Review: Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6

Review: Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
Review: Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6

Dashingly handsome XF estate packages the saloon’s attributes with the silken diesel V6

We’ve already tried Jaguar’s latest XF Sportbrake in all-wheel-drive-only 237bhp 2.0-litre diesel form. Now there are two more engine options, both driving the rear wheels: a 2.0-litre 247bhp four-cylinder Ingenium petrol, and this 3.0-litre V6 diesel.

The Sportbrake monicker might seem to imply a degree of style over practicality, but Jaguar has handled the space numbers pretty well. You have 565 litres of boot room with the rear seats up (the saloon has 540). Put the seats down and you’ve got a BMW 5 Series Touring-rivalling 1700 litres. The massive Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon whips both, but it’s still a decent effort.

Jaguar XF Sportbrake 3.0 TDV6

Price: £49,600
Engine: 3.0-litre, V6, twin-turbocharged diesel
Power: 296bhp
Torque: 374lb ft
Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic
Kerbweight: 1805kg
Top speed: 150mph
0-62mph: 6.7sec
Fuel economy: 49.6mpg
CO2 rating/BIK: 149g/km

Better yet, Jaguar has engineered in flat boot sides and tweaked rear seats to create a properly flat floor when the back perches are folded away. We’d always take that sort of design bonus over a few extra litres of space, given the choice.

As you’d expect, the predominantly aluminium-chassised Sportbrake has the same double-wishbone front, integral link rear suspension set up as the saloon, but rear springing is by air rather than steel so as to keep the car level with loads. The ’Brake will also tow 2000kg.

Inside, there’s stylish design but not quite the same feeling of density as you get when prodding a German exec’s cabin surfaces. Similarly, Jaguar’s entertainment and information screens are fine in isolation, but less fine in comparison to some others in terms of ultimate speed and crispness.

Where the Jaguar really scores is on its dynamic character. Development testing on shocking British roads clearly gives it an edge. The result – a mix of steering precision, comfortable and controlled ride, refinement, composure and driver satisfaction – is sparklingly good, and crushes every rival.

We liked the 2.0 diesel engine, but the 296bhp 3.0-litre V6 is even more recommendable if your budget allows. The notoriously unrealistic official figures say that the 49.6mpg RWD 3.0 V6 is more fuel-efficient than the 48.7mpg AWD 2.0. If we take that underlying superiority as a given, and add in the fact that the eight-speed ZF auto in the V6 doesn’t have to work as hard, it could well be that the real-world difference may be even more distinct.

The 2.0-litre petrol is a little that bit lighter, smoother, quieter, and more responsive than either of the diesels, and the lighter front end takes away that nose-heavy feeling you get in a diesel, but there you’re talking about an official 41.5mpg.

What about this particular XF Sportbrake, the 3.0 diesel, though?

The competition in this class is so tough that any car entering it needs to be pretty special to warrant consideration. We’d say this is the most handsome car in the class, which is a valid reason for buying one, and we reckon it’s the most pleasurable drive in the class too. It feels as agile as the class-below Alfa Romeo Giulia, which is a good compliment.

The Jaguar has its limitations, sure, but they’re nowhere near big enough to put anyone but the most rabid Jaguar-haters off buying one.

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