Jaguar S-Type-R Research / Buyers Guide


So you’ve taken the plunge and decided to satisfy that Jag itch. You quite like the retro look of the S-Type but you need more oomph, a bit more pizzaz. It’s the Type-R you want but are not sure where to start.

It is almost advisable to find a decent specialist before you even start looking. Not only will they be able to assist you in finding a good one, they will have answers to questions you wouldn’t have even thought of. Dealers the world over have been somewhat vilified for their lack of service, so a good specialist is worth their weight in gold.

Jaguars are not cheap cars to maintain, but that can be mitigated if you are prepared to do some of the less technical service work yourself. You Tube, forums and various published books can help out with advice and ‘how to …’ guides, so this is worth considering.jagsfull_zpsb28a3843

However, if like me, you are afraid of causing more damage by attempting to change a brake pad or replace a bulb, then keeping fluids well topped up on a regular basis and noting the kilometres driven on a set of pads, and changing them before the discs are ruined, will save you thousands.

The earlier models built between 2002 and 2004 suffered the majority of problems. Most were electrical in nature and after a while it became clear that there was some faulty software included in the engine management systems. This often affected the transmission and gearbox and caused much of the lurching issues owners have complained about. If found within warranty, Jaguar did replace the parts and the problems died off.

The newer versions built between 2004 and 2008 had better reliability and owners, in the main, have sung its praises. However, as with any second hand car, you have to assume you are buying someone else’s trouble and when you consider this is a 400bhp, 1800kg sports car, anything that wears out simply due to use will not be cheap. So, if you are a student this is not a car for you.

If you intend to use the car on a daily basis, the biggest ticket items will be the brakes and tyres. The S-Type-R has been fitted with multi-piston Brembo brakes and in 2003 models there were reports that the rears dragged causing premature wear. The steering rack also had a tendency to squeak from this batch and the 02-03 cars in particular suffered from the ZF gearbox lurch. These issues should have been rectified but if there is any question that this may not have been done, then walk away.mGA_05lbQZcuPVSp4cixaHQ

The STR, as they say in America, does have a tendency to chew through tyres, with 18inch wheels shod by 275’s on the rear and 235’s on the front, they will not be cheap, so factor those in every 25-30,000kms.

Less so in later models, but wiring issues from the front loom had been the cause of a number of power issues, but over time all cars should have been modified

The all-new (at the time) ZF 6-speed gearbox was marvellously smooth and speedy, but did have its fair share of gremlins. Other auto-makers such as BMW also reported issues, so this was not a typical Jag problem. Again many cars on the road today will have had the problems ironed out by now, but to keep the box in fine fettle it is advisable to change the oil and its filters every 50-60,000kms. Jaguar dealers will tell you the boxes are sealed for life, but don’t believe them. Your specialist will know better.

Check all hoses in the engine bay and replace when you get it serviced. Blown hoses can be the cause of many problems and knowing how new they are makes you better prepared.

Equally, check the date on the battery (there is one and it’s in the boot) and ensure you replace that well before the end date. STR’s consume a large amount of power so get the best you can afford.

Check all electrics including windows, central locking and alarms as they have been known to have problems. There are some natty little tips on some forums to learn as there are few hidden tricks the car is set up for. There is even a hidden compartment if you pull out one of the cup holders.

Check the seals around the bootlid and make sure nothing is leaking or feels damp. As the battery is situated back there, water can become the bane of your life and ruin your beautiful Cat.

And finally, you are not buying a diesel so don’t expect any more than between 10 and 13 litres/100km in fuel consumption. Of course, the more spirited your driving, the lower that figure will be, and rightly so.


Redbook ( quotes the following:

Price when new $169,990

  • 2005/6 models with between 80-140,000kms
  • Private Price Guide               $32,600 – $36,800
  • 2008 models with between 60-110,000kms
  • Private Price Guide               $48,600 – $53,800

Suggested Forums – The unofficial Jaguar enthusiasts forum – A personal experience of owning a 2003 Jaguar S-Type with a lurching ZF Gearbox – Jaguar Drivers Club of Australia