Best-looking large estate is also great to drive
- Looks great
- Drives well
- Comfy cabin
- Comfy ride
- Interior plastics
- No V6 petrol
- AdBlue filler in boot
- No hybrid or PHEV
The Jaguar XF Sportbrake is the exciting face of large estate car ownership – previously it was available with a bonkers V8 engine and was most famously seen painted in Team Sky colours and carrying a load of racing bikes on the Tour de France.
Now that Jaguar offers a practical five-door lifestyle vehicle in the form of the on-trend F-Pace SUV, it means that this second-generation XF estate has a lot of work to do to assert itself in a market less and less interested in wagons, regardless of fancy Sportbrake moniker.
Happily it’s back doing what it does best – offering a mix of Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate practicality, with a driving experience to rival the BMW 5 Series Touring, and the left-field appeal of a Volvo V90.
Slimmer engine range
While all the bases are covered by the Sportbrake’s five engines, none of them are as interesting as the mad V8 in the previous-generation XFR-S.
That said, you can have a supremely torquey V6 diesel, an ultra-modern 250hp turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol, or a mainstay Ingenium diesel with three different power outputs.
There’s a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive, the latter promising the same driving dynamic of the former but with more traction for all-season use.
Four trim levels and loads of kit
From there you can pick trims with a more luxury or sporting slant, with the ultimate S spec bringing with it a bodykit, big wheels and powerful audio system.
Plus there are loads of driver assistance options and of course a catalogue full of lifestyle accessories like roof racks for kayaks or a tow-bar mounted bike carrier.
Still a benchmark in the handling stakes
One of our favourite XF Sportbrake characteristics, other than its looks, is the way it drives. No other large estate strikes such a fine balance between comfort and handling dynamics.
That’s especially true if you spec the optional adaptive suspension, which broaden the Sportbrake’s talents considerably.
This car comes with specially tuned rear air suspension, with Jaguar promising the exact same handling as the saloon. On the whole, it delivers.
The Parkers Verdict
The Jaguar XF Sportbrake eschews the workaday looks of its more conventional rivals and leaves them in the dust in terms of handling.
It might not have the biggest boot in class or the outright comfiest ride, but we reckon it’s as good an all-rounder as you’ll find these days.