BMW 5 Se­ries Tour­ing vs Jaguar XF Sport­brake

What Car? - - Contents - Pho­tog­ra­phy: Will Wil­liams

Jaguar’s sporty new wagon takes on the lux­u­ri­ous class leader

Both of these new es­tates are sporty, prac­ti­cal, tted with a diesel en­gine and four-wheel drive, and cost around £41k. But which is bet­ter? TAKE A STROLL through the Bavar­ian coun­try­side in the depths of Jan­uary and you’ll be trudg­ing over crisp, freshly fallen snow, clutch­ing at your leder­ho­sen and long­ing for a warm­ing Bratwurst.

Trans­port in such con­di­tions doesn’t come much bet­ter than a four-wheel-drive ver­sion of an­other icon of Bavaria, the BMW 5 Se­ries Tour­ing. It’s cur­rently the best premium- badged es­tate car you can buy, thanks to its cos­set­ing ride, cav­ernous boot and tidy han­dling.

But from the mid­dle of an al­to­gether greyer Mid­lands mid­win­ter comes a new ri­val: the Jaguar XF Sport­brake. The Bri­tish brand’s new es­tate ap­pears to have ev­ery chance to take the 5 Se­ries’ crown, with im­pres­sive prac­ti­cal­ity, a pow­er­ful en­gine and, if the XF sa­loon is any­thing to go by, en­ter­tain­ing han­dling.

The 25d ver­sion of the XF we’re test­ing here has four-wheel drive as stan­dard, mak­ing it a great match for the 5 Se­ries xdrive, es­pe­cially since both cars also have 2.0-litre diesel en­gines and au­to­matic gear­boxes as stan­dard.

DRIV­ING Per­for­mance, ride, han­dling, re ne­ment

Start the cars and you’ll im­me­di­ately 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 be­cause, as well as sub­stan­tially less en­gine noise, there’s less wind and road noise at faster speeds.

But it’s not all about how these cars iso­late you from the out­side world. 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 ac­tu­ally em­ploy the same ba­sic eight-speed au­to­matic gear­box, but the 5 Se­ries’ is bet­ter in­te­grated. Its shifts are al­ways smooth and slick, whereas the XF’S dithers more when pulling out of junc­tions or onto round­abouts and gen­er­ally seems less cer­tain about which gear it ought to be in.

The XF has the edge when it comes to han­dling, though. Its steer­ing is no­tice­ably sharper and the car gen­er­ally 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 it feels more com­posed and planted on the mo­tor­way. Both cars’ four­wheel drive systems en­sure there’s plenty of trac­tion on snaking roads, even in bad weather.

Both es­tates ride well by class stan­dards, but the 5 Se­ries is more

cos­set­ing, es­pe­cially when fit­ted with Vari­able Damper Con­trol (£985). It takes a pretty big pot­hole to un­set­tle it. The XF, mean­while, copes with these sort of harsh road im­per­fec­tions slightly bet­ter, but the flip­side is a firmer, less re­lax­ing ride the rest of the time.

BE­HIND THE WHEEL Driv­ing po­si­tion, vis­i­bil­ity, build qual­ity

You’ll be able to get com­fort­able fairly eas­ily in the driver’s seat of ei­ther car, thanks to a wide range of ad­just­ment for both the steer­ing wheels and seats. Elec­tric seat height ad­just­ment is stan­dard on both, but fully elec­tric seats

cost ex­tra, as does ad­justable lum­bar sup­port. The lat­ter is an op­tion well worth con­sid­er­ing for long-dis­tance com­fort.

Vis­i­bil­ity is ex­cel­lent, helped in the dark by some im­pres­sive stan­dard head­lights. The XF has xenon head­lights and LED day­time run­ning lights, while the 5 Se­ries has sharper full LED units. Up­grad­ing the XF to LED head­lights (that also turn with the steer­ing wheel and pro­vide au­to­matic high-beam as­sist) costs £1275. Adding turn­ing head­lights and high-beam as­sist to the 5 Se­ries costs £1295.

Un­for­tu­nately, nei­ther car gets a re­vers­ing cam­era as stan­dard, but self-park­ing systems with 360deg cam­eras are avail­able for £1095 in the 5 Se­ries and £1690 in the XF.

The 5 Se­ries is in a dif­fer­ent league to the XF in terms of in­te­rior qual­ity. The finish on its dash­board is plusher and more up­mar­ket, and the way the di­als and but­tons op­er­ate makes the 5 Se­ries feel like a Swiss time­piece to the XF’S 1980s Ca­sio watch.

SPACE AND PRAC­TI­CAL­ITY Front space, rear space, seat­ing ex­i­bil­ity, boot

There’s enough room up front for two tall adults in both cars, even if you can’t re­sist adding an op­tional panoramic sun­roof. How­ever, a bas­ket­ball player would ap­pre­ci­ate the ex­tra head and leg room in the front of the 5 Se­ries.

The 5 Se­ries has more rear head room, too, and its broader in­te­rior makes it the bet­ter bet when you need to carry three adults in the back. Mind you, a cou­ple of six-foot­ers will still be per­fectly com­fort­able in the back of the XF and will ac­tu­ally have a lit­tle more space for their knees.

We man­aged to fit seven car­ryon suit­cases in the XF’S boot, but the 5 Se­ries went one bet­ter with eight, thanks to its wider and longer load bay. Nei­ther boot has an in­ter­nal lip, so it’s equally easy to slide items in and out, although the 5 Se­ries’ has a wider open­ing.

Drop­ping the rear seats is sim­ple in both cars, achieved by press­ing a but­ton in the boot. The XF has a slightly longer load bay with the rear seats down and its seats lie flat­ter than the 5 Se­ries’.

Both cars come with a pow­ered tail­gate as stan­dard and, as a bonus, the 5 Se­ries en­ables you to open just the tail­gate win­dow.

BUY­ING AND OWN­ING Costs, equip­ment, re­li­a­bil­ity, safety and se­cu­rity

How­ever you look at it, the 5 Se­ries comes out cheaper. Its lower CO2 emis­sions trans­late to smaller tax pay­ments for com­pany car driv­ers, and it’s the more af­ford­able op­tion for any­one plan­ning to lease.

For cash buy­ers, there’s only £277 be­tween the price of these ri­vals af­ter dealer dis­counts. How­ever, the XF will lose its value more quickly, while the 5 Se­ries is eas­ier on fuel, too – all of which means it’s much cheaper to own in the long run.

Both cars come with com­pa­ra­ble stan­dard equip­ment, but if you’re a high-mileage mo­tor­way driver you might want to add some ac­tive safety systems. In the 5 Se­ries, the Driv­ing As­sis­tant Plus pack­age brings adap­tive cruise con­trol and steer­ing and lane con­trol as­sist. It’s a pricey £2250, but it re­ally does im­prove mo­tor­way jour­neys. Semi-au­ton­o­mous steer­ing isn’t avail­able on the XF, but you can get adap­tive cruise con­trol for £1460.

Our lat­est re­li­a­bil­ity sur­vey sug­gests you’re more likely to be visiting the garage with the XF than the 5 Se­ries; BMW as a brand scored av­er­age marks, whereas Jaguar was be­low par. Mean­while, Thatcham rates both cars equally highly for their re­sis­tance to be­ing stolen or bro­ken into.

These cars are very safe, scor­ing full five-star safety rat­ings from Euro NCAP with almost iden­ti­cal re­sults in all cat­e­gories bar safety as­sist. Here, the XF has an edge, be­cause while both get au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing as stan­dard, it adds lane de­par­ture warn­ing.

5 Se­ries is the bet­ter cruiser, prov­ing com er and qui­eter

More pow­er­ful XF sees off the 5 Se­ries in a straight sprint

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.