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Used test: BMW 5 Series Touring vs Jaguar XF Sportbrake

If you're after a plush, capable estate car for a reasonable price, look no further than used examples of these two. But which is the better buy?...

BMW 5 Series Touring vs Jaguar XF

The Contenders

BMW 5 Series Touring 520d xDrive M Sport

List price when new £44,075
Price today £23,000*
Available from 2017-present

A class favourite, but the 5 Series Touring's higher price tag works against it here 

Jaguar XF Sportbrake 25d AWD R-Sport

List price when new  £44,600
Price today £20,000*
Available from 2018-present

With more power at its disposal, the XF Sportbrake takes the posh estate car fight to its popular rival

*Price today is based on a 2018 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

A premium badge, plus the luxuries it entails, can be the icing on the cake for a used estate car. It's a sign you haven't fully surrendered to the sensible, affordable and practical side of car ownership – you still know how to treat yourself.  

The BMW 5 Series Touring knows this like the back of its hand. It works as a capable, everyday family car, yet still delivers a sporty driving experience. 

BMW 5 Series Touring front

It's a similar story with the car we're pitching it against here: the Jaguar XF Sportbrake 25d AWD R-Sport. What's more, like the 5 Series Touring (in our test car's 520d xDrive guise), it has a 2.0-litre diesel engine, an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive. 

As five-year-old used buys, each car is available for around £22,000 off new, but which car proves the winning choice? Read on and you'll find out. 

Jaguar XF Sportbrake front


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

As soon as you start up these two rivals, you notice a difference. While the 5 Series’ diesel engine gently stirs into life and thrums away in the background, the XF’s coughs and splutters in a rather more agricultural manner. In fact, refinement is a real strong point for the 5 Series across the board. As well as substantially less engine noise, there’s also less wind and road noise at faster speeds.

New Jaguar XF Sportbrake vs BMW 5 Series Touring

It’s not all about how these cars isolate you from the outside world, though. Both accelerate off the line in similarly grippy fashion, and it’s only in flat-out acceleration that the XF’s extra 50bhp becomes noticeable as it starts to pull away. The 5 Series isn’t remotely sluggish, but overtaking is quicker and easier in the XF.

Both cars use an eight-speed automatic gearbox, but the 5 Series’ is better integrated. Its shifts are smooth and slick, whereas the XF dithers more when pulling out of junctions or on to roundabouts, and generally seems less certain about which gear it should be in.

New Jaguar XF Sportbrake vs BMW 5 Series Touring

The XF has the edge when it comes to handling. Its steering is noticeably sharper and the car feels a bit more agile than the 5 Series, staying more upright through corners. But the 5 Series is still incredibly grippy in the bends, and feels more composed and planted on a motorway. Both cars’ four-wheel-drive systems ensure there’s plenty of traction on snaking roads, even in bad weather.

Both ride well by estate car standards, but the 5 Series Touring is more cosseting, especially with the optional-from-new Variable Damper Control (we recommend looking for a used car with it fitted, but they are quite rare). It takes a pretty big pothole to unsettle the 5 Series. The XF Sportbrake copes with harsh road imperfections slightly better, but the flipside is a firmer, less relaxing ride the rest of the time.