• The XF Sportbrake is Jaguar's first estate since the 2004 X-Type
  • 20-inch 'Hydra' wheels standard on range-topping Portfolio spec
  • Black grille incorporates adaptive cruise control transceiver
  • Dark rear pillars are carried over from the larger XJ
  • 'Fuselage' surfacing a classic Jaguar design cue
  • Cabin is unchanged from XF saloon
  • Large centre console limits room for the driver
  • Sportbrake offers improved rear headroom over the saloon
  • Boot space with the seats in place isn't overwhelming, but large aperture aids accessibility
  • Switchgear is finished in soft-touch matte black paint
  • Blue backlit dials help create a soothing ambience
  • Range is all-diesel, with no petrol engines on offer
  • Diesel S 0-60mph time in our tests is 7.1 seconds; a whole second slower than Jaguar's official figures
  • Four engine choices in total; this is the 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine that develops 271bhp
  • Pitch and roll is noticeable under hard braking and cornering
  • The Sportbrake has been set up for predictable handling and will understeer when pushed
  • The XF remains a strong contender in the executive market

Jaguar may not enjoy the long heritage of estate cars common to its premium rivals, but at least its chief designer, Ian Callum, can claim to have been there from the very beginning. The X-type Sportwagon – Jaguar’s original load lugger – was one of the first production Jags to benefit from Callum’s masterly pen strokes. The XF, with all its curvaceous muscularity, bears its elongated roof at least as well.

To support the larger ceiling, the Sportbrake is new from the B-pillars back. Nevertheless, a butch wrap-around shoulder and tapered roofline keep the XF’s tightly tailored body appropriately trim. The boundary of the saloon’s wheelbase is not spilled – the estate shares the same platform – but with the additional metal comes a pinch more presence.

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Bonnet 'power bulge' features on even the entry level version

That, along with the obvious practical benefit, is in the plus column. In the minus is the unavoidable weight penalty. On our scales, the Sportbrake lurched over the two-tonne barricade, proving a hefty supplement to the saloon’s 1800kg. To counteract its own poundage – and the extra weight of buyers’ hauling expectations – Jaguar has opted to replace the saloon’s standard coil springs with self-levelling air suspension at the back. It claims that this enhancement, along with comparable torsional stiffness, has permitted it to match the conventional XF’s acclaimed spread of dynamism and rolling refinement.

Certainly, the power delivery will be familiar to the initiated. All of the four-cylinder and V6 diesel engines migrate from its sibling, mated to the same fluid eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. The smaller unit, in its 161bhp guise with 55.4mpg potential and lower (135g/km) CO2 emissions, is the most popular option with customers, although, as we'll see, all units have their merit.

There are six Jaguar XF Sportbrake trim levels: SE, SE Business, Luxury, Portfolio, Premium Luxury, Sport and S. However, not all are sold in conjunction with every drivetrain option, so buyers may not have the choice they expect. Entry-level kit includes stop-start, alloys, dual-zone climate control, electric seat adjustment, rain-sensing wipers, Bluetooth connectivity and a rear-parking aid. 

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week