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Welcome: the new Jaguar Sportbrake
Well, Jaguar Land Rover promised us a
‘new model avalanche’ so dig in, because here it comes. Last week an
improbable-but-unignorable Evoque convertible and now this, the Jag Sportbrake;
less improbable maybe, but also impossibly appealing. Yup, if you’ve got money
and an odd-shaped hole in your garage, JLR is wants to fill it.
While this isn’t Jaguar’s first estate,
it is only its second in 90 years, the first being the rather lovely looking
X-Type wagon (always a guilty pleasure around these parts). The Sportbrake is,
of course an enlarged XF, and as befits a car with proper sporting
aspirations, it is more a rival to a BMW 5-series Touring than a Mercedes
E-class wagon, which will swallow nearly 300 more bottles of mineral water*.
Not that Jag is especially bothered; the latter could swallow a whale so is
almost a niche within a niche these days.
Not that Sportbrake is any lightweight.
Despite the ‘lifestyle’ twitterings of the prototypes (@sportbrake – we can
only assume that car will stop sending us links to surfing pictures now**) this
real car has a genuine ability to fulfil a dual role in your life, even if it’s
only once a year when you need to bring home a two-metre Christmas tree.
The back seats fold down remotely at
the push of a button and, as you can see from the pictures, it’s a properly
flat, unobstructed space. There are plenty of cleats and stuff in there (you
know how frisky those trees can get), and the panel in the middle lifts out to
make for three smaller, more secure load spaces. That’s something that will
always be welcome as long as wine is sold in glass bottles.
But enough of the practical stuff. It’s
a Jag after all, so we want to know if you think it looks good. Or, frankly, if
you don’t, when exactly you expect to go to Specsavers***. It’s all about the
extended roofline of course (which, coincidently, adds nearly two ins of
headspace to the rear seats too) and the treatment of the extra side window.
You have a choice there; chrome or black (at a cost). The standard chromed
version makes us think of the XJ (and rather warmly too), the ‘Black Pack’
version, especially if you also tick the ‘Aero Pack’ option (front spoiler, sill
extensions and a bigger ‘foil over the rear window) makes us think it looks
just, well…. fantastic.
You agree, TopGear.commers?
*Based on a standard, one litre Evian
bottle. Imagine 1675 of them. Or actually the water inside them. That’s what will
fit inside the Jag Sportbrake. The Merc will swallow another 275 bottles’
** sorry @sportbrake. We wanted cool
stuff from testing, not fridge-magnet philosophy about ‘balance’ and pictures
opticians are available