Timely cat

Not just a pretty new face, the updated XF features a lower asking price, upgraded tech and a new thrifty diesel engine.

Three years on since the car's debut, the XF has been given a facelift. Key improvements include a better-looking front end, a new engine, a lower starting price and a cabin tech package worthy of a 2011 luxury car.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET

Cat's eyes

The most important visual change to the car involves the replacement of the old bug-eyed headlights. The new units are slimmer, more aggressive and substantially better looking. Just as important, they feature LED driving lights and xenon main beams.

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Heart transplant

Complementing the returning V6 and V8 engines is a new a 140kW/450Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine.

Photo by: Jaguar

Value cat

Thanks to the new engine, the price of entry into the XF range drops to AU$78,990.

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Stop, start, stop, start

Coupled with the new 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine (and only that engine) is an automatic stop-start mechanism that shuts the engine down within 300ms when you come to a complete stop and starts it back up again as you lift off the brake pedal. The primary battery (under the bonnet) is specifically for the engine starter, while the secondary battery (pictured) powers the car's audio, lights and other auxiliary functions.

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Intelligent stop start

Smarts built into the engine and transmission aim to eliminate the clunkiness in other manufacturers' stop-start systems. It even tries to anticipate when a driver is changing his/her mind; for example, braking almost to a complete stop and then stepping on the gas again.

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Time to count

The XF has an eight-speed (yes, you read right) automatic transmission. There are shift paddles behind the steering wheel, but even in enthusiastic driving around tight corners, the gearbox does a pretty good job of figuring out what gear you should be in.

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Changes to the interior are a lot more subtle. Owners of the previous XF will notice less-glossy chrome and, therefore, fewer annoying reflections whilst driving.

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Trickle-down tech

One significant upgrade to the cabin comes in the form of an upgraded entertainment and nav package. Largely lifted from the more expensive XJ, the new system features a 7-inch touchscreen. Unfortunately, no amount of money will bring the XJ's trick dual-view screen to the XF.

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Music options

The new XF goes beyond what's expected of a 2011 model in offering two USB ports and an auxiliary jack as standard. Every XF, except the entry-level one, comes with satellite navigation and a 30GB hard disk for storing ripped audio CDs.

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At your command

Also standard is Bluetooth for hands-free and audio streaming, as well as voice control.

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A mighty roar

The base sound system features eight speakers and 400W of output. The next step up is a 600W, 14-speaker layout. Buyers who want the best for their Jag (and their ears) can pony up for a 1200W Bowers & Wilkins system that utilises 17 speakers.

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Colour me pink

A new full-colour screen is nestled in between the speedo and the tacho, and displays the trip computer, transmission data and other essential info.

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Watch out!

Amongst the optional safety equipment is a radar-based blind-spot monitoring system. The amber light turns red whenever it detects a vehicle in your over-the-shoulder blind spot.

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Air time

Climate control air conditioning is standard on all XFs, but you'll have to pay extra for heated and cooled seats.

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Cat's grip

The front seats have been reshaped to grip drivers and passengers more tightly.

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Miranda act

Space in the back is decent, but, if you're nearing six feet in height, head room might be a bit tight.

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Look at moiye

Slightly redesigned tail lights feature cool LED graphics.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET

Want more?

Despite the 2.2-litre diesel only having four cylinders, there's plenty of performance to be had, both in town and on a highway. If, however, enough power just doesn't cut it, there's always the 375kW/461Nm range-topping XFR.

Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET
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