Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1
  • Conventional line-up of combustion engines
  • No hybrid or electric powertrain to choose from
  • All-wheel drive available

What engine options are there?

There’s a simplified choice of three engines for the XF Sportbrake, limited to four-cylinder diesel and petrol units since the 2021 facelift. All come with an eight speed automatic gearbox, which is smooth and seamless in its shifting, with sharpened up responses in sportier Dynamic mode. You can also manually override it by using the metal steering wheel-mounted paddles, but we found the responses to be so well-judged, we hardly ever felt the need to use them.

There’s a mix of rear- or four-wheel drive (AWD-badged) drivetrains, with the latter available as an option on the diesel, but comes fitted as standard on the most powerful P300.

Engine Power and torque
0-62mph time
Top speed
D200 2.0-litre diesel 204hp, 430Nm 7.8secs 143mph
D200 2.0-litre diesel AWD 204hp, 430Nm 8.0secs 143mph
P250 2.0-litre petrol 250hp, 365Nm 6.7secs 150mph
P300 2.0-litre petrol AWD 300hp, 400Nm 6.2secs 155mph

While the P250 doesn’t make the most exciting of noises, it’s fast enough for most drivers. It’s just a shame the lustier V6 motor in either diesel or petrol form isn’t available. 

The bulk of the XF Sportbrake sales will be D200 diesel in rear-wheel drive form, offering a good balance of performance and economy. It doesn’t feel as wheezy as the older D180 unit and while it doesn’t feel particularly brawny, performance is brisk enough. The AWD model sends power to the front wheels to maximise traction and offers a smoother power delivery, so it doesn’t necessarily feel as fast, even if you cover ground at a similar pace.

Switch the drive mode dial into Dynamic mode and this sharpens up the throttle response and encourages the automatic gearbox to change down sooner as you accelerate. This will as also let the engine rev higher before shifting up to access the engine’s power for longer. We found the engine’s performance to be noticeably more urgent and eager, willing to work hard to deliver its performance. Switch to Eco mode and this has the opposite effect.

Engines no longer available

Entry-spec used to be the 163hp car with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox and rear-wheel drive. You got 380Nm of torque from 1,750rpm, a 0-62mph time of 9.3 seconds (the auto takes an extra tenth), plus a top speed of 132mph.

While this was the worthiest and cleanest of XF Sportbrake powerplants, it’s also the slowest, and probably worth overlooking unless low CO2 is a real selling point.

Our previous favourite engine was the D240 diesel, with 240hp and 500Nm of torque. This came with four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox as standard, taking just 6.7 seconds to race from 0-62mph and tops out at 150mph.

Jaguar expected this to be the best-selling engine of the time and it’s easy to see why, thanks to its near-six-cylinder performance and four-cylinder running costs.

If, however, you wanted proper six-cylinder performance then Jaguar had you covered with the 300hp, 3.0-litre V6. This one is automatic and rear-wheel drive as standard, and generates a mighty 700Nm of torque.

Twin turbochargers equated to a model-best 0-62mph time of 6.6 seconds and top speed of 155mph, although running costs inevitably took a hit.

How does it handle?

  • Choice of rear- and four-wheel drive variants
  • Strong grip levels and composed body control
  • Handles and drives as a Jaguar should

Regardless of whether you pick rear- or four-wheel drive, the Jaguar XF Sportbrake was designed to handle like the saloon car, despite being about 115kg heavier.

Helping to maintain the four-door’s composure, even with a Smeg fridge in the boot, is a standard self-levelling air suspension set up at the back. Otherwise the chassis is business as usual.

We’ve only driven the four-wheel drive variant and really rate the way it handles – from the high grip levels on offer, but also how it feels more rear-biased than an Audi A6.

Throw in the neat body control that inspires confidence, weighty controls and this makes the XF feel solid and poised in the bends.

Near-perfect weight distribution gives an agile and balanced feel too, and you’ll notice that when you turn the front wheels into a corner, where the XF Sportback feels pointy thanks to its direct steering response.

The brakes are strong, too, shedding speed so effectively the XF Sportbrake feels lighter on its feet than its on-paper figures suggest.

Cornering technology enhances handling

Four-wheel drive cars can split their power 50/50 between the front and rear axles, but in normal running conditions most of it goes rearwards. As a result the XF Sportbrake feels predominately rear driven until it starts to lose traction, at which point the AWD system shunts torque forwards.

A system called Intelligent Driveline Dynamics works to eliminate understeer (where the front wheels lose grip in a corner) or the need for the stability control to intervene by cutting the power. As a result, you can take corners at higher speeds and get back on the power sooner without interruption, making the Jaguar XF Sportbrake a fun and responsive car to drive.

Optional adaptive damper technology monitors body movements 100 times per second so it can optimise the suspension set up for the type of road you are on, improving comfort and handling, while the Configurable Dynamics package (also an option on automatic cars) allows you to tailor the steering, throttle and gearshift modes manually.