Hitting the brakes
Jaguar has finally launched the second-generation XF Sportbrake estate, a handsome lifestyle load-carrier with all the driving appeal of the Big Cat brand
Purists may not consider the XF Sportbrake a ‘proper’ Jaguar because it’s an estate car – I suspect they’re in meltdown over the SUVs. But they’re new models people want and it’s given the marque a new lease of life.
LOOKS AND IMAGE
With the SUVs, I wondered if Jaguar would do a second-generation XF estate, which comes two years after the saloon. It’s one of the most handsome prestige estates with a sloping roofline, strong shoulder line and sleek wraparound LED tail lights making the back end far more elegant than the saloon.
SPACE AND COMFORT
Looking for a roomy executive estate? The Sportbrake measures up with acres of rear legroom and enough headroom for sixfooters with that sloping roof, even if you opt for the huge panoramic sunroof.
The Sportbrake is more lifestyle estate than ultimate load-lugger. The 565-litre boot makes up for what it lacks in depth by going back a long way and adjustable securing points on runners along the floor add to its versatility.
The estate’s rear seat backs split 40/20/40 and folds flat with the floor, released via levers in the boot, to transport long, thin items along with two rear passengers. A tyre inflation kit makes space for some underfloor storage.
HOW IT DRIVES
The Sportbrake gets self-levelling air suspension to keep it on an even keel with its larger load-carrying duties, but still drives like a true Jaguar with a wellbalanced agility on twisty roads that belies a big car nearly five metres long. The ride is even more impressive, despite 20in wheels instead of standard 18in ones. It’s firm enough to let you know what’s going on beneath the wheels, but won’t shake your fillings out, although there’s noticeable tyre roar on corrugated motorway surfaces.
UNDER THE BONNET
Plenty of choice with Ingenium family 2.0litre turbo units – 250 and 300PS petrol and 163PS, 180PS and 240PS diesel – plus a 300PS 3.0-litre V6 diesel. All-wheel drive is available and eight-speed automatic standard on all but the 163PS diesel.
The twin-turbo 240PS AWD test car sounded a bit gruff when worked and, while making light work of overtaking, doesn’t feel as quick as the figures suggest. Real-world MPG was 37 running around and 43 on a run.
Estate cars fit mine and my wife’s lifestyle perfectly. Even better, should the opportunity ever arise, the XF Sportbrake fits our garage… just.