The interior layout, fit and finish
It’s easy to get comfortable behind the wheel of the Jaguar XF Sportbrake. Even entry-level R-Dynamic S-grade models get heated 12-way, electrically adjustable front seats (with adjustable lumbar support).
Stepping-up to an SE or R-Dynamic HSE trim gets you 16-way electric seats with a memory function, which lets you save your preferred seat settings and recall them at the touch of a button.
In terms of visibility, seeing out of the front of the XF Sportbrake is easy enough: its thin windscreen pillars mean very little is obscured at junctions. That said, when you look over your shoulder while reversing, you’ll find the steeply raked rear pillars and relatively small rear screen make seeing obstacles trickier than it would be in, for example, a BMW 5 Series Touring or Mercedes E-Class Estate.
Thankfully, all XF Sportbrakes come with front and rear parking sensors and a 360deg camera, while LED headlights are standard on every version. Stepping up to SE or R-Dynamic SE trim also gets you an automatic main beam function, while Pixel LED lights are available as an option. Those can stay set to main beam even when you don’t have the road to yourself by shaping their light output to avoid dazzling other road users.
One area of the XF Sportbrake’s interior that looks particularly impressive is the Pivi Pro infotainment system. Its convex display helps it to blend into the dashboard neatly. It’s not just there to look pretty, though. It comes packed with loads of functionality, including live sat-nav, cellular internet, over-the-air updates and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration.
R-Dynamic S-grade Sportbrakes get clear analogue dials as standard, but if you go for an SE model or above (or tick an option box) for Jaguar’s Interactive Driver Display, they are replaced by digital dials on a 12.3in screen. These put a wealth of useful information just below your sightline and make the optional head-up display a worthwhile extra rather than an absolute must.
The rest of the dashboard is well laid out and easy to get the hang of, with physical buttons for the climate control and media volume. That’s not the case with the Audi A6 Avant, which uses a touchscreen for the climate controls. While that looks great, it's distracting to use while driving.
The standard 180W sound system is perfectly acceptable, but music lovers can pick from two upgrade options: a 400W Meridian Sound System with 12 speakers (standard on R-Dynamic HSE models) or a more powerful version of the same system with a 600W and 16 speakers. So far we’ve only sampled the former and it is utterly fantastic, with weighty bass notes balanced by crisp, precisely drawn highs.
As we mentioned earlier, as part of its latest update, the Jaguar XF Sportbrake interior was overhauled with a big focus on improving material quality. Some things did improve. The buttons feel nicely damped and there are now denser-feeling plastics throughout the interior.
It is a shame, though, that the hide used on the leather seats still doesn’t feel particularly plush or expensive, while the fake plastic metal-effect trim in our test car looked cheap compared with what you get in an A6 or 5-Series. Granted, it does edge the E-Class for interior quality, but it’s a close-run thing.
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