Jaguar XF Sportbrake vs Merc CLS Shooting Brake

So, on the surface, this is a matter of style: Jag's pert new rear versus Merc's elongated tail. Let's look at the Jag first. What I love about the Sportbrake is that it adds so much to the XF. The saloon is a fine, distinguished piece of design, but the estate has so much more about it. Part of that could be down to this being a top-spec Diesel S model on 20-inch wheels with the full Portfolio finishing kit, but we needed the price point to haul the Sportbrake up to the CLS's level. The Jag can, of course, be had for a little less; the Merc, however, can't.

But let's not get unduly distracted by cost. If we know anything, it's that people will pay more to own beautiful things. The detail work here is great - the blacked-out D-pillar, kinked-up spoiler and a droop-free tail that the XF carries high, like it's been hoiked up in a pair of spandex knickers. Still the more conventional car here, mind you, what with the longer roofline and more upright tailgate, both helping to maximise its internal capacity.