THE first-ever Jaguar XF Sportbrake destined for the Australian market has revealed all its secrets, including engines with a mix of hatchback-shaming fuel use, raw power and picnic basket-lugging surefootedness.
Due on sale here from November, the XF Sportbrake includes attractive titbits such as quicker electric steering. with prices starting at $90,400.
Unfortunately for us, we missed out on the first-generation British bulldog-friendly XF. It was 6mm longer than the 4955mm one we will get here (although we note the new Sportbrake is still slightly longer than the 4894mm Holden Commodore Sportwagon).
Lay down the 40:20:40 split-fold rear seats and the benefit of the Sportback form is revealed: luggage space leaps from a ho-hum 565 litres to a fridge-swallowing 1700kg. It won’t matter if it’s the family dog or bags of cement loading up the back; the XF Sportbrake includes a self-levelling air suspension down the rear (and wishbones up front).
For the first time, buyers who option up the 1.6-square-metre glass roof option will gain gesture control for the blind, so with a flick of the wrist the sun streaming through it can disappear. With the swipe of a foot under the rear bumper, the height adjustable plastic tailgate – not metal, we note, and featuring a glued-in glass window – will also open automatically.
Engine choices in Europe include four-cylinder petrol engines from Jaguar Land Rover’s growing Ingenium engine family. A range-topping V6 diesel will serve up 221kW and 700Nm, enough for a 6.6sec 0-100km/h sprint. All will use a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic sending drive to the rear wheels.
Jaguar says the interior will be better than the Sportbrake we never saw. This generation adds 51mm to the wheelbase to stretch it to 2960mm, a move the Brit luxury brand says “optimises rear legroom and load space and contributes to the vehicle's refined ride quality”.
The XF Sportbrake R-Sport will use a 184kW/365Nm four-cylinder turbo petrol engine or a 132kW/430Nm 2.0-litre diesel, while the S will potentially use the diesel V6.
From the front, the Sportbrake is all Jaguar XF sedan, right down to its LED headlamps. The further back you go, though, the wagon-like extended roofline, rated to 100kg, gives an impression the load-lumping version is much longer than the sedan.
Inside, buyers have the option of a full-colour 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10-inch central touchscreen, mood lighting in 10 shades and 20-way adjustable seats with power headrests.
The interior also gains a first for Jaguar. Called Cabin Air Ionisation, the system keeps the air inside the Sportbrake smelling fresh.
Audiophiles will delight in the fact that the rear speakers are roof-mounted, with a 17-speaker system available on the options list.
You also need not worry about how you’re going to squeeze all that Jaguar form into a shopping centre car park; five cameras provide a 360-degree view around the Sportbrake, which can steer itself into an available spot while the driver controls the steering, gear selection and brake pedal.
The Jaquar XF Sportbrake goes on sale next week and will include a special S First Edition 30d model featuring some of the key optional extras as standard, including the powered gesture tailgate, silver roof rails, panoramic sunroof, Farallon Pearl Black premium paint, 19-inch Portfolio seven split-spoke alloy wheels, and 'activity key' bracelet, which is like a Fitbit also opens your car.
2018 Jaguar XF pricing
- XF Sportbrake R-Sport 20d - $90,400
- XF Sportbrake R-Sport 20t - $91,400
- XF Sportbrake S 30d - $123,450
- XF Sportbrake S First Edition 30d - $137,300