05 December 2013

Full Jaguar XF Sportbrake (12 on) Model Review

by Gareth Evans, Deputy Road Test Editor

Jaguar XF Sportbrake R-Sport looks great on the road with revised front bumper
  • The Jaguar XF Sportbrake R-Sport drives incredibly well on optional Adaptive Dynamics and 19-inch alloys
  • Evocative Jaguar brand appeals to many
  • Subtle R-Sport badging blends well with bodykit and alloys
  • XF cabin gets more subtle R-Sport badging and stainless steel pedals
  • XF Sportbrake not only has larger boot but looks very nice too
  • Bi-Xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights come as standard on R-Sport
  • We're big fans of the refined 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine in the Jaguar XF
  • New sports-based trim for diesel Jaguar XF models
  • We drive and evaluate 3.0 V6 diesel Sportbrake
  • Priced from £39,860, our car £45,135 with options
Jaguar XF Sportbrake (12 on) 3.0d V6 R-Sport 5d Auto - Road Test
This is the Jaguar XF Sportbrake R-Sport – a new trim level available on all XF models. It’s there to regain headway in a premium market dominated by BMW M Sport, Audi S Line and Mercedes-Benz AMG Sport badging.

This is the Jaguar XF Sportbrake R-Sport – a new trim level available on all XF models. It’s there to regain headway in a premium market dominated by BMW M Sport, Audi S Line and Mercedes-Benz AMG Sport badging.

What that means is a sporty (notice that word keeps cropping up?) appearance with the lower running costs afforded by a diesel engine under the bonnet.

So what does R-Sport mean?

It means you get a lot of kit as standard. The outside of the car is enhanced with a revised front bumper, new side sills, a rear spoiler and badges on the vents behind the front wheels.

The cabin gets R-Sport badging on the steering wheel and stainless steel pedals along with leather and suede seats. You also get an upgraded sat-nav system controlled by the seven-inch touchscreen in the central console, keyless entry and start, a 250-watt sound system with MP3 and radio plus Bluetooth handsfree connectivity and audio streaming.

Rear parking sensors thrown in too, which is a bonus on the larger Sportbrake (read: estate) version of the XF we’re testing here.

Diesel engines provide either performance or low costs

As we alluded to earlier, there’s a choice of diesel engines on offer with R-Sport trim. While the pair of 2.2-litre diesels are far more likely to appeal to company car drivers or those looking for the lowest-possible running costs, by far the nicest to drive is the one we’ve got here.

The 3.0-litre V6 diesel is a real peach of an engine. It’s smooth, quiet and incredibly rewarding to drive when coupled with the slick eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Power is rated at 237bhp, while there’s a hefty 500Nm of torque on offer which helps this model cover 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds. It’s the in-gear acceleration we really like though; you never feel short-changed for power during normal driving and over-taking slower traffic simply isn’t an issue.

While it is a diesel, performance like that comes at the expense of running costs. With CO2 emissions of 163g/km you’ll be looking at £175 per in car tax, while company car drivers will be in for 27 percent Benefit-in-Kind tax. If that’s an issue for you, we suggest looking at the lower-powered 2.2-litre diesel with its 129g/km CO2 emissions.

Fuel economy is a claimed 46.3mpg on average, yet we’d suspect hitting over 35mpg in the real world is going to prove quite difficult. Again, the 2.2 will be better if this is something you’re concerned about.

Optional extras explored

On top of the generous kit R-Sport trim offers, our car had a number of optional extras to make the car feel extra special.

It has a 19-inch alloy wheel upgrade costing £800, and this is supplemented by a 19-inch space-saver spare for another £150.

Adaptive Dynamics cost £1,020 and mean the suspension will always provide the comfiest ride since it evaluated the road conditions and adjusts it accordingly. While this may seem unnecessary frippery, to many a Jaguar should be as comfortable as possible. Instead of spending £800 on bigger wheels and lower-profile tyres which will be noisier and harsher over bumps, why not go the other way? Or, for better aesthetics, go for both.

A cocktail of parking sensors up front and a rear parking camera will set you back £500, and will come in very useful in crowded car parks. Shelling out £590 on the upgraded ‘Meridian’ hi-fi might only appeal to music aficionados, and paying £460 for a blind-spot monitor seems excessive at first yet may well prevent an accident.

The Winter Comfort Pack is a nice little addition which is likely to help your car’s residual values as well as making life easier in cold weather; for £570 you get a heated windscreen which clears frost and ice extremely quickly while you sit in the cabin on the three-stage heated front seats.

Should you buy one?

If you’re in the market for a large saloon or estate car then Jaguar’s R-Sport trim is definitely worthy of consideration. One thing we will say in its favour over offerings from Mercedes, BMW and Audi is that it’s a far more comfortable car since there’s no harsh lowering of the suspension to unsettle the ride.

Whether you should pick the 3.0-litre V6 diesel is a matter of priorities. Its refinement is streets ahead of the four-cylinder 2.2, but its running costs lag a way behind.

Our car cost £39,860 with no optional extras, rising to £45,135 including all extras.

You can read our full Jaguar XF Sportbrake review by clicking here.