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First drive: Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Date: 11 March 2021   |   Author: Simon Harris

A refresh, including big interior updates and mild hybrid tech to take the edge off CO2 emissions, has transformed the Jaguar XF.
Standard equipment:
Rain-sensing windscreen wipers, lane change indicators, boot lid spoiler, heated and electric power fold door mirrors with approach lights and auto-dimming driver side, integrated roof rails, heated windscreen, toughened front and rear side glass, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, two-zone climate control, rear air vents, 40/20/40 folding rear seats with centre armrest, All Surface Progress Control (ASPC), hill launch assistance, JaguarDrive Control, torque vectoring by braking (TVBB), rear self-levelling air suspension, Pivi Pro infotainment, 11.4in touchscreen, analogue dials with central TFT display, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and streaming, Android Auto and Apple Carplay, Online Pack with data plan, eco-driving style assistant, 12V power sockets (4), USB sockets (2).
Petrol: 250hp 2.0, 300hp 2.0
Diesel: 204hp 2.0
Equipment grades:
SE, S R-Dynamic, SE R-Dynamic, HSE R-Dynamic
Eight-speed automatic

As I write this, some time after driving the new XF, Jaguar Land Rover has committed to a new era of electric vehicles within five years.

While this might seem to be a bold move, something about my drive in the latest XF felt like a swansong. As I was being propelled serenely around the northern reaches of the Cotswolds, the XF Sportbrake, powered by a 204hp version of Jaguar's four-cylinder diesel engine, felt like it could be as accomplished as the marque's internal combustion engine models will ever get.

There was no indication at the time that Jaguar was just days away from unveiling a new direction for powertrains, other than a spokesperson confirming that we shouldn't expect to see a plug-in hybrid version of the XF (as customers wanting these could choose the E-Pace or F-Pace), and that for the second half of this model's incarnation it would be more of a retail customer proposition than aiming for fleet business.

The lack of a plug-in variant would be a big factor in luring user-choosers to the XF, especially as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo all have the technology in their rival saloons and estates and, in most cases, would see a company director paying small car BIK tax for the perk of having an executive express as their business car.

But we also keep hearing that, for the short to medium-term at least, there are still many drivers who are better off choosing diesel.

That sounds like a good place to start - the updated XF is available with one diesel option. It uses new mild hybrid technology to help reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, enabling the 204hp version of the engine to offer improved figures on its 180hp predecessor.

The cost figures we produce on this page is for the R-Dynamic S, although the car we tried was a slightly better equipped R-Dynamic SE.

The S has analogue instruments whereas SE and HSE have a full digital binnacle, but the entry-level model looks great value, especially as the XF range has undergone a price cut across the range between it being announced and orders being taken.

The equipment list shows how much the XF offers for the money, and all models come with the Pivi infotainment system, which is easy to learn, and comes with a slightly convex large touchscreen that is easier on the eye and finger.

Gone is the old rotary control for the gear selector, as the XF has a new, short, self-centring joystick. Jaguar really is ringing in the changes for the car's final few years of this generation.

The engine is supremely refined and has more than enough performance in the XF Sportbrake, plus our test car also featured noise cancelling in the cabin.

With rivals such as the supreme BMW 5 Series and impressive Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the Jaguar XF shows it still has a few tricks up its sleeve, and isn't shying away from the competition.

Jaguar XF D200 Sportbrake R-Dynamic S 

P11D: £35,270

Residual value: 42.8%

Depreciation: £20,436

Fuel: £6,062

Service, maintenance and repair: £3,399

Cost per mile: 49.8p

Fuel consumption: 53.7mpg

CO2 (BIK band): 138g/km (31%) 

BIK 20/40% a month: £182/£364

Boot space: 565 litres

Engine size/power: 1,999cc/204hp


  • Smooth and refined
  • Super interior
  • Excellent value
  • No plug-in hybrid offer