskets, double-skinned sump and a variable swirl intake system are all employed to cut noise. And it works. The 2.7D is exceptionally quiet inside, with road noise well isolated from the cabin. No question that it is a very refined 'Cat' indeed.

Mounted 'north-south', the common-rail diesel drives the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or a ZF six-speed automatic transmission. Sporting drivers will be impressed with the Sport model's uprated damping, providing enhanced body control and lots of grip. Push hard and you can really savour the S-Type's sweet handling balance and its neutral cornering attitude tending towards gentle oversteer as you close on the limit. More good news is that the standard-fit Stability Control's intervention is rarely needed.

The S-type's interior has always felt special. 'Intimate' best sums it
up. The seats — front and rear — are wide and comfortable, providing excellent lateral and under-thigh support. Setting the ideal driving position is a doddle, thanks to the comprehensive electrically-adjustable driver's seat and the steering wheel that is powered for both reach and rake. Jaguar's heated seats are brilliant, and there's also the very useful option of specifying electrically-adjustable pedals.

Ahead of the driver is a high, sweeping fascia. Dials are clearly laid out and there's a handsome multi-function steering wheel with controls
for audio and, where fitted, telephone and voice control.The perforated leather rim is a real joy to use. In place of the usual wood there's a sporty aluminium facia that comes as standard on the Sport model, echoing the aluminium facia of legendary Jaguar sports cars such as the E-type. The instruments have more detailed faces, while the speedometer and the rev-counter now feature built-in message display 'windows' for a variety of driver information.

The touch-screen SatNav is simple to use and works impeccably. Standard equipment includes automatic dual zone climate control, cruise control, auto-dimming rearview mirror and door mirrors with power foldback, electric multi-adjustable perforated leather sport seats with driver's two memory function for seat, steering column and door mirrors. Also included is electric entry/exit tilt away of the steering wheel and a trip computer. You also get variable ratio speed-sensitive power steering. The parking brake is a push-button electronic item that's standard on all models. Like a lot of '21st century' improvements = such as the touch-screen and voice-control — once you start using it you wonder how you ever managed before.

Rear-seat passengers are easily and comfortably accommodated, enjoying decent leg- and elbow-room. There's ample room for luggage, too, and for moving larger items the 60:40 split rear seat back proves to be a useful adjunct to the long, shallow 400 litre boot, expanding the capacity to a total of 810 litres. One thing you can be sure of: wherever you sit in an S-Type you are guaranteed to experience a genuine sense of occasion — even if you're only en route to the shopping mall.

Under the skin there are revised suspension settings and spring rates, with Dynamic Stability Control and traction control now standard across the range. Our Sport test car came with distinctive 10-double-spoke 18-inch alloys and the stiffer sport suspension. Jaguar's engineers have struck just the right balance between a compliant ride and accomplished body control, whether you're motoring along fast open roads or tracking across country on tricky twisty ones. The 2.7 Sport is focussed and responsive, body movement is well contained and the Servotronic variable-ratio power-steering accurate. Move the rim and there's an immediate and corresponding response up front
from the Pirellis. There's good 'feel', too and the steering harmonises beautifully with the exploitable chassis.

Adding a diesel engine can sometimes have disruptive effects on a previously petrol-engined model's handing dynamics. But not in the case of the 2.7D. The S-Type's outstanding ride hasn't been affected one jot, as a consequence of using the new diesel powerplant — remarkably, thanks to its innovative compacted graphite iron (CGI) block structure, the all-new diesel is the lightest unit of its type and size, weighing just 202Kg. Happily the result is a smooth, consistent ride allied to sportingly entertaining agility. Exactly what you would expect from a Jaguar!

To prove it, simply slot the selector in Auto mode with the 'Sport' button engaged: It's a great way to drive the 2.7. Real-world performance is always available through Jaguar's familiar J-gate auto 'box, and the rapid kickdown will satisfy drivers with a demanding right foot. You can, of course, use the semi-auto side of the J-gate to override the adaptive transmission.

The performance figures are stong enough to speak for themselves: zero to 60mph in 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 141mph. Given the pace, the fuel consumption is notably thrifty. Over 520 miles we recorded 35mpg — almost on the nail with Jaguar's official 36mpg figure. And that was better than we had any right to expect, given
our testers' spirited driving styles. On long trips the 2.7 is at its best, in terms of both comfort and fuel economy. The touring figure — a frugal 46.5mpg — seems even more impressive. Remember that this is
a sporty, 206bhp, luxuriously kitted-out automatic. So, thanks to the
S-Type's 15-gallon tank, you can cover a safe 650 miles of motorways between fill-ups.

The more technically-minded will be impressed to learn that Jaguar's new diesel engine exploits the latest technology — enough to rank
it among the very best diesels in the world. For example, piezo-electric-controlled injectors take the place of solenoids for faster and more accurate control; multipoint injectors operate at 1,650 bar and are capable of up to five injections per cycle, and so advanced is
the engine-management system that it employs 23 sensors and 20 actuators which together enable almost 7,000 variables in fuel delivery and timing.

The major hardware comprises two electronically-controlled variable-geometry turbo-chargers, four overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. The result is a refined diesel engine that's eerily un-diesel-like. At cruising speeds — 90mph calls for an unstressed 3,000 revs — it's almost impossible to tell petrol and diesel apart. The only sound is a distant, melodious hum of the kind that usually denotes a big powerful petrol block under the bonnet.

Safety is well addressed, with a stability and traction control system and ABS both standard. There are driver, passenger, side and window airbags, along with anti-whiplash front head restraints. Powerful all-disc ABS anti-lock brakes with Emergency Brake Assist and Jaguar's innovative occupant-sensing Adaptive Restraint Technology System (A.R.T.S.) also come as standard. Drive-away central locking is, these days, as much an essential safety feature as it is a convenience aid and it is also fitted as standard.

The superb new 2.7D is a logical and indeed a welcome addition to
the S-Type range, perfectly complementing the existing 2.5/3.0-litre V6s and the 4.2-litre V8 models. Offering diesel power without any sacrifices, you still get the unique Jaguar personality along with driver-focused performance, agile handling and outstanding comfort and refinement.

With diesel now accounting for one-in-three sales across the premium segment in Europe (and still growing year-on-year), the S-Type diesel is ideally qualified to, if you'll pardon the pun, clean up. Added to which, all S-Types feature the equipment that executive buyers demand: climate control, cruise control, alloy wheels and electric front seats as standard and all but entry-level models featuring leather upholstery and an automatic 'box. In addition to existing driver aids there is now Front Park Assist, distance-sensing Adaptive Cruise Control and Forward Alert as well as SatNav and voice-activated controls.

We haven't tried the standard six-speed manual 'box but as the six-speeder auto is so good, there is sure to be a strong demand for this 1,350 option. The more you drive it, the more inseparable you and your automatic 2.7 diesel will become.

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Jaguar S-Type 2.7 V6 Diesel Sport | 31,670
Maximum speed: 141mph | 0-60mph: 8.2 seconds
Overall test MPG: 35mpg | Power: 206bhp | Torque: 320lb ft

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--------------------------------------------------------------------- Jaguar S-Type