IT has been a long time arriving but the Jaguar XF Sportbrake has already made a massive impact on the premium estate car market which had been monopolised by their three arch German rivals Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz writes Bryan Longworth.
The Sportbrake which is a classy name for the sleek Jaguar estate is based on the XF saloon that was launched around five years ago but rather surprisingly the prestige British manufacturer now owned by an Indian company took such a long time before introducing their up market load lugger.
This allowed the Audi A6 Avant, BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class estate to get established but the Sportbrake has been catching up fast earning plenty of accolades and it has just been voted as top tow car in its sector where it beat formidable competitors including the Merc and its long term residual value forecast is also better than the German rivals.
It is not really surprising that the Jaguar estate has won such an award for its self levelling rear air suspension maintains a constant height which is ideal for towing such things as caravans and boats and also for carrying heavy loads in the large load area.
My test car the XF Sportbrake Portfolio powered by a very smooth and quiet 271bhp 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged diesel engine is the top model at £51,505 (prices start at around £20,000 less) and it attracted a lot of admirers confirming to me that this is arguably the best looking premium estate car especially when compared to the German trio.
Potential owners who can afford this particular model and want sporting performance potential should go for it because its limited top speed of 155mph, zero to 60mph sprint time of 6.1 seconds and a combined fuel consumption of 46.3mpg (the car’s computer showed this to be less) make it an ideal long distance grand tourer for a long haul journey such as that to the south of France which is one of my favourite drives.
Drive to the rear wheels is through an eight speed automatic gearbox which can also be used manually through steering wheel paddles and the handling and roadholding qualities linked with the performance made the Sportbrake such an enjoyable car to drive both for fast motorway motoring and on winding and steep Pennine roads.
In the luxurious leather clad interior the instruments and controls are extremely user friendly with an easy to see speedometer and a touch screen infotainment unit including the easy to tune radio although numerals on the digital speedometer should be larger.
The power operated tailgate accesses a large load area which is wide enough to accommodate golf bags stowed sideways and the rear seats can be easily folded by pulling on two levers at each side near the tailgate that further extends the load space.
Another bonus for Sportbrake owners is that there is more headroom for rear seat passengers because of the extended roof over the load area and this helps to provide those in the back with plenty of space providing a very comfortable seating area that is ideal for long journeys.
My only grumble is that I feel such features as xenon headlamps with adaptive front lighting, front parking aid and rear camera plus an alloy space saver wheel and adaptive front lighting should all have been standard equipment considering the price of the top model and not options costing well over £2,000.
The sleek styling of the Sportbrake makes it arguably the best looking estate in this executive sector and its performance, load capability and top quality interior provides owners with a British built vehicle they can be proud of.
My Verdict: The complete luxury estate.
Model: Jaguar XF Sportbrake 3.0 V6 Portfolio.
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged diesel.
Output: 271bhp 4000rpm.
Transmission: Eight speed automatic.
Top speed: 155mph (limited).
Acceleration: 0 to 60mph 6.1 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 46.3mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 163g/km.
Price: £51,505 on the road.