Jaguar XF Sportbrake

R-Sport 2.0 diesel

Jaguar XF Sportbrake, 2017, front, action
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, 2017, side, action
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, 2017, front, static
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, 2017, rear, action
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, 2017, rear, static
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, 2017, dashboard
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, 2017, rear seats
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, 2017, rear seats folded
Jaguar XF Sportbrake, 2017, boot, minimum

NOT to so long ago an office worker wouldn't have dreamt of turning up at work without a tie.

He probably wouldn't have gone out for dinner in jeans and a jumper either. Now it's the norm...casual is cool. We are more free and easy, more practical and anything goes - well, almost.

It's the same with cars. Your typical business exec who used to drive a posh four-door saloon like a BMW 5-Series or Jaguar XJ has more often than not switched to something more outdoorsy ie an SUV or an estate, a vehicle that reflects his or her leisure and family life better.

So limos and luxury saloons are out and high-riders and sports wagons are in.

Which is where Jaguar is gaining ground with the E-PACE and F-PACE. And if you still prefer the handling characteristics and saloon driveability of a conventional car there's the Sportbrake which is really an estate car.

Based on the XF saloon, it has all the comfort and cosseting you could wish for with the added bonus of a big luggage platform and an opening tailgate.

Despite the considerable girth the elegant shooting brake relies on a relatively small 2.0 turbocharged diesel motor. But with 237bhp to call on performance is brisk if not breathtaking. 62mph comes up in under seven seconds and it finally runs out of steam at 150mph.

An eight-speed automatic gearbox is appropriate for Jag's relaxed character and by and large works well, although at times it's a tad slow witted, most noticeably when making a fast getaway at a roundabout or T- junction.

Economy in our hands averaged at 37mpg - not bad for a fast moving luxury holdall.

As with the saloon on which it is based, the XF is refined and comfortable with low mechanical and wind noise and well-shaped seating that keeps you fresh even after a long journey. The cabin design is starting to show its age with a relatively small touchscreen and some fiddly switchgear.

The R-Sport tested comes generously specced with self-levelling suspension, heated front seats, twin-zone climate control, heated insulation glass and sat nav as standard. A fixed glass panoramic roof is a £1,125 extra as is rear privacy glass at £395.

One of the attributes that mark Jaguars out as special is the quality of the steering. There are bags of feel and feedback to the driver and it weights up nicely as you negotiate a bend. True to form, the Sportbrake continues this tradition.

Driven hard, the four cylinder engine remains smooth until higher revs are reached when a distinct harshness comes into play, somewhat reducing the general refinement.

While there's ample room for four, or even five passengers, luggage space is more limited than some rivals with similar external dimensions. With rear seats in place there's 565 litres of cargo room which expands to 1,700 litres when they are folded down. There's no option of extra small seats for children.

FAST FACTS

Jaguar XF Sportbrake R-Sport 2.0 diesel

Price: £43,810

Mechanical:237bhp, 1,999cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 150mph

0-62mph: 6.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 41.5

Insurance Group: 34

C02 emissions: 157g/km

Bik rating: 35%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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