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British luxury brand Jaguar has once again chosen Spain’s Navarra region, encompassing the bull-running city of Pamplona, to launch its latest creation, the 2016 Jaguar XF.

It’s only two months on since the Tata-owned, UK-based carmaker launched the XE – a BMW 3 Series-size rival and arguably the company’s most important car in decades.

Now it’s the XF’s turn to step into the ring against the might of the German automotive empire, at least in the large car class; namely, the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

The new Jaguar XF is only the second generation of the model, and arrives in Australia in November – eight years after the original launched in 2007.

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It’s based on the same lightweight aluminium architecture that underpins the smaller XE, as well as Jaguar’s upcoming SUV, the F-Pace, which will be shown in production form for the first time at this year’s Frankfurt motor show in September.

As a result, the new car is lighter – by up to 190kg – and stiffer by 28 per cent, allowing for better dynamics and ride control, according to Jaguar. It’s also more aerodynamic, with a Cd of just 0.26 (down from 0.29).

Although shorter in length than the old version, the latest XF rides on a longer wheelbase, which is said to improve ride comfort as well as provide considerably more rear-seat passenger space. Importantly, those spatial improvements haven’t impacted rear headroom, nor have they affected the car’s coupe-like design, thanks to the rear bench being set lower than on the previous version.

Of the 3194 parts (approximately) that make up the 2016 Jaguar XF, no less than 2669 of those parts are brand new to the car – that’s 83 per cent, according to Ian Hoban, vehicle program director on the new XF.

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Design wise, it’s an all-round tougher look, though not at the expense of the car’s globally lauded elegance. The grille is more upright and according to Jaguar’s director of design, Ian Callum: “The all-new XF is the most visually dynamic car in the business segment”.

The new XF range will be available in four trim levels: XF Prestige, XF R-Sport, XF Portfolio and XF S, although pricing and specification for Australian cars won’t be finalised until closer to the car’s local launch in November.

That said, Jaguar Land Rover Australia general manager of communications and public relations, Tim Krieger, has already confirmed the car’s ‘challenger’ status in this segment, so expect sharp price points along with generous specification levels throughout the entire XF range.

From launch, there will be two petrol and two diesel engines, all Euro 6-compliant, with each mated to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, at least for Australia – European markets will also offer a six-speed manual on some variants.

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The range includes Jaguar’s all-new 132kW/430Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium diesel engine, which replaces the previous 2.2-litre diesel.

Designed and built in-house, it features variable valve timing and reduced friction and noise levels, while claiming 4.3L/100km and CO2 emissions of just 114g/km. It will also hit 100km/h from a standstill in 8.1 seconds, while top speed is 229km/h.

There’s also the latest-generation of Jaguar’s high-output V6 diesel, which despite retaining the same 3.0-litre displacement as before, gets a boost in output from 202kW/600Nm to 221kW/700Nm. Performance is said to be scintillating, with 100km/h coming up in 6.2 seconds, and a top speed of 250km/h. It’s more efficient, too, using 5.5L/100km, while emitting just 144g/km of CO2.

There’s still no Ingenium petrol engine yet (Jaguar says that will come, along with other new versions) so the entry-level petrol engine is the carry-over 177kW/340Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit (also used in the XE) that provides sufficient propulsion for a 0-100km/h sprint in 7.0 seconds flat. Top speed is 248km/h, while fuel consumption is a claimed 7.5L/100m with 179g/km CO2 emissions.

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The high-performance petrol XF S uses the 3.0-litre supercharged engine from Jaguar’s F-Type sports car, but in two states of tune; 250kW and 280kW outputs, both with 450Nm of torque. The latter will accelerate from a standstill to 100km/h in 5.3 seconds, while the other needs 5.4 seconds. Both have a top speed of 250km/h and a claimed fuel consumption of 8.3L/100km (combined).

Standard suspension of the XF is a passive damper system, which Jaguar claims offers exceptional ride quality by introducing an extra valve that reduces damping forces at low speeds. Also offered is adaptive suspension with a range of driving modes including a dynamic setting, which stiffens up the dampers for less pitch and roll.

Optional on all V6 models is Jaguar’s Configurable Dynamics technology, which allows the driver to customise settings for the engine and transmission, dampers and the electric power steering.

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While Jaguar Australia isn’t taking cars with all-wheel drive (it’s available for this market for the first time, as it is on the F-Type), All-Surface Progress Control manages the brakes and throttle to deliver all available traction in adverse conditions at low speeds.

The XF design evolution continues unabated inside, with an all-new look and feel, while at the same time introducing a range of new technologies for a more premium experience.

Taking centre stage is Jaguar’s all-new 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system, dubbed InControl Touch Pro.

A step up from the entry-level 8.0-inch InControl Touch unit seen in the Land Rover Discovery Sport, the ‘Pro’ model makes its debut in the new XF and is being billed as the most advanced system Jaguar has ever designed.

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For starters, there are no buttons. Instead, all the functionality is located at the bottom of the screen.

Just like your smartphone, the home page can be customised with your own wallpaper – or in fact, any number of wallpapers. Users can also use ‘pinch to zoom’ gestures or the reverse, again, just as you would do on a smartphone. The screen itself offers the latest-generation of Jaguar’s dual-view technology; allowing the driver to see the satellite navigation screen while the front passenger watches a movie.

There’s also a 60-gigabyte solid state hard drive that’s used to store mapping data, enabling instant access to a multitude of convenient functions. And with “dead-reckoning” functionality, which interprets on-board vehicle data 40 times a second, the navigation system can accurately position the car, even when GPS signals are lost.

The voice control system also enables a one-shot destination entry for the satnav, or to call a contact. Not only that, the system can also be programmed to advise the location of your appointment, if it calculates that you’re not going to arrive on time.

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Also in the XF’s new kit bag is a customisable 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster featuring four modes, as well as a full-screen mapping display.

The new XF is also available with a raft of active safety kit including an ultra high-resolution laser head-up display that remains clearly visible even while wearing polarised sunglasses. It shows information such as vehicle speed, gear indicator and navigation instructions.

Other high-tech items include full-LED headlamps, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with queue-assist and lane keep-assist, intelligent speed limiter and a semi-automated parking system that is also capable of driving out of a parking spot.

CarAdvice will post a first-drive review (including track test) of the all-new Jaguar XF on Monday morning.




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