by John Tallodi
The Jaguar XF Sportbrake is the wagon variant of the accomplished XF sedan and it does battle with other premium offerings in this competitive segment. The Sportbrake enters 2018 as a new model and its mix of sporty handling and family-friendly body style promises to endear it to shoppers looking for a high-end luxury vehicle.
The Sportbrake shares its interior with the XF sedan, the quality of the materials used is up with the class leaders and passenger space is also generous in both the front and rear. Unique design features such as the gear selector that rises out of the center console and air vents that swivel open once the ignition is on add to the Sportbrake's luxury feel. The infotainment system trails the best in class however, with slow response times and a frustrating menu setup.
The cargo area offers much improved space over the sedan too although the angled rear roofline does limit vertical loadability.
The Sportbrake differs from the sedan in that it has self-levelling rear air suspension and revised suspension settings to account for the potentially heavier loads it will carry. Handling finesse and ride quality are out of the top drawer with very little body lean in corners and an abundance of grip when accelerating hard out of tight turns.
The standard 20-inch wheels (They are unusually smaller diameter 19-inchers on the top trim level) do not disturb the ride quality which remains firm but not uncomfortable on most road surfaces. The Sportbrake is equally at home on a long cruise as it is carving up a mountain pass.
The XF Sportbrake is offered with a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with 380 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is strong with 60 mph arriving in a claimed 5.3-seconds and while there are a few faster competitors out there, few will yearn for more performance than what the XF Sportbrake offers.
Unlike the XF sport sedan the Sportbrake version does without a range of lower specification levels and offers just two well-optioned trims both equipped with the 380 hp V6 engine.
The XF Sportbrake S includes a vast range of standard features like 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights with power wash and automatic high beam assist, power gesture tailgate, fixed panoramic sunroof, self levelling rear suspension, and a meridian audio system. An 8-inch touchscreen incorporates a navigation system, InControl Apps which offer smartphone and Bluetooth integration.
Safety systems include lane keep assist, blind spot and rear traffic monitor, reverse traffic detection as well as front and rear parking aids.
The XF Sportbrake First Edition builds on this comprehensive list with unique 19-inch alloys, gesture roof blind, activity key, 12.3-inch driver display, Wi-Fi hotspot, and an upgraded surround sound system.
A number of the First Edition Trim items can be individually specified and depending on the trim level a number of additional packages are also available.
The Comfort and Convenience Package offers 3-stage ventilated, heated and cooled front seats with heating in the rear and soft close doors. The Driver Assistance Package further enhances safety with park assist, blind spot assist, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition systems. The Luxury Interior Upgrade Package adds four-zone climate control, ambient lighting, suede/cloth headliner and manual rear side sunblinds while the Technology Package adds the surround sound system, navigation pro and virtual instrument cluster to the Sportbrake S trim.
The Jaguar Sportbrake introduces some much-welcome variety into the German dominated luxury car sector. The stylish Sportbrake body style adds practicality to the sporty XF sedan package and with a wide range of standard and available options this luxurious Jaguar is a very worthy alternative to the usual suspects.