The MK2 model XF Sportbrake is an executive-segment estate that looks to offer a refreshing alternative to the usual choices in this segment, station wagon versions of the BMW 5 Series, the Mercedes E-Class and the Audi A6. This time round, this Sportbrake variant offers a 1,700-litre load space and can tow up to two tonnes, plus there's the option of AWD and it's faster, more efficient and more refined.
As you'd expect, mechanically, the Sportbrake offers up much the same recipe as you'd find in its saloon counterpart, though in this case, there's the addition of self-levelling rear suspension to ensure an effortless ride, even when towing loads that can be as heavy as 2,000kg. The XF range hinges around 2.0-litre diesel four-cylinder engines and while that doesn't sound too exciting, it's where the big sales are. Most buyers opt for this unit in either 163 or 180PS guises, but the brand also offers a twin-turbo 240PS version of this powerplant. The two more powerful variants are offered with the option of AWD. There are some decent petrol options further down the range, also using the brand's efficient 'Ingenium' technology and exclusively available with automatic transmission. A 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit comes with either 200 or 250PS, the pokier powerplant available with an AWD option. A 300PS twin-turbocharged 3.0 V6 diesel engine sits at the top of the range.
Across the XF Sportbrake line-up, driving dynamics suit a relaxed but purposeful style. The chassis delivers near perfect 50:50 weight distribution and huge strides have been made to perfect refinement. The XF shares its suspension set-up with the smaller XE model, which means struts with double wishbones at the front and an 'integral link' independent set-up at the rear. The steering uses the same electric power-assisted set-up as the Jaguar F-Type and XE, while active dampers are on the options list.
Jaguar is off to a good start on the Sportbrake as the XF is widely acknowledged as one of the cleanest pieces of styling in its class. The rear glasshouse is artfully integrated into the car's existing chassis hard points, with a genuinely sleek roofline which arches over the rear quarter-lights. The window line tapers gracefully as the flanks meet the rear glass area with its continuous wrap-around curve. The one-piece tailgate incorporates a rear spoiler with integrated high-level stop light and a chrome blade finisher. The rear of the XF Sportbrake also sports full LED tail lights.
The XF Sportbrake's load space features 1,700-litres of cargo capacity when all the seats are folded down. You also get under floor stowage and of course a 60:40 split rear seat. Cabin Air Ionisation gives you and your family clean air and an optional super-sized panoramic roof floods the interior with light. 'Gesture Control' lets you operate that panoramic sun blind or open the boot when your arms are full of kit. And there's the option of an 'Activity' key that allows you to do without the standard key ring yet still use the car when you're out and about doing things like swimming, surfing, cycling or running.
The Jaguar XF has always been an easy car to recommend if you wanted a saloon. But an increasing number of executive sector buyers don't. They'd like the status of the aspirational badge, but also want an element of practicality that'll get the goods in at IKEA, give the Labrador some breathing space and more easily suit the annual skiing trip to Chamonix. Hence the need for this XF Sportbrake in Jaguar showrooms.
On paper, this car's Teutonic rivals might seem more impressive. But it's easy to be impressed by something without necessarily liking it very much. An XF might not have the last enth of efficiency you'd find in a rival A6 or 5 Series. But for an increasing number of business buyers, it's the car they'd rather have on their driveways. Especially, I'd suggest, if it comes as a Sportback.Click here to find out more about our Jaguar XF Sportbrake range