Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Jaguar XF Sportbrake, rear action
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, front action 2
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, side static
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, side action
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, front action
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, boot
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, dashboard
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, front
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, badge
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, front, action
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, side, action
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, rear, action
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, interior
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, cargo space

ONE look at Jaguar's sleek XF Sportbrake tells you why the company chose the name.

In effect it's the estate car version of the best selling XF saloon but to call it that would be like calling Concorde an aircraft. It's factual but doesn't do it justice.

There was a time when estate cars were big, square and bulky, but not any more. And the Sportbrake is the perfect example of how things have changed.

In fact it's so stylish it's questionable whether it doesn't outshine its saloon car sibling.

With its Jaguar-typical long front, low stance, swept back windows and wolf-whistle sexy rear it's certainly glamorous with a capital G.

But with its low front skirt, stylish alloy wheels and purposeful twin exhausts the Sportbrake also lives up to its sporty name.

It's a model which is available with diesel engines only, with a choice of either 2.2-litre or 3.0-litre - although in both cases they come with the option of two different power outputs.

This 3.0-litre XF was the lower powered 240bhp in Portfolio spec, compared to the beefier 275bhp 3.0-litre Diesel S.

And while it's nice to have that little bit of extra power, the silky smooth performance of the standard model is quick enough for most people.

It offers a subtle blend of sporting luxury, silent motoring and estate car practicality.

The cabin, which is identical to the saloon, is stylish yet business-like, good looking yet practical with a nice mix of wood veneer and etched metal.

As you push the starter button on the centre console the round gearshift rises up and the dashboard air vents revolve to the open position. A brilliant example of automotive theatre.

The V6 is mated to a superb eight-speed automatic gearbox which offers imperceptible, silky changes while always keeping the revs to a minimum.

For more brisk motoring you can always engage Sport rather than Drive or even use the paddles to drive the car manually. And because of the number of gears that really is good fun with superb flexibility for the sort of sporting drive that will put a smile on anyone's face.

Floor the accelerator hard and the cars drops two or three gears and leaps forward. The power is delivered in a very refined way rather than throwing you back in your seat like some of the more powerful Jaguars, yet power there is a plenty and it keeps on coming.

And if you engage Dynamic Mode this sporty estate becomes even more responsive. It enhances the key vehicle systems so the car can be exploited to the full for real high performance driving, with the rev counter going well into the red zone in every gear.

Nevertheless despite its size and impressive performance the Sportbrake is decidedly frugal. I didn't achieve the claimed mpg but I averaged just over 35mpg, which for a 3.0-litre is impressive.

With cars like this it's hardly surprising Jaguar's sales just keep on increasing.

FAST FACTS

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Price: £47,605

Mechanical: 240bhp, 2,996cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 149mph

0-62mph: 7.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 46

Insurance Group: 42

C02 emissions: 163g/km

Bik rating: 27%

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