The first generation Jaguar XF won so many awards it probably has its own trophy room. But time moves on and so does Jaguar. The new XF is lighter, thanks to Jaguar’s Lightweight Aluminium Architecture, making it more agile, fuel efficient and quicker off the mark. Now the line-up is joined by the new XF Sportbrake; all the prestige of the saloon but even more versatile. With the seats up, you’ll enjoy 565 litres of space, but with the seats down there’s a two metre-long load bay holding up to 1700 litres. Another nice touch is the 40:20:40 three-way split rear seats. So whether you’re a sports-mad kite surfer or simply need a family-friendly prestige car, it’s a great companion for an active lifestyle.
Jaguar places as much emphasis on the ‘sport’ as on the load-carrying side of the Sportbrake’s character. It’s available with 2.0 Ingenium diesel engines in 163PS, 180PS or 240PS versions; there’s also a petrol 2.0 250PS model. Pinnacle of the range is the 3.0 litre V6 diesel, which powers from 0-60mph in 6.1 seconds.
All-wheel drive is available on two models (2.0d and 2.5d) while for the rear-drive models Jaguar has developed All Surface Progress Control (ASPC) for extra confidence in slippery conditions. On the move, the XF Sportbrake feels like a much smaller, sportier car thanks to Torque Vectoring and Adaptive Dynamics technology. The Integral Link rear suspension is also self-levelling, so even if you’re giving a lift to the entire five-a-side team, the XF Sportbrake will stay on an even keel.
Jaguar’s design team led by Ian Callum is on a roll, and the Sportbrake proves it. It shares the distinctive Jaguar family ‘face’ with a long, low swooping roofline and coupé-like profile. The overall impression is aerodynamic, assertive and sporting, a far cry from the boxy estate cars of old. Inside, you’ll find a cabin with a calm, contemporary feel; switchgear and buttons are kept to a minimum and there’s an emphasis on quality materials and discreet craftsmanship. One lovely touch is the start button, which pulses until you press it at a precise 72 beats per minute – the resting heartrate of a jaguar cat.
The new XF saloon recently won the top Euro NCAP five-star rating and we have every reason to assume the XF Sportbrake will follow suit. The strong yet light aluminium architecture is exceptionally rigid, and the body side, bonnet and wings are also made of aluminium, which is bonded to the structure with a super-strong adhesive before being riveted with boron steel. Active safety systems fitted as standard including Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW).
Like its saloon counterpart the XF Sportbrake features InControl infotainment, with Bluetooth connectivity and satellite navigation as standard. You can choose from Touch, with 8” touchscreen, or Touch Pro with its impressive 10.2” dual-view touchscreen (this allows your front seat passenger to watch a movie while the driver views the sat-nav). The Connect package includes a Wi-Fi hotspot and a range of apps that allow you to check up on your Jaguar from your smartphone, while regular high mileage users will appreciate the extra route-planning features of Connect Pro. Other features we love include the gesture-control tailgate and the Activity Key, a waterproof wristband which solves the perennial problem of where to put the car key when you’re off for a dip in the sea.