Feature

Used test: Audi A6 Avant vs BMW 5 Series Touring vs Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Any of these luxurious used estates will cost you less than the cheapest new Ford Focus, yet all offer handsome looks, opulent interiors and space to spare

Words ByAlex Robbins

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Three luxury estates together

Our Verdict

If your heart’s ruling your head, don’t be surprised if you end up with a Jaguar XF Sportbrake on your drive. The XF is the most appealing car here, whether in terms of its stylish exterior, its spangly interior, or the way it involves you in the driving experience like no other estate car.

The problem is, it doesn’t quite deliver the feeling of luxury it promises, thanks to some disappointingly cheap-feeling interior fittings. Added to that, the numbers just don’t stack up; the XF just isn’t that cheap to buy, and its relatively inefficient engine means the hits to your wallet will just keep on coming. As a result, it has to finish last.

The Audi A6 Avant is just as expensive to buy as the XF, but at least it feels like the pricier car from the driver’s seat, thanks to a beautifully finished interior with some lovely materials. Its engine, too, feels classier than the Jaguar’s rather rattly 2.2-litre unit.

But as fine a car as the A6 is in its own right, it isn’t the best car here. That steep rear screen makes it less capable of swallowing bulkier loads, while the Multitronic automatic gearbox is disappointingly sluggish in use. The Audi also rides a touch too firmly at low speeds, and unlike the Jaguar XF, it doesn’t quite have the handling panache to make up for it.

So, in the final reckoning, the Audi has to lose out to the BMW 5 Series. It’s better to drive than its German rival, even without the optional variable dampers, not to mention more comfortable. What’s more, it’s gearbox is snappier, it’s even quieter on the move, it’s the cheapest car here both to buy and to run, and it has a vast boot.

True, it doesn’t have an interior as classy as the Audi’s – though it really isn’t far off – and nor does it have an exterior as stylish as the Jaguar’s – though again, the BMW’s still a handsome car. But there really is very little else to dislike about the 5 Series Touring. And what with everything it offers, it takes an easy victory here. Still want that Focus?

Read our review of the all-new BMW 5 Series

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Also consider:


1st – BMW 5 Series Touring

For Luxurious and practical interior; quiet and smooth; great economy

Against Variable Damper Control makes this car, and it’s rare

Verdict A classy and versatile luxury estate that offers a superb blend of performance, isolation, and low running costs

Rated 5 out of 5

Read the full used BMW 5 Series Touring review

Find a used BMW 5 Series Touring for sale in the What Car? Classifieds


2nd – Audi A6 Avant

For Beautifully crafted interior; strong, smooth and economical V6 engine

Against Sluggish Multitronic gearbox; firm low-speed ride; steeply angled rear screen

Verdict It can’t match the BMW’s brilliance, but the A6 Avant is still mighty impressive

Rated 4 out of 5

Read the full Audi A6 Avant review

Find a used Audi A6 Avant for sale in the What Car? Classifieds


3rd – Jaguar XF Sportbrake

For Great to drive; well equipped; good at suppressing wind and road noise

Against Shallow boot; disappointing interior quality; expensive to buy

Verdict Looks great, drives even better, but it doesn’t feel high-quality inside – and it’s pricey

Rated 4 out of 5

Read the full used Jaguar XF review

Find a used Jaguar XF for sale in the What Car? Classifieds


Specifications: BMW 520d Touring SE auto

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

List price when new Β£34,080

Price today Β£16,000

Power 181bhp

Torque 280lb ft

0-60mph 8.4sec

Top speed 130mph

Fuel economy 57.6mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 129g/km


Specifications: Audi A6 Avant 3.0 TDI 204 SE Multitronic

Engine size 3.0-litre diesel

List price when new Β£38,085

Price today Β£17,000

Power 201bhp

Torque 295lb ft

0-60mph 7.8sec

Top speed 135mph

Fuel economy 54.3mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 136g/km


Specifications: Jaguar XF Sportbrake 2.2D 200 Luxury

Engine size 2.2-litre diesel

List price when new Β£36,440

Price today Β£17,000

Power 197bhp

Torque 332lb ft

0-60mph 8.7sec

Top speed 129mph

Fuel economy 52.0mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 135g/km

Price today is based on a 2012 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

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