Jaguar’s second-generation XF Sportbrake makes its debut this year - and the marque aims to take on the German carmakers dominating the executive estate market.
The new Sportbrake is a mid-size estate based on Jaguar’s XF saloon, placing it between the range-topping XK and entry-level XE. As such, it's in the company of the critically acclaimed BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class Estate.
Buyers will be able to choose from a range of four engines: three diesels and a petrol, all of which come with rear-wheel drive. The two most powerful diesel engines can be specced with all-wheel drive systems.
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There’s also a tech-filled cabin and a design partly inspired by the British carmaker’s F-Type sports car - but is it all enough to shake up the status quo in the estate market?
Jaguar has taken most of the XF Sportbrake’s design from the saloon variant, retaining the same front end and low roofline.
Being an estate, the Sportbrake’s roofline extends further back than the saloon model and slightly slopes downwards at the rear, says AutoExpress.
Its tailgate "comes with a foot-operated function" to make opening the boot easier, while buyers can spec a panoramic roof "with a gesture-controlled blind".
The Sportbrake's tail light cluster also differs slightly from the saloon's, with the lights having a rounded style similar to those on the F-Type.
Interior and practicality
Inside, says WhatCar?, the Sportbrake takes many features from the saloon, such as the “retractable rotary gear selector and phosphor blue ambient lighting”.
An "optional gesture-control-operated blind for the panoramic roof add some opulence to the interior”, the site says, but the cabin quality is still “disappointingly far behind” that of its German rivals.
The 8in infotainment system in the centre console and the multifunctional steering wheel are standard fit, says WhatCar?, as is a digital radio and satnav. However, you may want to upgrade to the 10.2in touchscreen system, since the standard equipment “is slow to respond and the graphics are dull”.
Buyers should be “impressed” when they see the Sportbrake’s boot space, says CarBuyer. With all the seats in place, the estate boasts a 565-litre boot - “just five litres smaller” than that in the BMW 5 Series Touring.
And that boot space expands to 1,700 litres when the 40:20:40 rear seats are lowered - matching the maximum space in the 5 Series Touring, but 120 litres less in the Mercedes E-Class Estate.
On the road
Much like the standard XF, says AutoExpress, the Sportbrake has “sharp steering and tight body control”, while the “strong” range of engines from the saloon have been moved over to the estate.
The mid-range model, with its 237bhp 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel motor, “feels pretty much as punchy here as it does in the saloon”, according to the magazine, and the eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox “swaps cogs smoothly”.
Autocar disagrees, claiming that the mid-spec engine “feels at least a second slower” than Jaguar’s claimed 0-62mph time of 6.4 seconds: this means the car has “less-than-spirited overtaking performance”, although its great chassis makes up for the engine’s “shortcomings”.
The Sportbrake is around 115kg heavier than the saloon, says Top Gear, but the extra weight doesn't appear to have a negative impact on the handling.
However, the website's tests revealed the 2.0-litre Ingenium-engined version of the estate has a fuel economy of 39mpg, which isn't particularly impressive.
Nevertheless, the Sportbrake is a “respectably refined car” and competes well with German rivals in what is a very competitive market.
Price and release
Orders for the XF Sportbrake are open now, with Autocar reporting a starting price of around £34,910: that's a £2,610 premium over the saloon model, although it "undercuts the 5 Series Touring by £3,475".
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