The disgusting prominence of the performance SUV has, if anything, made my love of fast estate cars like the new Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake all the stronger.
What’s better than a 542-horsepower, 186mph luxury four-door with seat massagers, Dolby Surround and a fully switchable ESP system? All of that, with room for the carbonfibre branded dog-basket accessory, of course.
Next question: between the Audi RS6 Avant (rapaciously quick, sublimely put-together, four-wheel drive) and the Merc E63 AMG S Estate (enormous boot and cabin, soulful engine, skids on demand), is there room in the super-wagon market for this new Jag? Haven’t those two mighty incumbents got all the bases covered?
Prior test experience of the XF wagon suggests that it’s not as useful as either of the Germans, and more worrying, not as wonderful-handling as the XF saloon. I can clearly remember setting our benchmark handling laptimes in the XF Diesel S Sportbrake we road-tested last year. And wondering how and why Gaydon would introduce so much corrupting understeer into a car that, in four-door form, has such wonderful natural cornering balance.
Maybe it was for stability’s sake; extra load potential and all that. But BMW doesn’t run as roughshod over the handling character of the 5-series saloon for the Touring estate version, and neither does AMG for its firebrand wagons.
Here’s hoping Jaguar hasn’t repeated the trick the XFR-S Sportbrake, unveiled today in Geneva – which will need every advantage it can muster to displace two of the most convincing fast estate cars there have ever been.