The smaller engined Jaguar XF Sportbrake impresses in all areas apart from its straight-line pace

Our Verdict

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Jaguar XF Sportbrake is a sporting estate under a different name, but is it any good?

30 October 2012

What is it?

The engine that currently accounts for around 70 per cent of Jaguar XF sales, in the new bodystyle that’s tipped to take a third of Jaguar’s sales in the executive car sector.

The Jaguar XF Sportbrake isn’t the first time that Jaguar has built an estate – that privilege belongs to the X-type – but it is the first time the Midlands manufacturer has developed one using its own platform.

Jaguar says it benchmarked the XF Sportbrake against the Audi A6 Avant, a car which it virtually matches for luggage capacity, with between 550 and 1675 litres of space. To these eyes, Ian Callum’s design team has set a new benchmark for estate car styling in the class. The Sportbrake is new from the B-pillars back. The subtle tapering of the rear has been reduced to increase space in the back and the rearmost-pillars feature a similar gloss black treatment as the XJ flagship.

The 2.2-litre unit tested here is already in service in the XF saloon, and has proved a sales success with its significantly reduced running costs while sacrificing little of the muscular, powerful appeal Jaguars are famed for. 

That powerplant is provided in both 160bhp and 197bhp output, with matching economy figures of 135g/km and 55.4mpg.

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What's it like?

The 197bhp version of the PSA-sourced 2.2-litre turbodiesel is a strong performer. We’ve been critical of the performance offered by the range-topping 3.0-litre diesel S, but with the prospect of more than 55mpg on tap, the 8.9sec 0-62mph time is more than adequate. Its point-to-point pace impresses, but it doesn’t feel exceptionally quick from step-off.

That has as much to with the impressive refinement as the adoption of an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox. The engine is rarely stressed, and at a motorway cruise engine, wind and road noise is absent. Such is this level of luxury car refinement that it’s easy to step into an unintentionally brisk pace.

The XF’s delicate steering remains, and there’s barely any difference between the saloon and estate, despite the extra 70kg that the Sportbrake carries over the saloon. The steering is light but breathtakingly effusive, and the Sportbrake is every bit as wieldy as the four-door.

Self-levelling suspension, standard on all Sportbrakes, helps to retain that linear feel even when the car is fully laden, as we discovered during a track session carrying a fridge in the boot. More impressive is the ride quality, which flattened out the worst of the potholed and scarred Tarmac on our Scottish test route. It feels like a car that has been developed in Britain, for Britain.

Cabin space up front is beginning to feel a little cramped, so light coloured interior trim helps instil a feeling of space. The flip-out airvents and pop-up gear selector have lost none of their appeal. The rear passengers enjoy an additional 48mm of headroom than in the saloon. A power tailgate and retaining bars which slot into rails in the boot aid practicality further, as does a removable panel which allows the obligatory set of golf clubs to be stowed east-west.

Should I buy one?

If you can live without the straight-line pace, then yes. The 2.2 starts at a shade under £32,000 for the low-power 2.2, but the 197bhp unit tested here is another £3500. That’s money that’ll likely prove well spent as its around two seconds faster to 62mph.

Jaguar’s engineers have worked hard to ensure the XF Sportbrake feels like a proper Jaguar. Some purists might sniff at a four-cylinder diesel estate, but its existence is justified as soon as you drive it. 

Stuart Milne

Jaguar XF Sportbrake 2.2 Portfolio

Price £44690; 0-62mph 8.2sec; Top speed 134mph; Economy 55.4mpg (combined); CO2 135g/km; Kerbweight 1815kg; Engine 4-cyl, turbodiesel, 2179cc; Power 197bhp at 3500rpm; Torque 332lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic

Join the debate


30 October 2012

What gets on my t1ts is i'll never be able to afford one of these unless I win the Lottery. *Sigh* Wish I was rich as I want one badly.

Can your GP prescribe anything for range anxiety?

30 October 2012

rpf72 wrote:

What gets on my t1ts is i'll never be able to afford one of these unless I win the Lottery. *Sigh* Wish I was rich as I want one badly.

...well you will, eventually. Unless you are predicting zero depreciation for this Jag? Wink Personally, I wouldn't bother even at £2k; a Jag should have more cylinders than gears IMO.

  • If you want to know about a car, read a forum dedicated to it; that's a real 'long term test' . No manufacturer's warranty, no fleet managers servicing deals, no journalist's name to oil the wheels...

31 October 2012

BriMarsh wrote:

 Personally, I wouldn't bother even at £2k; a Jag should have more cylinders than gears IMO.

Might be tricky with the new 9 speed Auto box they are developing!

30 October 2012

Its a good looking car with a couple of reservations. I dont like the dark rear pillars here any more than on the XJ. I would also like to see it without the dark tinted rear windows. 

But overall a Jag Estate makes a lot of sense and i hope they sell loads

31 October 2012

According to this review the XF is available as a coupe, that is news to me.

31 October 2012

owenmahamilton wrote:

According to this review the XF is available as a coupe, that is news to me.

Jag think of the XF as a four door coupe, like the Mercedes CLS.

And I would say that he reason this car is listed at 44k is that it is the top portfolio model with the more powerful of the 2.2l engines 

Dear Autocar website designers,

I understand your need to bring revenue in with advertising. However, can you do it in a way that makes your site usable please?


31 October 2012

well, I've read this and I'm more confused than I was before. It takes until the summary to actually find out that you tested the higher powered version. Which does either 8.9 seconds or 6.9 or 8.2 seconds to 60 mph depending on whether you take the two seonds faster than the 8.9 secconds referred to in the text or look at the stats box below. If it costs "under £32k" for the low power and "another £3.5k" for the high power why is it £44,690 in the summary?

As I repeat, probably to everyone's annoyance, on this forum why the hell don't Autocar writers read their copy before posting it?

31 October 2012

johnfaganwilliams, because at the end of the day they are employed to turn paper priced at "X" into paper sold at X times Y and to sell advertising space, and enjoy themselves in other people's cars. Accuracy and continuity are inconvenient irrelevancies .

31 October 2012

Looks great, but I wish it had a manual gearbox. As a long time Citroen fan, I find it depressing that Citroen have taken self levelling out of most of their estate cars when marques like Jaguar are realising that it's indispensible.

And tell the idiot who wrote the captions that Britain is in Europe.

31 October 2012

I've seen the XK Sportbrake and while it's atrractive I don't think it redefines executive estate styling as, unsurprisingly, Autocar suggests. I prefer the look of the A6 Avant. Sure, it's more conservative looking than the Jag and not exactly exciting (or even as desirable looking), but it looks far more harmonious and more sophisticated, while there is something about the understated, solid, sober German look which is appealing.


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