The XF may be the most engaging offering in a segment overflowing with excellent choices. It starts with a throaty V-8, which comes in three basic flavors best summed up as fast (385 hp), faster (470 hp), and "ohmigosh" fast (510 hp). Even in its brawniest R guise, however, the XF remains refined and luxurious thanks to its sublime ride as well as its plush, modern interior. In any form, it steers and handles like a much smaller car, and yet it rides better than many of its competitors. But as enthralling as this car is to drive, the XF falls short in some areas. Finicky controls, a frustrating infotainment system, and less-than-perfect quality marred our yearlong test of an XF back in 2009. Jaguar says it has since fixed the car's early teething issues, namely, by strengthening the failure-prone rear differential. A 2012 update addresses some of our other complaints. We've not yet had a chance to see if the revised touch-screen interface is quicker, but the additional physical buttons mean you no longer have to sift through several on-screen menus to turn on your seat heater. The exterior, which had looked a bit timid and generic, now wears a face similar to that of the larger XJ, and the racy XFR enjoys more visual distinction.
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