The 2011 Jaguar XF continues on with the same exterior as before, however. It's an instant classic, with all the catlike cues and curves that should have been in Jaguar's styling notebook for the past decade. There still are mesh grilles and classic proportions, but you almost expect to see the Jaguar XF in an Infiniti showroom with its softly sculptured roofline, faceted hood, and smartly irregular headlamps. From the back, it's as close to an Aston Martin as any sedan comes (apart from Aston's own Rapide). XFR sedans get stronger chins, four tailpipes, and bigger wheels, along with a new black grille.
If possible, the XF's cabin delights drivers even more than the exterior. It seems to have been lifted from the front desk at a chic London hotel. There's aluminum and wood trim, to be sure—burl walnut trim is now standard—as well as a groovy puck-shaped shifter knob that rises to attention when the ignition button's pressed (and reminds us of high-end audio systems. At the same time, vents roll open to life, and ambient lighting begins to glow. Jaguar considers it the car's "heartbeat," and it's a clever wake-up call to the reinvigorated design all around.