Jaguar’s big cat, the XJ sedan, gets a refresh for 2016 that brings updated styling and new tech that includes standard LED headlights, and a redesigned infotainment system.

It’s not a full redesign, but a pretty comprehensive update: outside, the new LED headlights are framed by “J-Blade” daytime running lights, and base models get a new R-Sport designation along with more aggressive bodywork.

What’s new inside might represent the XJ’s biggest step forward. The centrepiece is a new infotainment system called InControl Touch Pro, a touchscreen setup that Jaguar says allows “seamless” connectivity for both Apple and Android devices, plus an available wi-fi hotspot. This replaces the last-generation system which reviewer Jeff Wilson called “woeful” in his review of a 2014 XJ.

The touchscreen uses smartphone tech to allow pinch-to-zoom and swipe functions, which Jag says reduces driver distraction. The XJ’s TFT gauge cluster gets a much needed upgrade, replacing a display that Wilson called gimmicky, and Peter Bleakney thought looked “hazy.” Here you’ll find a “full-screen” navigation display aimed at further minimizing the need for the driver to look away from the road.

2016 Jaguar XJ 3

Jaguar highlights the new nav system’s “commute mode,” which supposedly learns the driver’s commute and can suggest alternate routes to avoid congested roads; an “approach mode” can be used to help find a parking spot near the chosen destination.

New under the hood is electric power steering for RWD models. According to Jag, it was designed to “filter-out steering disturbances from poor road surfaces and compensate for road camber to make the steering feel smoother and more precise than ever,” but rarely has electric assist improved feel compared to a hydraulic power steering setup. We’ll reserve judgement for when we drive the car. More than a mechanical update, this allows the adoption of semi-autonomous parking using ultrasonic sensors to find a suitable parallel parking spot, and guide the car into both streetside and perpendicular spots.

Other new tech includes traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control with “queue assist” (the car will stop and go automatically in heavy traffic), closing vehicle lane-change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.

“All-surface progress control” is designed to improve traction in slippery conditions at speeds up to 30 km/h by handing throttle and braking functions over to the car, leaving the driver to steer. Welcome to one step closer to autonomous vehicles, folks.

XJ’s engines and eight-speed trasmissions are carried over. There’s a 3.0L supercharged V6 (340 hp/332 lb-ft) in R-Sport and Portfolio trims, and a 5.0L supercharged V8 tuned for 470 hp/424 lb-ft in Supercharged trim, and the same V8 cranked up to 550 hp/680 lb-ft in XJR short- and long-wheelbase models.

The 2016 Jaguar XJ goes on sale in Fall 2015, with pricing to be announced closer to that time.

2016 Jaguar XJ 2

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