An estate version of the XF has been eagerly awaited since Jaguar launched the second-generation XF towards the end of 2015. Now over two years later, there is the new XF Sportbrake. And it’s certainly a looker.
Against fierce competition, such as the BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class Estate, the XF Sportbrake needs to do more than just look good – especially with the rise of the SUV.
The main difference over the XF saloon is the added storage space. And while it’s only 1mm longer than the saloon, its increased height allows for a more practical interior – mainly far better rear headroom for passengers and the larger boot.
Rear air suspension has also been fitted to help keep the rear-end level – it will mainly be useful for those regularly carrying heavy loads. It’s also fitted with Jaguar’s InControl Pro infotainment system as standard.
We got behind the wheel of the 3.0-litre V6 diesel model – the priciest diesel in the range. It’s far smoother than the four-cylinder diesel engines, and has an effortless amount of low-end torque. Its paired to a silky smooth eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s good for a 0-60mph figure of 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 155mph.
Despite its larger size, it’s actually better on fuel than the smaller 2.0-litre diesel engine, returning 49.6mpg as opposed to the smaller diesels 48.7mpg.
Other engines available include a 2.0-litre petrol unit, as well as the aforementioned 2.0-litre diesel.
Ride and handling
Jaguar is good at making cars that can handle well, and the XF Sportbrake is no exception. It gets the balance just right between handling and ride comfort, remaining composed and refined when needed, and surprisingly fun when you come to a twisty B-road.
Regardless of the engine fitted, the XF Sportbrake is a joy to drive with direct and sharp steering. It doesn’t feel anywhere near a two-tonne car when you’re behind the wheel, either.
Other estates simply can’t compete with the way the XF drives, which is a testament to its engineering. Switch it into mode, though, and it becomes a settled cruiser that’s smooth, and is very comfortable thanks to its supportive seats.
Interior and equipment
The latest InControl Pro touchscreen infotainment system is a much-improved system over the last. Although it does miss out on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the screen is both very clear and responsive.
In the rear, space is significantly better than the saloon, and even the panoramic roof fitted to our car couldn’t stop six-footers from sitting comfortably. While the 565 litre boot capacity is average for this class, it is square and totally flat for added practicality.
Standard equipment includes satellite navigation, leather upholstery, rear parking sensors and 17-inch alloy wheels. You can then either opt for the sportier R-Sport or comfort-orientated Portfolio.
While few boxes should need ticking when it comes to its spec, we would recommend choosing the active safety pack which adds cruise control, blind-spot monitors and lane-keeping assist.
The XF Sportbrake range starts at £34,910 for the 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel. It does seems well-priced and while the 3.0-litre diesel model we drove does seem pricy at £49,600, it is comparable to equally-powerful rivals.
You may have to spend a bit more on fuel with the XF Sportbrake but taking into account the weight and size of the near two-tonne luxurious sportbrake, it is to be expected.
Anyone who wants to enjoy the practicality of an estate car and the driving dynamics of a sports car should make eyes towards the XF Sportbrake. It is hugely impressive to drive and the best in its class.
Anyone wanting an attractive-looking and sporty estate should definitely consider a test drive in the XF Sportbrake, you're likely to be impressed.
Model: Jaguar XF Sportbrake
Base price: £34,910
Model (as tested): XF Sportbrake S
Price (as tested): £52,400
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel
Max speed): 155mph
0-60mph: 6.1 seconds