Jaguar has re-engineered its S-Type sedan for 2003, but the differences are hard to see visually, at least from the outside. Driving it, however, reveals a big improvement in responsiveness, ride quality, and vehicle dynamics. Revisions to the interior bring improved comfort and convenience. An exciting new S-Type R now rides at the top of the model line with a powerful supercharged engine, a sports suspension, and big Brembo brakes. But it's not necessary to spring for the R model to benefit from the improvements: The standard S-Type 4.2 delivers thrilling performance in its own right along with all of the class expected of a Jaguar. Though transmissions seldom generate excitement, a new six-speed automatic transforms the 2003 S-Type cars, making them extremely responsive and an absolute joy to drive, whether quietly motoring around town, covering great distances, or attacking backcountry roads. The new six-speed automatic is available throughout the entire S-Type line and is the same transmission used in the new BMW 7 Series. Jaguar's S-Type rear-wheel-drive sedans compete with such mid-size luxury cars as the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The S-Type's distinctive styling won't be confused with anything else, and you're less likely to see a Jaguar in your neighbor's driveway. Inside, they offer lovely interiors with comfortable seats swathed in leather. They ride very smoothly and are capable of making the driver feel better after getting out of the car than he or she felt before getting into it. Dynamically, the new Jaguar doesn't have quite the edge of a BMW 5 Series, but the performance advantages of the BMW are mainly evident when using stopwatches at a racing circuit. What's easier to measure is the price differential, and here the Jaguar shines.