Brak­ing the mould...

Rochdale Observer - - TIME-TRIP FAITH NEWS -

HE Jaguar XF Sport­brake is a car on a mis­sion.

Su­per-sleek and hugely prac­ti­cal, it is out to prove es­tate cars can be a match for SUVs. With a load ca­pac­ity rang­ing from 565 to 1,700 litres the new XF Sport­brake is al­most in the same load-lug­ging league as Jaguar’s top-sell­ing F-PACE. And just like its SUV sib­ling, the new XF es­tate can be had with all-wheeldrive which with the aid of some clever elec­tron­ics give it plenty of sticky sur­face trac­tion.

In fact Jaguar has dubbed its lat­est cre­ation as the ‘ul­ti­mate sports holdall’ and one which can carry no less than 27,800 golf balls, 664 bike hel­mets, 215 rugby balls or 194 pairs of train­ers.

In the ex­ec­u­tive es­tate mar­ket the new Jaguar is on a par with any­thing from BMW, Audi or Volvo and only the Mercedes E-Class can beat it when it comes to lug­gage space.

We have just been putting a top-but-one grade XF Sport­brake R-Sport 25d AWD through its paces which is pow­ered by JLR’s lat­est 240ps 2.0-litre diesel en­gine.

From the nose to the back of the front seats the Sport­brake is the same as the XF saloon.

It’s from the door pil­lars back­wards where the changes kick in and the sleek, slop­ing roofline cre­ates a de­light­ful pro­file.

The bul­let-shaped looks make the Sport­brake ap­pear big­ger than the XF saloon but apart from an ex­tra two inches of head­room in the rear the length is the same at 16ft 3ins.

The real dif­fer­ence is air sus­pen­sion which smooths the ride in splen­did fash­ion and the Sport­brake feels nicely planted on the road – a proper sporty drive and very sure footed thanks to the all-wheel-drive giv­ing more grip than the con­ven­tional rear-wheel set up.

A multi-mode drive sys­tem al­ters throt­tle and damp­ing from sport to eco set­tings and al­though an es­tate it drives like a Jaguar should.

On the road, noise sup­pres­sion is good and the car is ex­cep­tion­ally well ap­pointed with leather uphol­stery through­out and metal in­serts in the trim.

Ges­ture con­trol for the sun blind over the glass roof – and it’s the big­gest going at 1.6 square me­tres – was a bit of a gim­mick but hands­free op­er­a­tion of the tail­gate is es­sen­tial these days and it’s a stan­dard fea­ture on all mod­els.

And to em­pha­sise the sporty side of the Sport­brake, the car is also avail­able with JLR’s Ac­tiv­ity Key – a weath­er­proof wrist­band which can be used to lock the car while you’re out jog­ging or surf­ing where car­ry­ing the keys is not so wise.

As an al­ter­na­tive to an SUV the XF Sport­brake has much to com­mend it, do­ing the heavy work in quite lux­u­ri­ous fash­ion and with­out com­pro­mise.

It looks stun­ning, per­forms with­out is­sue and is packed with sta­tus.

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