Thursday December 6 2012

Mercedes E 320 vs Jaguar S Type

By Paul Kaganzi

Mercedes Benz and Jaguar released these two models, E Class and S Type, in 1997 and 1998. This was a time when there was a need to fill the market gap between the high end Mercedes S class or Jaguar MKX and low end C class or MKII respectively. The Mercedes E Class and Jaguar S Type were positioned as alternative choices rather than a replacement of the higher or lower end models.

The Jaguar S Type’s smaller 3.0 litre engine has a double overhead camshaft (DOHC) Ford Duratec engine with two position variable camshaft timing and sequential fuel injection while the Mercedes’ bigger 3.2 litre has a single overhead camshaft (SOHC) with multi point fuel injection. The Jaguar’s DOHC 3.0L engine has 24 valves while the SOHC configuration limits the Mercedes 3.2 litre to 16 valves. This gives the Jaguar a better peak engine power output and fuel economy at higher revolutions, while the Mercedes has better torque and fuel economy at lower revolutions. In performance terms the Jaguar will take off slightly faster, but the Mercedes has better power to weight ratios in essence making it more powerful and economical overall.

The Mercedes E320 and the Jaguar S Type 3.0 litre suspension packages give them a better handling than the average saloon car. E320 has front double wishbone with struts and five link rear suspension and stabiliser bars which gives it a good cornering performance. The Electronic stability programme (ESP), Anti locking Brake System (ABS), Traction Control (TC) and rear wheel drive give the E320 driver better control of the engine power when driving sharply around bends or fast takeoffs without skidding or burning rubber on a wet or loose dry surface.

The E320’s good handling is complimented by its body design which has a lower coefficient of drag (dynamic fluid or wind resistance). The S Type is competitive with its longer body and better ground clearance which make it firm and better on some of our bad roads. Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) system constantly adjusts the S Type’s renowned Billstein shock absorbers from a leisurely ride feel to the sport mode for a more aggressive performance drive. Jaguar incorporated a Yaw control system which works together with its All speed Traction Control, rear wheel drive and Anti lock Braking system to keep the car stable, even when the driver is “misbehaving” while driving through sharp bends on the Masaka- Mbarara or Kampala-Hoima highways.

Both the E320 and the S Type give the drivers excellent control of their engine power and torque with the innovative ABS brakes and vented brake discs which cool down faster to allow the pads to stop the car abruptly. The E320 and the S Type post even results in this category.

Safety and comfort
The E320 and S Type provide an equally high level of safety and comfort features. They both provide frontal, overhead and side airbags for all passengers as well as seatbelts with automatic pretensioning systems. ABS brakes, Traction control and passive automated vehicle dynamic stability systems enhance safe driving and control of the vehicles during unexpected emergency or manoeuvring. For both cars side intrusion beams, crample zones and safety “shell” structures ensure integrity of the passengers in the unlikely event of a roll over or side impact.
The E320 and Jaguar S type offer a wide range of deluxe luxury and convenient features. Interior leather trim for the upholstery, steering and shift knob and other features.Reliability, security and resalvalue

The E320 has a better reputation in terms of reliability. There are poor maintenance related complaints such as air flow metre failure, melting rear bulb sockets wearing out of front sway bar drop links or leaking valve cover gasket.
A more serious concern is the low ground clearance of the E320 which makes it vulnerable to damaging the radiator or engine oil pan if one drove over an uneven hump. Jaguar has a more serious reliability track record at mileages as low as 40,000 kilometres. The automatic gearbox and window regulators are said to fail prematurely. Failure of the ignition coils and catalytic converter coupled with leakage of the rear trunk have turned away many Jaguar fans from the S Type.

On the local market the Mercedes has a better maintenance and parts support network of private dealers as well as the main dealer, which the Jaguar does not have. The security of both cars is good as they have an immobiliser and key with transponder key recognised by the car computer.