What is it?
This time round, with Gaydon’s impressive, investment-heavy playbook now on a metronomic footing, it’s two years on the nose. That’s progress. The model is a recognisable descendant of the first generation: still frumpily dubbed Sportbrake because, Jaguar being Jaguar, the car is ostensibly meant to prioritise appearance over practicality.
Really, of course, the maker wants it both ways and, thanks to the efforts of the styling department, that’s precisely what it gets. In the flesh, the wagon is a corker. There’s no special recipe here not already deployed on any number of rivals (the low, raked roofline; the high, chaste shoulder; the wrap-around lines; the tapered bottom), but it all colludes magnificently. And because it better conceals the saloon’s curiously long rear deck, it immediately stakes a credible claim as Jaguar’s best-looking non-sports car.
Gaydon doubtless sniffed the lifestyle potential of all this when the Sportbrake was still made of clay; hence those F-Type-cloned rear lights and the chrome exhausts. To their credit, the engineers accommodated all this curviness while still hollowing out a proper rectangular crypt of a boot.
True, there’s barely any more room in there than aboard the saloon – but its sides are so clean that you’ll convince yourself otherwise. And with the seatbacks folded impressively flat (another admirable internal target), the XF apparently boasts one of the longest loadspaces in its class.