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This is the new Jaguar XF, unveiled today in the traditional surrounds of, um, a high-wire over the River Thames.

We’re not, in truth, exactly sure why the second generation of Jag’s 5-Series-battling saloon was unveiled on a high-wire over the River Thames. Something, we assume, to do with highlighting the MkII XF’s new, lighter, even-more-aluminium-intensive structure, rather than a pitch for a new rival to the Emirates Air Line.

For the new big brother to the new XE is light indeed. Employing 75 per cent aluminium in its construction, Jag has managed to shave up to 190kg from the kerbweight of the outgoing XF, while improving torsional stiffness too.

The second-gen XF is fraction shorter and lower than its predecessor, and slippier too: Jag claims a drag coefficient of just 0.26, and a kerbweight 80kg below anything else in its class.

It’ll be frugal, too. The new XF gets its pick of JLR’s ‘Ingenium’ range of modular diesel engines, launching with a pair of 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbos of 161bhp and 178bhp outputs. Equipped with the standard six-speed manual - there’s an eight-speed auto available, too - it’ll officially return over 70mpg, and CO2 emissions of 104g/km, which Jag reckons is a class-leading figure for a non-hybrid.

There’s a revised version of JLR’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel, too, here making 376bhp and a stonking 516lb ft of torque.

The black-pump averse get the choice of three petrol options: a two-litre turbo four making 237bhp, and Jag’s familiar 3.0-litre supercharged V6 in 335bhp and 375bhp flavours.

No screaming supercharged V8 for now, but you’d be a fool to bet against it making an appearance at some juncture.

As before, the XF is rear-drive as standard, but as the updated F-Type, it’ll be available - in some markets at least - with four-wheel drive. Also as the F-Type, you can have the XF with adaptive damping and Jag’s ‘Configurable Dynamics’ package.

Jaguar heralds the XF as the ‘most advanced’ car it has ever offered, highlighting its 10.2-inch touchscreen and serious processing power. Here’s hoping its infotainment arrangement moves the game along for JLR, as it’s a department in which the Brit firm has fallen behind its German rivals in recent years.

No word on prices yet, but expect them to remain similar to the outgoing car, with the base diesel starting around £30,000. The XF will be manufactured at JLR’s Castle Bromwich facility, with the first cars landing this autumn.

We’ll bring you more at its land-based unveil at the New York show next week. Reckon this has what it takes to mix it with the 5-Series and E-Class, not to mention the Audi A6, Passat, Lexus GS, Infiniti Q70, etc, etc, etc?

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