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Wagon version of Jaguar XF is intended to be just as good as the saloon. In many ways, though, it’s better
Nic Cackett
3 September 2017

What is it?

The last time Jaguar revealed an estate version of the XF, four years had elapsed since the launch of the saloonFlu pandemics come and go at a quicker rate.

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. 

What's it like?

Inevitably, this all comes at a cost. To you, the buying public, it’ll be a premium of around £2500 over and above the equivalent saloon. To the car itself, it’s weight. As well as requiring some more bodywork and the extra bracing that goes with it, Jaguar has fitted self-levelling air suspension to the Sportbrake’s shapely rear – meaning that, all told, your extra money pays for around 115kg of surplus bulk.

This slightly unwieldy fact does the latest 237bhp 2.0-litre diesel Ingenium unit no favours at all. Jaguar claims 6.4sec for the AWD version’s 0-60mph time; it feels at least a second slower than that in the real world and hasn’t shaken the slight sense of ponderousness identified during the Range Rover Velar’s road test either.

Combine the Sportbrake’s less-than-spirited overtaking performance with middling refinement under load and the niggle starts to swell ominously. Good job, then, that virtually everything else the car does works like a cold compress on the engine bay’s shortcomings.

The chassis’s benchmark was the saloon’s class-leading dynamic flair and, given the unsettling aspect of air springs and additional ballast, its mimicking of the XF’s trademark handling compromise is highly commendable. Measured against its passively sprung, rear-drive sibling, a modicum of direction-change athleticism has unarguably evaporated, but the wagon feels so assertively poised that it’s barely missed.

Much like the saloon, it’s the extraordinary parity given to sure-footed, super-snug, express-grade progress on the one hand, and free-flowing, B-road-scything responsiveness on the other, that generates a small mountain of driver goodwill.

Marginally softer, stockier and deliberate the estate might be (especially coupled with four-wheel drive), it is the all-court roundedness of the experience that once again ends up being the takeaway sentiment. That it arrives in a package with considerably more rear head room, a bigger, more usable boot, a more desirable design and the uncannily likeable ability to stow a large wardrobe is invariably to the model’s advantage.

Should I buy one?

Switch out the Ingenium unit for the more forceful oil-burning V6 and, unless you work in Munich, Ingolstadt or Stuttgart, the timely return of the Sportbrake is another Gaydon milestone worth cheering

Jaguar XF Sportbrake R-Sport 25d

Location UK; On sale Now; Price £44,600; Engine Four-cylinder, 1999cc, turbocharged, diesel; Power 237bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 369lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox Eight-speed automatic; Kerb weight 1805kg; Top speed 150mph; 0-62mph 6.7sec; Economy 48.7mpg; CO2/BIK tax band 144g/km, 30% Rivals BMW 5 Series Touring; Audi A6 Avant 

Join the debate

Comments
21

3 September 2017

You know, a sporting break.

Yes I know Sportbrake is a corruption of shooting-brake but it seems odd.

 

A sporting brake?

Does it always stop with a loud squeal and a puff of smoke?

Steam cars are due a revival.

3 September 2017

They got rid of the stupid d pillar black panel which made any colour other than black look weird.  And it looks much better as a result.  Fantastic, shame that the preteniously named diesel 4 cylinder is so ratty.  

3 September 2017
Cheltenhamshire wrote:

They got rid of the stupid d pillar black panel which made any colour other than black look weird.  And it looks much better as a result.  Fantastic, shame that the preteniously named diesel 4 cylinder is so ratty.  

Agreed.  Now they need to sort out the XJ, which looks equally awkward

3 September 2017

Shame the V6 diesels are so much more expensive, wonder what the 250hp petrol is like?

3 September 2017

Easily the best looking car from JLR to date. Shame about their continued inability to produce a car that meets their published figures, really shows how they lack in egineering skills against the Germans.  The continued and refreshing critism of the Ingenium unit also shows just what a balls up the project has been, they simply haven't been able to get on top of development of it after having to release it to production far too early.  Would be nice with the V6, but then you hit the other JLR issue - high list prices.

3 September 2017
Marc wrote:

Easily the best looking car from JLR to date. Shame about their continued inability to produce a car that meets their published figures, really shows how they lack in egineering skills against the Germans.  The continued and refreshing critism of the Ingenium unit also shows just what a balls up the project has been, they simply haven't been able to get on top of development of it after having to release it to production far too early.  Would be nice with the V6, but then you hit the other JLR issue - high list prices.

Is this the same Germans who couldn't engineer a Diesel engine to pass Nox tests?

3 September 2017
Jimbbobw1977 wrote:

Marc wrote:

Easily the best looking car from JLR to date. Shame about their continued inability to produce a car that meets their published figures, really shows how they lack in egineering skills against the Germans.  The continued and refreshing critism of the Ingenium unit also shows just what a balls up the project has been, they simply haven't been able to get on top of development of it after having to release it to production far too early.  Would be nice with the V6, but then you hit the other JLR issue - high list prices.

Is this the same Germans who couldn't engineer a Diesel engine to pass Nox tests?

If you believe it was just VAG that did that then it shows how little you know.  Long before the news hit the front pages it was known within the industry, when it became clear how big an issue it was likely to become you can bet there were some shredders working overtime in many manufacturers offices all over the world.  Have you ever wondered why main dealers want your car in the shop for such a long time for what should really be a 30 min service.

3 September 2017

Just remind me again which companies have been indentified as designing, fitting, using, found guilty at court with prison sentences for using cheat devices to pass the Nox test? 

I know a lot about what has gone on, I know a lot of other companies have companies have been investigated and I also know that to date, the answer to my question is VAG group. 

Back to the review - this is a great looking car 

3 September 2017
Jimbbobw1977 wrote:

Just remind me again which companies have been indentified as designing, fitting, using, found guilty at court with prison sentences for using cheat devices to pass the Nox test? 

I know a lot about what has gone on, I know a lot of other companies have companies have been investigated and I also know that to date, the answer to my question is VAG group. 

Back to the review - this is a great looking car 

You quite clearly know very little a about the industry or more importantly in this case, politics.

3 September 2017
Marc wrote:

Jimbbobw1977 wrote:

Marc wrote:

Easily the best looking car from JLR to date. Shame about their continued inability to produce a car that meets their published figures, really shows how they lack in egineering skills against the Germans.  The continued and refreshing critism of the Ingenium unit also shows just what a balls up the project has been, they simply haven't been able to get on top of development of it after having to release it to production far too early.  Would be nice with the V6, but then you hit the other JLR issue - high list prices.

Is this the same Germans who couldn't engineer a Diesel engine to pass Nox tests?

If you believe it was just VAG that did that then it shows how little you know.  Long before the news hit the front pages it was known within the industry, when it became clear how big an issue it was likely to become you can bet there were some shredders working overtime in many manufacturers offices all over the world.  Have you ever wondered why main dealers want your car in the shop for such a long time for what should really be a 30 min service.

You guys do know you are debating about engines that are quickly being taxed/targeted off the road by governments around the way. Plus Yes it was the brilliant German engineering that put the final nail into the diesel coffin so it's a good thing that the ingenium petrol has had much better review.

BTW it was Mercedes who threw BMW and VW under the bus in exchange for ammunity. 

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