Jaguar XF Sportbrake 25t
FIRST DRIVE We try petrol turbo version of exec estate
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.