• 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

The Jaguar XF saloon remains best in class in many important ways. No other mid-size exec blends simple involvement with ample performance, excellent refinement, fluid handling and such a skilfully judged ride. None quite equals it as a driver’s car.

As a result, the saloon scores a 4.5-star rating. However, we’re docking half a star this time around. As an even smoother-riding XF, the Sportbrake is entirely fit for purpose, but its slight shortage of ultimate handling balance is regrettable.

Matt Prior

Road test editor
The Sportbrake's lack of ultimate balance denies it a higher star rating.

A cabin that feels slightly tight – even a little antiquated here and there – now does much less to recommend the XF than it once did, and the fuel economy of the models we've tested hasn't been outstanding.

But it’s a very comfortable, practical and well mannered family car, with strong ownership prospects in most other respects and enough sporting pace and verve to merit a decent if not class-leading billing.

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