Jaguar's entry-level X-type model has finally been given an automatic transmission option for its 2.2-litre diesel engine along with exterior and interior updates requiring "nearly 500 new components", according to the Ford-owned luxury car maker.

Global marketing director CJ O'Donnell said: "The package of revisions - particularly the automatic transmission in the 2.2 diesel - presents our established dealers and the key emerging markets with an excellent opportunity to reach new customers and retain existing owners."

The 2008 update pairs the 2.2 litre turbodiesel - sourced from Ford's joint venture with PSA - with a six-speed automatic, and one-touch sequential shift control and brings the UK automaker into line with German rivals - Mercedes, BMW and Audi - who have long offered diesel-auto combinations. One remaining hold-out is the Lexus IS diesel, which is still manual-only.

Subtle changes include a new grille and front bumper plus detail interior trim and equipment revisions.

The updated model goes on sale in the UK next March and reaches other European markets in April.