Dynamics - Performance with Poise
Alongside style, the new S-TYPE’s key characteristic and the Jaguar buyer’s key expectation, is exceptional driving dynamics, combining the comfort and refinement of a luxury car with the handling, stability, responses and driver involvement of a sports car. Just like its styling, the new S-TYPE’s dynamics raise it above the premium saloon crowd.
The latest S-TYPE bodyshell, as introduced in 2002 and carried over into the new S-TYPE, is 10 per cent stiffer than that of the original car. It is a perfect platform for the new suspension, with aluminium control arms, also introduced in 2002. At the front, the new S-TYPE uses unequal-length wishbones to minimise track and camber changes. The two forged aluminium arms of the lower wishbone are linked by a ball joint and are connected by rubber and hydraulic bushes to the non-isolated front subframe. The forged aluminium upper A-frame incorporates two fluid-block bushes and an integral ball joint for added refinement. It connects to the body and controls the geometry for improved straight-line stability. The upper control arm axis is also inclined, to provide improved anti-dive characteristics under heavy braking. The coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bars and steering are all tuned to provide the subtly different characters of the different models, from the Classic 2.5 V6 to the very high performance, supercharged 4.2 litre V8 R.
At the rear, the recent revisions include a new subframe with stiffer mountings and larger-diameter bushes for enhanced, and more refined, ride and handling. A new toe-link improves rear wheel alignment, while a lowered roll centre maintains overall balance with the totally new front suspension. The new S-TYPE’s class-leading body stiffness and carefully revised reduced friction suspension mountings, not only optimise ride and handling balance and give the car a solidly engineered quality, but also have a significant effect on refinement, minimising road noise and vibration and eliminating potential squeaks and rattles.
Servotronic variable-ratio power-assisted steering is standard across the range, for minimum parking effort at low speeds and maximum precision and feedback at higher speeds.
Standard on the new S-TYPE R, and optional on other models, Jaguar’s Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) is an electronic control system which combines uprated springs with adaptive dampers to deliver the blend of driving dynamics, comfort and refinement that is a Jaguar hallmark. It continuously adjusts damping characteristics to suit the driving conditions, optimising both ride and handling. A series of sensors provides information to the electronic control unit, which is mapped to deliver the best solution to the dampers and can switch between firm and soft settings within milliseconds.