Motor Review - Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Jaguar XF Sportbrake - Credit: Archant

The Sportbrake has our motoring correspondent Syd Taylor purring with pleasure

Does the roaring heart of the new Jaguar still beat, or is the new breed a domestic pussycat? In short, are Jaguars still tearing the opposition to tatters with their sharp claws or are they rolling to have their tummies tickled?

uch thoughts necessarily spin through the brain when one prepares to test a Jaguar that is not only a diesel (shock horror!) but an estate car to boot. Are the driver and passengers destined for a heady rush of excitement? The only way to find out is to take a deep breath and dive straight on it.

Designer Ian Callum has added an estate back to the XF saloon without compromising the excellence of the design - and some would say it is even more attractive, with a purity of form that mirrors the elegant engineering. One thing’s for sure: there’s not so much as a centimetre of constructional flab in a design that has definition like a muscled torso.

Intended to compete with the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6, it faces a tall order. The line which divides competence from charisma may be very fine when judging these cars but it’s everything when you consider the pinnacles they have reached. This Jaguar gets under your skin and goes straight for the pleasure point. Few can match its combination of style and that feline air of latent ferocity that makes the Sportbrake a most exciting yet relaxing motor car.

Step inside and there’s a stunning combination of the practical and luxurious, with lots of room and loads of equipment. Replete with luxury and feel-good factor appurtenances, there’s a concert hall quality sound system, heated and cooled seats, navigation system and anything else you might need that’s been invented. But you expect that on the portfolio version at £46,690. (Prices range from £31,940 to £51,505 ).

There’s plenty of room for driver and four passengers and, of course, with 560 litres of load space it’s a useful estate. It really is one of the most comfortable cars to be in and for the driver, is totally relaxing.

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The 2.2 litre 163PS diesel is a gem of an engine. Driving through an eight speed ZF automatic gearbox to the rear wheels it wafts you along gracefully all the way to a top speed of around 125mph and yet Jaguar say that, overall, you’ll get 54.3 mpg. I say that’s a tad optimistic and just about 43mpg is more likely.

The sheer effortlessness of it all drives it home to you that you couldn’t be anywhere else than at the wheel of a Jaguar. ‘Grace, Space, and Pace’ are still the watchwords of this marque.

Few cars do what this one does with that same ineffable ease of manner. It has often been said that the mark of a true aristocrat is effortless superiority. On that reckoning, the XF Sportbrake can justifiably claim true nobility.

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