Grace, space and pace – if you're familiar with Jaguar's marketing material, these are the qualities the brand has tried to offer throughout its 95-year history. And, until the arrival of the F-Pace large SUV last year, no modern Jaguar filled that brief as well as the XF Sportbrake.
A silly name for estate, it was targetted at keen drivers who wanted more space than the regular XF saloon and was fairly well received when it was first launched in 2012, but the BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class Estate of the time still offered a better all-round package. Now Jaguar is back to have another go.
What's new on the Jaguar XF Sportbrake?
This new XF Sportbrake is, like the original, based on the XF saloon, and that means driver engagement and handling prowess will be at the top of its agenda.
Its main styling change over the saloon is, of course, that extended rear end, which allows for 565 litres of storage space – easily enough for some holiday luggage or bulky shopping, but still lagging behind the BMW and Mercedes. With its rear seats folded down, that space extends to 1700 litres – matching the 5 Series Touring.
What engines can I choose from in the Jaguar XF Sportbrake?
From the outset, buyers will have a range of five engines to choose from, with the bulk of the range given over to diesel. There's Jaguar's now familiar 2.0-litre diesel unit offered in three states of tune – 161bhp, 178bhp or 237bhp – as well as a 3.0-litre V6 diesel with 296bhp.
Drivers wanting petrol power have only one choice: a 2.0-litre engine with 247bhp.
Most of those engines come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard, while a six-speed manual is offered on the entry-level diesel engine. Four-wheel drive is also available on most of the engine range.
Just as with the XF saloon, the mid-range 178bhp diesel engine is likely to be our recommended choice in the Sportbrake, because we've found it to offer strong performance without sacrificing much in the way of CO2 emissions or fuel economy. Indeed, in the XF Sportbrake, this engine emits 120g/km of CO2 while returning a claimed 61.6mpg.
What equipment does the Jaguar XF Sportbrake come with?
Jaguar will offer the XF Sportbrake in the same Prestige, Portfolio, R-Sport and S trim levels as it does with the XF saloon.
New features include a hands-free tailgate – where drivers wave their foot under the rear bumper to open and close the boot – an improved towing capacity of up to 2000kg and Jaguar's so-called Activity Key, which replaces the traditional key with a waterproof wristband worn by the driver.
Inside, Jaguar's InControl Touch infotainment system comes as standard, and is displayed on an 8.0in touchscreen. Just as we recommend in the XF, though, it'll be worth looking at the larger 10.2in InControl Touch Pro system, which we've found to be much faster to react and more intuitive to use.
The XF Sportbrake's safety kit includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane keeping assistance, as well as a driver condition and blind spot monitor, and adaptive cruise control. Jaguar's extensive options list includes roof rails and a roof box, as well as a cycle rack and a range of boot liners.
How much will the Jaguar XF Sportbrake cost?
Order books for the XF Sportbrake are open now, with the first cars expected to reach customers in October. Prices start from £34,910, making the estate less than £2500 more expensive than the XF saloon. At that price, the XF Sportbrake is also significantly cheaper than both of its key rivals – the E-Class Estate is priced from £37,205 while the 5 Series Touring will cost you £38,385.
PCP finance deals will be crucial to the XF Sportbrake's success, and the new estate should cost only slightly more per month than the XF saloon, which can currently be had for around £340 per month. By contrast, the 5 Series Touring costs around £450 on a PCP deal, while the E-Class estate will cost you around £345 per month.
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