Jaguar targets sporty families with XF Sportbrake
JAGUAR has launched an estate version of the XF saloon, promising "sports car dynamics, sports car looks and a 1,700 litre load space".
As with the wagon version of the last XF, the company is calling the car a 'Sportbrake' - they want us to be in no doubt about the Jaguar's sporty credentials.
I have found the saloon XF to be a little underwhelming and, to be honest, rather forgettable compared to a rival like the new BMW 5 Series, but the estate version will at least offer customers a wider choice.
The XF certainly has a nicely set-up chassis, with accurate handling, a smooth ride and good feedback, but the engine and gearbox are less well resolved, meaning the overall package is not as satisfying or cohesive as the 5 Series, an Audi A6 or Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
As you would expect, the drivetrain options mirror those of the saloon, so there is a mix of petrol and diesel engines with rear- and four-wheel-drive.
Jaguar is talking up family-friendly features such as 'cabin air ionisation' whcih "gives you and your family clean air" and a large glass roof.
The roof's blind can be operated with gesture control, and similar tech allows for hands-free opening of the tailgate.
And in keeping with the sporty lifestyle vibe, an 'activity key' means you can "forget the keyring" when you "swim, surf, cycle or run".
With the rear seats upright, Jaguar says the boot's volume is 565 litres; fold the pews and it grows to 1,700 litres. It can tow a 2 tonne trailer and has self-levelling rear suspension.
As is often the case with modern estates, the Sportbrake looks better than the saloon which sired it.
"The iconic Jaguar posters of the 1950s promised customers grace, pace and space," said Jaguar design boss Ian Callum, who seems to agree.
"The XF Sportbrake re-imagines this offer for 21st-century active families, with stunning looks, sports car performance and a load space fit for active lifestyles.
“As with the XF saloon, every line on the Sportbrake serves a clear purpose, creating a fast, sweeping silhouette.
"This gives the car a sense of speed and a very dynamic appearance. As a result, I think it looks just as sporty as the saloon, if not more so."
The estate commands a £2,400 premium over the saloon, and prices start at £34,910 for the 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel manual in Prestige spec.
You can order yours later this month, with deliveries in the final quarter of the year.