Jaguar XF Sportbrake lifestyle estate oozes class and elegance
Jaguar has finally launched the second-generation XF Sportbrake estate, a handsome lifestyle load-carrier with all the driving appeal of the Big Cat brand, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
Purists may not consider the XF Sportbrake a ‘proper’ Jaguar because it’s an estate car – I suspect they’re in meltdown over three SUVs.
But they’re vehicles Jaguar is building its new lease of life on globally. Known for saloons and sports cars, Jaguar had to come into the real world a few years ago, building new models people want. It’s working – the F-Pace, Jaguar’s first performance crossover, became the fastest-selling model in the company’s history, the smaller E-Pace is also set to be a hit and the I-Pace is Jaguar’s first electric vehicle.
Looks and image
With the new SUVs, I wondered if Jaguar would do a second-generation XF estate which comes two years after the saloon.
It’s one of the most handsome prestige estates, especially with the R-Sport bodykit, with a sloping roofline, strong shoulder line and sleek wraparound LED tail lights making the back end far more elegant than the saloon which looks dumpy by comparison.
Space and comfort
Looking for a roomy executive estate? The Sportbrake measures up with acres of rear legroom, even with tall adults in front, and enough headroom for six-footers with that sloping roof, even if you opt for the huge panoramic sunroof. The seats give good support but, with my short legs, I found the rear cushions rather long.
The Sportbrake is more lifestyle estate than ultimate load-lugger. The 565-litre boot makes up for what it lacks in depth by going back a long way and adjustable securing points on runners along the floor add to its versatility.
The estate’s rear seat backs split 40/20/40 and fold flat with the floor, released via levers in the boot, to transport long, thin items along with two rear passengers. A tyre inflation kit makes space for some underfloor storage.
How it drives
The Sportbrake, unlike the saloon, gets self-levelling air suspension to keep it on an even keel with its larger load-carrying duties.
It still drives like a true Jaguar with a well-balanced agility on twisty roads that belies a big car nearly five metres long.
The ride is even more impressive, despite 20in wheels instead of standard 18in ones. It’s firm enough to let you know what’s going on beneath the wheels but won’t shake your fillings out although there’s noticeable tyre roar on corrugated motorway surfaces. Adaptive dynamic damping is optional.
Under the bonnet
Plenty of choice with Ingenium family 2.0-litre turbo units – 250 and 300PS petrol and 163PS, 180PS and 240PS diesel – plus a 300PS 3.0-litre V6 diesel. All-wheel drive is available and eight-speed automatic standard on all but the 163PS diesel.
The test car came with the twin-turbo 240PS version, with all-wheel drive, which adds to its attraction as a tow car. It’s gruff when cold or worked hard, and hesitates slightly when you put your foot down and, while making light work of overtaking, acceleration doesn’t feel as quick as the figures suggest. Real-world MPG was 37 running around and 43 on a run.
At the wheel
It’s easy to get comfortable and ‘virtual’ instruments can be configured to the driver’s needs and with different styles – you can even have the display dominated by the sat-nav map.
The infotainment system is simple to use and works all right but is not the quickest to react.
The interior looks classy with some nice touches such as twin row stitching on the dashboard, picked up on the doors and seats.
Estate cars fit mine and my wife’s lifestyle. Even better, should the opportunity ever arise, the XF Sportbrake fits our garage… just.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Jaguar XF Sportbrake 2.0 25d 240PS R-Sport, AWD, £46,210 (range from £36,545)
Engine: 1,999cc, 240PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel with eight-speed automatic gearbox
Performance: 0-60mph 6.7 seconds; top speed 150mph
MPG: Urban 37.7; extra urban 58.9; combined 48.7
CO2 emissions: 153g/km
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 34pc
Insurance group: 34 (out of 50)
Warranty: Three year, unlimited mileage
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,955mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,091mm; H 1,496mm