Jaguar XF Sportbrake 2.2 diesel 163 Premium Luxury
When Jaguar decided to move away from ‘fleet’ in 2009 it killed off the much maligned X-Type which was it’s main corporate contender.Perhaps the most missed version of the X-Type was the estate whose customers were incredibly keen on the model. Move forward five years & with the success of the gorgeous XF saloon Jaguar, in order to capitalise on the luxury end of this market, recently launched an estate version of the XF the XF Sportbrake, which arrived at CCV in March for a test drive.
My test car was powered by the 2.2 diesel 163PS engine, which is the model that offers the most attractive proposition for company car drivers. The basic price for my test car was £38,295. Standard equipment on the outside included bi-function automatic HID Xenon headlamps with LED DRL’s, rear & front parking aids with touch screen visual indicator, rain sensing wipers, a powered tailgate & flush aluminum roof rails, 17″ alloys. Inside the cabin is luxuriously appointed, with bond grain leather electrically adjustable seats, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth, DAB receiver, SatNav with HDD mapping & in the boot a useful load space track & roller blind cover. £38,295,
The dashboard is enhanced with revolving air vents & there is also a cylindrical gear lever in chrome which pops up when you start the engine. The Jaguar SatNav & Bluetooth systems were impressive, with the former making me aware of exactly where I was at any given time & the latter being simple to connect to & make calls from. The touch screen as well as the speedo & rev counter dials were finished in a fetching light blue another nice touch by Jaguar. The charcoal grey interior roof lining is also very nice & is finished in a faux suede which matches the door trims. I should also mention that the passenger room is first class particularly in the rear & that there’s 560 litres on offer in the boot with the seats up, which increases to 1,675 litres with them folded down. We filled the back with all our gear & this illustrated to me that the whole point of taking the Sportbrake over the XF saloon is the practicality of the extra load space.
Unsurprisingly, safety & security are impressive on the Sportbrake as well, with front seat whiplash protection, cornering braking control, EBA, pedestrian contact sensing & a plethora of air bags.
Despite the additional weight over the XF saloon, the Sportbarke handles well with the sharp accurate steering giving the driver a real feel for the car. The automatic sequential gear box whirs a bit from start up as it tries to find the correct gear which can be a little disconcerting at first, but at motorway cruising speeds it simply eats up the miles. I travelled from Altrincham to York & back on a busy weekend & the Sportbrake was pure joy to pilot with additions such as the cruise control with automoatic speed limiter making light work of my journey which allowed me to drive at a safe distance from the car in front.
The 2.2 unit is a little gruff at low speeds too, with some mechanical clatter heard coming from the engine compartment at start up & you certainly know that you’re in a diesel. The Jag is fitted with a standard StopStart system which is both unobtrusive & one of the better versions I’ve experienced. It definitely helps lower your fuel usage in town as well as in stationary motorway traffic. Talking of which the claimed combined fuel economy is 57.7 mpg with CO2 emissions of 129g/km. With my uncontrolled driving style I averaged just over 43 mpg, not bad when you consider I had four passengers & a fully laden boot for my entire journey there & back. Top speed is 130 mph & 0-60 mph is reached in 9.8 seconds, but it’s the mid range pulling power of the engine that stands out.
Comparing the Sportbrake to the E Class estate or 5 Series Touring isn’t that straightforward. The Merc is more accomplished at lower speeds, but not as well put together & the BMW may have better handling, but the XF is a more comfortable car to be in. All in all it’s a fantastic alternative to either & of course offers the driver that Jaguar feeling you don’t get in a German car !
The XF Sportbrake is undoubtedly an excellent car & Jaguar are to be commended for returning an estate to the range. If you need an executive load lugger then I can highly recommend it & with the the ranges new lower CO2 figure of 129g/km CO2 this will only help strengthen the Sportbrake & XF saloons appeal. One thing to bear in mind if you’re seriously looking at an XF, is that the XF saloon is even more enjoyable to drive than the Sportbrake , which could make the choice rather difficult.
I’ll avoid the Thunderbirds comparison I used when I drove the XF saloon & this time will simply say that.
Spectrum is Green 4/5.