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First Drive

First Drive: Jaguar XF Sportbrake 2.0i 250hp R-Sport

The story:
Jaguar's new model splurge continues with the launch of the second-generation XF Sportbrake, the estate version of its executive model.
Key rival:BMW 5-Series Touring
Jaguar XF Sportbrake 2.0i 250hp R-Sport
On sale:Now

Estate cars have always been favoured in the executive sector, tending to take a decent share of sales in Europe. However, that isn’t the case in America, which is one reason Jaguar pushed ahead with its F-Pace SUV ahead of getting the new XF Sportbrake to market. Jaguar XF Sportbrake R-Sport - Image 1Still, it’s here now, and is a classy and stylish estate that costs around £2,400 more than the equivalent XF saloon. The estate range is slightly smaller than the four-door’s though; for example, there’s no manual 180hp diesel and no all-wheel-drive petrol models.

The available engines are 163hp, 180hp, 240hp and 300hp diesels, and 250hp or 300hp petrol engines. All are 2.0-litre units with the exception of the most powerful diesel, which is a 3.0-litre. Every engine is linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission, although the smallest diesel also comes as a six-speed manual. On top of that, two of the diesels are offered with Jaguar’s all-wheel drive system as well as in rear-drive form. Emissions are a touch higher for the estate than the saloon, although it’s marginal and will take the car up one company car tax band at most.Jaguar XF Sportbrake R-Sport - Image 5The new car is 6mm shorter than the previous XF Sportbrake, but has a wheelbase that’s 51mm longer, so interior room is good. Boot space is increased by 15 litres to 565, which is 25 more than the saloon, and mid-way between the BMW 5-Series Touring and Volvo V90, five litres behind the former and ahead of the latter.

The load area is a decent size but has a slightly narrow opening, so loading large items isn’t as easy as it might be. Self-levelling suspension is standard so heavy loads will have minimal effect on the drive.

The lower of the two petrol engines driven here, the 250hp 2.0-litre, has a lovely raspy note, and costs £2,480 less than the 240hp diesel, although that’s partially balanced by its emissions of 155g/km versus 144g/km for the diesel. That’s close enough that the petrol is two benefit-in-kind bands lower thanks to the latest BIK changes, and provides another example of the less-efficient car being more tax efficient. Meanwhile, a petrol BMW 5-Series gets down to 139g/km while offering 252hp, but the Jaguar is a touch more efficient than Audi or Volvo rivals.


Paul barker

The verdict

The XF Sportbrake looks great, with the slight dimension changes giving it better proportions and a shorter rear overhang. It’s also refined, handles well and has excellent residuals.