Road test 

Car: Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Prices: £31,940 - £51,505 – on the road

Insurance groups: tba

Performance: 2.2 200PS 0-60mph 8.2.s / Max Speed 134mph

Fuel consumption: 2.2 200PS (combined) 55.4mpg

Standard safety features: Twin front, side, front & rear curtain airbags / anti lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution / electronic stability control, rear parking camera

Dimensions: length/width/height 4966/1877/1480mm

Jaguar XF Sportbrake
BRAKE DANCE
The XF is a much improved model in the Jaguar line up but while the market has responded to the improvements that have been made, there's not been a lot of variety in the choice of bodystyles on offer - until the XF Sportbrake arrived.


This sporty estate model features a 550-litre boot and sleek

styling.

The XF Sportbrake is the first Jaguar to be launched without a petrol engine in the engine line-up.

Jaguar reckon never to say never on that particular score, but for the time being at least, Sportbrake customers get to choose between a 2.2-litre diesel and a 3.0-litre - and both come in two differing states of tune.

The 3.0-litre diesel is available in 240 and 275PS flavours and there's an economical four-cylinder 2.2-litre, good for either 163 or 200PS.

Why such a focus on oil burners?

Jaguar's figures show that the XF saloon sells overwhelmingly in diesel form and given that estate buyers tend to be even more practical, it really made sense to focus on offering economical, low emission engines.

The entry level 163PS 2.2-litre diesel will be quick enough for most, stopping the watch as it passes through 60mph in 10 seconds.

The 200PS version, which is actually just as clean and economical, manages it in a far more sprightly 8.2s, on the way to a 142mph maximum.

With 450Nm of torque available from only 2,000rpm, there's no shortage of muscle with this engine, and the XF eight-speed auto transmission means you're always plugged into the meat of it.

Across the XF range, advances have been made in refinement with active engine mounts on the diesels and sound deadening material featuring on the car, as well as redesigned wing mirrors to reduce wind noise.

Jaguar is off to a good start on the Sportbrake as the XF is widely acknowledged as one of the cleanest pieces of styling in its class.

The rear glasshouse is artfully integrated into the car's existing chassis hard points, with a genuinely sleek roofline which arches over the rear quarter-lights.

The window line tapers gracefully as the flanks meet the rear glass area with its continuous wrap-around curve.

The one-piece tailgate incorporates a rear spoiler with integrated high-level stop light and a chrome blade finisher.

The rear of the XF Sportbrake also sports full LED tail lights.

The XF Sportbrake's styling can be accentuated on the Diesel S model.

The front bumper design features black mesh inserts for the lower air intakes. Sculpted side sills and a distinctive rear spoiler also feature.

The Jaguar XF was always an easy car to recommend if you wanted a saloon.

Unfortunately, not that many people actually do.

They want the status of the aspirational badge, but also want an element of practicality, of

being able to get the goods in at IKEA or get the rubbish out to the tip.

Of course, the advertisers would have us believe that these cars are bought by thirtysomethings with snowboards, jetskis and dazzling smiles but the truth is a little more prosaic.

The XF Sportbrake does the practical things very well.

So far it's hard to pin a single black mark on TATA Motors' stewardship of Jaguar. Everything is bang on the button.

The XF Sportbrake continues that winning run of form.

It's good looking, well specified, offers that additional element of utility and trades on Jaguar's now excellent reliability and customer satisfaction record.

In other words, it can't fail.
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