Jaguar XF Sportbrake estate - Interior & comfort
Taking a different approach to German rivals means the Jaguar XF Sportbrake is calm inside – although the infotainment system is a pain
Standards are high in the executive estate class and the Jaguar XF Sportbrake has a decent interior. It lacks the technological ‘wow’ factor the BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class Estate have, but if you prefer your dashboards to be subtly elegant rather than glossy tech-fests, you’ll be happy.
Jaguar XF Sportbrake dashboard
Jaguar has kept the previous Sportbrake’s rotary gear selector and pirouetting air vents for this latest version and these flourishes lend the car enough of a sense of occasion. Physical buttons for the heating and air-conditioning are present, correct and simple enough to use, and while both heated front seats are controlled with a single button and the touchscreen, this is a small bugbear.
Another minor niggle is the driving mode selector. A feature like this should be intuitively usable, and controllable without taking your eyes off the road. But in XF Sportbrakes you select the modes via a long, thin switch with buttons at each end. Problem is, this switch’s slender double-ended nature (and the fact it’s flanked by other buttons) means a cursory glance is required when making your selection – not what you want when the call of the open road presents itself.
And while we’re focusing on the negatives, the infotainment setup is nowhere near as slick as Mercedes and BMW’s systems. Its menu structure isn’t as intuitive, Apple CarPlay is noticeable in its absence, and while an eight-inch screen is standard, you have to pay extra for a 10.2-inch system (something all 5 Series Tourings come with), even in top-spec cars.
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Those gripes may make it sound like we don’t like the XF Sportbrake’s interior, but that’s not the case. Stepping from the immensely sophisticated and complex 5 Series into the XF Sportbrake actually brings with a sense of settled calm, and while this may be hard to pin down in an objective sense, it’s a palpable feeling engendered by the Jag’s ‘got it right first time’ interior design. Material quality, as well as fit and finish, are genuinely impressive, too.
Prestige – the entry-level trim – comes with heated, power-adjustable fabric seats, automatic wipers and lights, a powered tailgate, cruise control, sat nav and ambient lighting.
Upgrade to R-Sport for around £2,300 and you get a light bodykit, 18-inch alloys and leather seats. Portfolio adds softer Windsor leather and some nicer interior trim details, but you have to pay £650 if you want the 10.2-inch infotainment system.
There’s also the opulent S trim, available only with the top 297bhp 3.0-litre diesel engine. This adds 19-inch alloy wheels, a sporty bodykit with black side sills and a boot spoiler, leather sports seats with 10-way adjustment, keyless entry, adaptive suspension and a reversing camera.
Other options include adaptive cruise control and a head-up display (both are over £1,000 each and the head-up display has old-fashioned graphics), a bird’s-eye reversing camera, a self-parking system, a gesture-controlled boot release (activated by waving your foot under the bumper) and a host of extra safety systems, including blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assistance. The panoramic sunroof – new for this version of the XF Sportbrake – costs £1,100 and lifts the interior ambiance further.