Jaguar XF Sportbrake estate - Engines, drive & performance
Sharp, agile, impressive: as long as you don’t look behind you, it’s easy to forget the Jaguar XF Sportbrake is an estate car
Roughly speaking, if you like sharp-handling cars there are two models in this class to choose from: the Jaguar XF Sportbrake and the BMW 5 Series Touring. Both are real driver’s cars, and ones likely to make owners relish long journeys.
Not fussed about taking corners quickly, receiving tactile information through the steering wheel and feeling ‘at one’ with your car? The Mercedes E-Class Estate, Volvo V90 and Audi A6 are worth considering then. None is bad to drive (the latest E-Class is sharper than it’s ever been), but where involvement is concerned, the XF Sportbrake has the best of these three.
Turn into a corner and you’ll instantly know how the Jag is going to behave, where its nose is going to go, how much grip the rear wheels have and how little body lean it’ll exhibit. Uneven roads are effortlessly dealt with, too, but the XF can't quite match the BW 5 Series Touring or Volvo V90 for sheer comfort. The optional Configurable Dynamics package brings adjustable suspension, so you can select a sporty or relaxing ride, or a compromise between the two.
All cars come with a driving mode selector and while the switch for these modes is fiddly to operate, the modes themselves have a real impact on how the XF Sportbrake behaves – even if the Dynamic setting makes the steering a little twitchier than is ideal.
Jaguar XF Sportbrake petrol engines
The 247bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine offered with the XF is smooth and relatively fast one, taking 6.7 seconds to go from 0-62mph and with a top speed of 155mph. But, in normal day-to-day driving, it feels less punchy than the diesel engines, and when you use higher revs, it gets quite coarse and noisy. The 296bhp supercharged petrol adds more oomph.
If your annual mileage pushes you into a diesel, you have many more choices. The 161bhp 2.0-litre engine takes 9.4 seconds to hit 62mph, the 178bhp diesel does the same in 8.8, while the 237bhp diesel takes just 6.7 seconds. They get a bit noisy under hard acceleration, though, and you may experience a moment’s hesitation, which can be slightly unnerving.
There are no such issues with the 3.0-litre, which serves up an effortless surge of acceleration, sprinting from 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds. It’s refined, too, although, with 20-inch alloy wheels fitted and the adjustable suspension in Dynamic Mode, the ride is borderline uncomfortable.
All XF Sportbrakes (bar the 161bhp and 178bhp diesels, which are manual or auto) come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and while this is genuinely smooth, it can get a little flustered when paired with the less powerful diesels.