Jaguar XF Sport­brake 25t

FIRST DRIVE We try petrol turbo ver­sion of exec es­tate

Auto Express - - New Cars - Steve Sut­cliffe mail@ au­toex­

THE sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion XF Sport­brake is with­out ques­tion a bet­ter car than the orig­i­nal. We dis­cov­ered that dur­ing our first drive of the diesel (Is­sue 1,489) – but is the pow­er­ful petrol turbo even bet­ter?

It has 247bhp and 365Nm, and in R-sport guise costs £42,435. But while de­cently re­fined, the 25t mo­tor doesn’t feel as smooth or ef­fort­less as the diesel. The bare fig­ures seem im­pres­sive enough, with a 6.6-sec­ond 0-62mph time, but be­cause you have to work the petrol en­gine that much harder to ac­cess the torque, you must rev it higher – and that in­cites more noise from the harsh-sound­ing unit. As a re­sult, you’ll strug­gle to match the XF’S claimed 41.5mpg. The eight-speed box is ex­cel­lent, al­though throt­tle re­sponse is a lit­tle dull – even with Sport mode se­lected.

All Sport­brakes come with self-lev­el­ling rear air sus­pen­sion, which of­fers fine body con­trol but also a typ­i­cally sooth­ing, Jaguar­like ride qual­ity. The re­vised rear-drive chas­sis is great and the steer­ing sweet.

The kit count is gen­uinely im­pres­sive, too. All cars from the en­try-level Pres­tige to the range-top­ping First Edi­tion boast cli­mate con­trol, sat-nav and a pow­ered tail­gate, while top-spec mod­els fea­ture key­less en­try and spe­cial Wind­sor leather trim.

The R-sport as tested here prob­a­bly of­fers the best spec com­pro­mise, with bet­ter, sportier seats, more ag­gres­sive bumpers and xenon lights all fit­ted as stan­dard.

How­ever, as with any es­tate, the most im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion with the Sport­brake is the space it pro­vides – and here the petrol is just as prac­ti­cal as the diesel. The XF has a 565-litre boot with the seats in place, and 1,700 litres when the rear bench is folded flat. These num­bers mean the Jaguar matches its BMW 5 Se­ries Tour­ing arch ri­val for out­right space, al­though the Mercedes E-class’s load area is a touch big­ger.

Need to KNOW XF sa­loon comes with a choice of petrol en­gines, but 25t is only op­tion on Sport­brake

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