The British brand is looking to show that its vehicles are up there with the best on the market, with this – the XF Sportbrake – its latest offering.
Following an update for 2019, the estate version of the mid-sized executive saloon goes up against some of the best cars on the current market – the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class.
But as we get behind the wheel of the R Sport version, we see whether the XF Sportbrake can help reinvigorate the brand’s sales and popularity.
Although the powertrain uses diesel fuel, the 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder unit develops 237bhp and 500Nm of torque to get the car from 0-60mph in 6.7 seconds and go on to reach a top speed of 150mph.
This version we drove also came with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission that together help provide a smooth power delivery in all conditions, including the snowy roads we tested it on. If you feel like you want more control over the gear changes, the paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel are responsive – but the full auto mode is better in normal driving situations.
Ride & Handling
Jaguar has always been able to set a car up to drive well, and this is now different. The standard XF has great balance and even with the additional bodywork over the rear axle, the Sportbrake is as good. The steering has enough weight to it and is easy to place while managing to hide the car’s weight as well by limiting body roll. Even the slippy mountain roads we tried couldn’t ruffle the Sportbrake’s feathers.
Refinement is a bit down on rivals as exterior noises can be transferred into the cabin at higher speeds, but ride comfort and balance is at a high level, so long-distance cruising won’t be much of a challenge.
Interior & Equipment
Much like many of its rivals, the XF Sportbrake has a large and well-lit cabin that is accommodating for taller passengers in the front and back. The driver won’t be struggling to get comfortable either, as there is plenty of adjustment offered so you can get in the right position.
The boot space may be smaller than many of its competitors, but the 565-litre loading area is more than large enough for most situations. With the rear seats folded down, you have 1,700 litres to use – but that is 200 litres less than the Mercedes E-Class, with the Jag’s sleeker design meaning it does with less practicality than its German rival.
Standard kit for the XF Sportbrake is excellent, with the estate having 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, leather upholstery, a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation and smartphone connectivity, a powered tailgate and self-levelling suspension at the rear. Other standard features include autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, two-zone climate control, driving modes, Bluetooth and emergency brake assist.
For the R-Sport model we tried, Jaguar adds 18-inch alloys, the R-Sport body styling pack, sports seats, a multifunction leather steering wheel, front parking sensors and gloss black roof rails.See Available XF deals
Starting from £36,545, the XF Sportbrake starts off about £600 more than the BMW 5 Series Touring, but more than £2,000 less than the Mercedes E-Class – striking a good middle ground between the two. Considering the £5,000-worth of optional extras Jaguar added to our test car, the £43,810 cost of our R-Sport test car is better than comparable vehicles on sale.
Despite the fuel type becoming less popular, the 2.0-litre diesel engine still makes sense here as it can return a quoted 46.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 160g/km – with the closest petrol in the range only capable of 41mpg and emissions of 154g/km, which lacks four-wheel drive.
This handsome and practical estate is a great alternative to its German rivals, as it comes with as much space and features as them. As mentioned previously, the diesel engines may drive people away, but the units still make sense in capacious family cars like this and the XF Sportbrake works better with an oil-burner under the bonnet. If you’re looking at large estates, the Jaguar should definitely be in your consideration.