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Photos: 2009 Jaguar XF

The 2009 Jaguar XF offers a lot of luxury for the money, with many high-tech touches and an exceptional audio system. But it doesn't always deliver on its apparent promise, with a run-of-the-mill suspension and navigation system.

CNET Reviews staff

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Jaguar's long history as a legendary British auto brand underwent many changes in the last decade. Under Ford's stewardship, the brand developed a new exterior style, a drastic change for a car company with models that have used the same basic lines for 40 years. Now, in a bit of reverse-colonialism, Jaguar is owned by Tata, an Indian car company that seems willing to support Jaguar's design ambitions.
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Following the XK, Jaguar's new XF is the second model embodying the new design direction. This car went on the car show circuit as a concept, and kept many of its gee-whiz features in the production version.
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The mesh grille and the badge are the most distinctly historical aspects of the XF. Echoing its new design language, the hold bulges up, while the fenders are less prominent than with traditional Jaguar styling.
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A 4.2-liter V-8 sits under the hood, the same engine found in the Jaguar XK. And like the XK, the XF can also be had in a supercharged version, but still using the same basic engine. Jaguar molds its growling cat onto the engine cover.
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We like the roller switches used for audio and cruise control on the steering wheel. Our car came with adaptive cruise control, so the switch on the far right sets the following distance to the car in front.
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Some of the XF's most innovative features are on the console, with a shift dial that recesses when the car is turned off. When you get into the car, it detects the smart key, and pulses a red backlight behind the engine start button.
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The system gives you a variety of ways to enter a destination. This menu style is also repeated throughout the car's functions.
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The XF includes iPod integration, along with a USB port and auxiliary input, in the console.
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Sirius satellite radio is also an option with the XF. Its interface is a little busy, but works well.
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The six disc in-dash changer also plays MP3 CDs, and uses a simple folder interface for music selection.
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A rearview camera and sonar sensors help out in parking lots.

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