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The 2016 Jaguar XJ facelift has just been unveiled sporting modest updates, with which the British carmaker hopes will keep its largest cat competitive against the all-new G11/G12 BMW 7 Series and W222 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Changes aren’t all that noticeable to the untrained eye, but Jag aficionados will spot a quite a few upgrades inside and out.

First, the new exterior. The already-distinctive XJ now looks even more unique with a larger, sharper front grille and the addition of full LED headlights with twin “J-Blade signature” daytime running lights. Tail lights with updated “J-signature” graphics plus a reshaped bumper with oval exhaust pipes complete the makeover.

New to the lineup is a range-topping Autobiography variant – available only on long-wheelbase models – which adds on chrome air intake highlights and 20-inch Mataiva/Maroa wheels. Inside, it gets a unique Autobiography Intaglio, quilted leather seats with contrast stitching, leather headliner, rich oak trim and illuminated door sills, air vents and boot finisher.

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Equally new is an R-Sport trim – essentially Jag’s version of BMW, Merc and Audi’s M Sport, AMG Line and S line, respectively. A three-piece front splitter, gloss-black grille, deeper side sills, rear spoiler, and 20-inch Venom wheels are included in the pack, as are variant-specific sports seats, steering wheel, door sills, Jet headliner and piano black interior trim.

Lesser variants get an upgrade over the existing packages. The current Portfolio trim is now standard on the Premium Luxury model, while the new XJ Portfolio pack gains quilted leather seats with diamond stitching, embossed headrests and figured ebony veneer.

While the dashboard looks virtually unchanged, the on-board infotainment system gets a massive improvement. New is the InControl Touch Pro system, built around a quad-core Intel processor and a 60 GB solid-state drive. The eight-inch touchscreen features a reworked smartphone-like interface, natural speech recognition and an improved version of the Dual View technology (brighter, sharper images).

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A brand new addition is a door-to-door navigation function, with route planning and guidance options when used with a companion app. On the move, the XJ’s full-LCD instrument cluster can now turn into a full-screen navigation display. Four audio systems are offered, including the top-of-the-line 17-channel, 26-speaker, 1,300 W Meridian Digital Reference package.

There are minimal changes under the hood, with the only notable upgrade being a more powerful 3.0 litre turbodiesel engine. Output figures are up from 275 PS/600 Nm to 300 PS/700 Nm, with improved responsiveness, efficiency and emissions. It gets from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.2 seconds, through a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.

The petrol options stay as before: a 2.0 litre turbo four with 240 PS/340 Nm (0-100 km/h in 7.9 secs), 3.0 litre supercharged V6 with 340 PS/450 Nm – in rear- (5.9 secs) or all-wheel drive (6.4 secs) forms – topping out with a 5.0 supercharged V8 in 470 PS/575 Nm (5.2 secs), 510 PS/625 Nm (4.9 secs) or 550 PS/680 Nm (4.6 secs) guises. All engines variants are connected to ZF’s 8HP70 eight speeder, with the exception of the RWD 3.0 V6, which gets a lighter 8HP45 unit.

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Also new to the fold is an electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) system, replacing the outgoing car’s hydraulic setup, which Jaguar claims have reached the limit of its potential. The new EPAS improves responsiveness and driver feedback, says Jaguar, while being smoother and more precise than ever. Fuel consumption drops by as much as three percent by adopting the new system.

On the driver assistance front, the updated XJ benefits from JLR’s All-Surface Progress Control (ASPC) technology, already made available on the latest XE and XF. It’s designed to help drivers to pull away smoothly on very low friction surfaces. Also new on the tech list are Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist, Closing Vehicle Sensing, Reverse Traffic Detection and semi-autonomous park-assist functions for both bay and parallel parking.

That’s about it for this facelift. Is it enough for the 2016 Jaguar XJ to take on its super high-tech rivals? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.