Geneva 2012: Jaguar XF Sportbrake
The XF Sportbrake gives Jaguar a much-needed rival to cars such as the Audi A6 Avant, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. It’s an estate version of the XF saloon, with a bias towards style rather than outright practicality.
See also: All Geneva motor show 2012 news
The XF Sportbrake offers 550 litres of boot space with the seats up and up to 1675 litres when the seats are folded, which is more than you get in an Audi A6 Avant or a BMW 5 Series Touring.
We inspected the XF Sportbrake at an exclusive preview and can confirm the boot is a good, square shape, with no awkward load lip to heave luggage over. Levers inside the opening let you drop the rear seats without having to walk around to the side of the car.
Unlike the seats in its German rivals, the Sportbrake’s lie completely flat when folded. It's just a pity the boot is a little shallow when the seats are up and the load cover is in place.
Five key facts
It's the second estate in Jaguar’s history, after the X-type
There are 2.2 and 3.0 diesel engines
Standard self-levelling rear suspension
Optional powered tailgate
Rear seats fold flat
Aside from its more practical rear end – and a slight increase in rear headroom, due to its flatter roofline – the Sportbrake is much like the saloon on the inside. That means there’s space for four six-footers, and numerous smart touches, including electrically opening air vents and a disc-shaped gear selector that rises out of the centre console.
The news isn’t all good, though, because some of the plastics feel a little cheap compared with those in the A6 and 5 Series, and the touch-screen infotainment system is fiddly to use.
In saloon form, the XF is one of the best executive cars to drive, and the Sportbrake promises to be every bit as good because Jaguar claims that it matches the saloon’s aerodynamics and body rigidity.
In addition, Jaguar has swapped the saloon’s conventional rear suspension for air suspension that ensures the car remains level – even when it’s heavily loaded.
Sportbrake buyers will be able to choose between 2.2-litre four-cylinder and 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engines, but Jaguar says it has no plans to offer a high performance XFR V8 petrol model.
What it will offer is an Aero Pack that brings a rear spoiler, deeper bumpers and beefed up sills, and a Black Pack that replaces the exterior chrome with gloss black trim and pairs this with similarly finished alloys.
Jaguar is yet to confirm prices, but we’d expect a Sportbrake to cost around £2000 more than the equivalent XF saloon. That means a likely starting point of around £33,000, which is in line with its key rivals.
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