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Jaguar XF Sportbrake: Test Drive Review

Date: 27 November 2012   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Category: Executive
P11D price: £36,265
Key rival: BMW 5-series Touring

The new estate version of Jaguar's successful XF, known as the Sportbrake, is expected to poach a new batch of customers for the British brand.

The firm believes it can reel in punters from as yet untapped corners of the market who like the idea of an XF but would never consider a saloon (the only option until now) for practicality reasons.

From a driver's perspective, it isn't hard to see why the XF saloon is BusinessCar's current Executive Car of the Year, and the Sportbrake is all but identical save for the extra bit at the back. The interior is beautifully finished and stylish to boot. It's exceptionally good to drive, too, with nimble handling that belies its size, and a comfortable ride, helped in part by new self-levelling rear suspension, which automatically adjusts itself to counteract heavy loads in the boot.

Leave the eight-speed automatic gearbox to its own devices (i.e. ignore the steering-wheel mounted paddles) and you have a job to know when the shifts take place, such is its smoothness. The only real downside to the whole experience is the 2.2-litre engine, tested here in 200hp guise. It's not a bad unit overall and suits the XF saloon very well, but it requires a little work to haul the estate's extra bulk, and sounds slightly coarse in the process. Wind and road noise are well contained, though, and anyone less concerned with the 2.2-litre diesel's lower running costs can go for the silky and powerful 3.0-litre V6 diesel with either 240hp or 275hp.

The estate is expected to account for 30% of sales in the UK and, in practicality terms, the firm has carved out an additional 48mm of headroom for rear seat passengers over and above the saloon, which is certainly apparent when you sit in the back because there's ample upper body space for adults.

Estates do come larger, including one of the Sportbrake's closest rivals, the Mercedes E-class Estate, which has a cavernous 695-litre boot with the rear seats in place, extending to 1950 litres when they're folded flat. The Jag weighs in with a middling 550 and 1675 litres respectively, which still isn't bad and will more than do the trick for most.

The 2.2-litre diesel engine renders the XF Sportbrake the cleanest Jaguar yet at 135g/km. Its official figure of 55.4mpg leaves it in near identical ground to equivalent E-class estates and it's only 2.2mpg shy and 6g/km dirtier than the cleanest BMW 520d Touring.

Starting P11Ds are also similar for all three rivals, which, on P11D and desirability alone, leaves the Jag as the one you'd want to own in this sector. More affordable estate cars are out there and can do the practical and economical essentials just as well if not better - the cavernous Skoda Superb being the best of the budget crowd - but the XF Sportbrake is undoubtedly the car that will appeal the most to corporate drivers seeking a premium estate.

Jaguar XF Sportbrake 2.2d 200 Luxury
P11D price£36,265
Model price range£31,765-£51,280
CO2 (tax) 135g/km (21%)
Residual value37.4%
National Insurance3303
Cost per mile77.2
Fuel consumption55.4mpg
BIK 20/40% per month£127/£254
Service interval16,000 miles
Insurance (1-50)group 37
Warranty3yrs unlimited mls
Boot space550/1675 litres
Engine size/power2179cc 200hp
Top speed/0-62mph134mph/8.8secs
VerdictArguably the most
desirable of premium
upper medium estates


Arguably the most desirable of premium upper medium estates