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The Top Gear car review:Jaguar XF Sportbrake
For:Even more handsome than the saloon and drives just as tidily, huge and versatile boot, more headroom.
Against:Interior just as dated as the saloons, off-the-pace infotainment, very long and pricey options list.
What is it?
A surprise car. Once Jaguar bet the farm on SUVs with its aluminium-heavy F-Pace, and followed that up by revealing the smaller E-Pace crossover, the idea of a modern Jag estate car was all but dead in the water. Because folks who want a big premium-badged car with lots of boot space also want the ride height and power trip offered by a high-up 4x4, right?
Wrong, according to Jaguar. Lots of its faithful customers apparently found the F-Pace too wide and too tall for their dogs to leap into, so a wagon has been allowed back into the range. Except it’s called nothing so utilitarian as that. The XF Sportbrake is supposed to ape the look of a shooting brake and be a diamond in the rough to drive. And largely, it is.
Under the bodywork and from the front seats, the XF Sportbrake is like any other XF we’ve come across, so let’s focus on the new bit: the cargo bay. The vital stats are these: 565 litres with all five seats in place, and 1,700 litres when folded. That’s broadly competitive with the new BMW 5 Series Touring, but predictably less commodious than the gargantuan Mercedes-Benz E-Class estate.
Unlike the Mercedes, there’s no option to add two extra jump seats, but the seat bases fold flat, they’re spring loaded to drop the backrests quickly without complicated and heavy electrified mechanisms, and the boot’s side walls have been smoothed to stop wheelarch intrusions blocking bulky items. Add in the lashing points and removable dividers and you’re looking at a well-thought-out estate car boot. Well done, Jaguar.
Most XF Sportbrakes are all-wheel drive, as Jaguar says this fits with the more ‘active lifestyles’ of the folks who buy them. Engine-wise, you’ve got the dull but worthy four-cylinder turbo petrol and diesels in a couple of states of tune, plus a turbodiesel V6 which is undoubtedly our favourite way to power an XF. The supercharged V6 petrol is no longer available.
You can festoon your XF with options like adaptive suspension, Jaguar’s wearable ‘Activity Key’, driver-assisting cruise control and anti-crash tech, and the world’s largest panoramic glass roof, which has a gesture-controlled blind, because that’s something the world needs, apparently.
This sector is no stranger to enormous options lists and big price premiums, and Jaguar’s jumped in with both feet (or should that be all four paws?). It’s very easy to take your XF Sportbrake beyond £60k or even £70k in the pursuit of draping that handsome form in all the tech you desire.