Think Jaguar, and the image that most likely jumps to the fore of your mind would likely contain a mix of long, languorous coupes, London in the roaring '60s and the automotive embodiment of Justin Timberlake's favourite nocturnal activity.
Well, the team at Jaguar Australia is trying to add affordable, four-cylinder, diesel and sensible to that list, with the launch of the new 2.2-litre diesel version of the upgraded XF sedan.
The face-lifted sedan boasts a new front end, with projector headlights that are both slim and lacking the stunned mullet expression of yore. Just as importantly, the new 2.2-litre diesel starts at AU$78,990 and boasts an official fuel economy rating of 5.4L/100km.
On the tech front, the interior now boasts a 7-inch colour touchscreen driving the entertainment, climate control and various other car systems. Navigation and a 30GB hard disk capable of storing ripped CDs are standard on all XFs except for the base-level diesel Luxury, where it's an AU$2495 option.
You do, however, get a quick and smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic, xenon headlights, LED tail lights, 17-inch alloys, keyless entry and start, an electric driver's seat, rear-parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, automatic engine start-stop, a leather dashboard and a 400W sound system with USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
The rather extensive options list includes blind-spot monitoring, reversing camera, heated and cooled seats and steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, voice control and alloy wheels up to 20 inches in diameter. A top-shelf 1200W 17-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system is also lurking there, temptingly.
So, what's this new four-cylinder Jag like? Well, after a rather extensive, 300-plus kilometre driving loop, very good indeed. The car rides and handles like a Jaguar should: smoothly, yet engagingly. And the 140kW/450Nm diesel engine is refined and powerful enough so that it's all too easy to forget that there are only four cylinders under the hood.
The entertainment and nav system seems to have been lifted straight out of the wonderful Jaguar XJ, but it's a shame that the trick Dual View screen didn't make the transition. Unfortunately, at the launch event in rural NSW, there wasn't much of a chance to test out the new engine start-stop system, which Jaguar claims does away with much of the hesitation and jerky starts that we've suffered in other manufacturers' implementations.