DRIVE AWAY PRICE$131,853
14 Jun 2018
What’s hot / what’s not
- Sleek looks for a wagon.
- Stylish and spacious cabin.
- Effortless performance from the potent engine.
- Clunky transmission.
- Expensive compared to SUV alternatives.
- Still need to add safety options despite expensive asking price.
What is it?
The most beautiful wagon you can buy today, at least in this driver’s opinion. Looking just as athletic and sophisticated as its sedan sibling the Sportbrake adds another option to the Jaguar XF range.
Jaguar hopes it will appeal to families and those who simply need the extra space for travel or furry children.
How much does it cost and what do you get?
We’re testing the limited run First Edition model which starts at a hefty $137,300 (plus on-road costs) – $13,850 more than the 30d S model it’s based on.
It’s equipped well for the money, with 19-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, keyless entry and ignition, leather trim, dual-zone airconditioning and an 11-speaker Meridian sound system with digital radio, navigation and Bluetooth.
Unique elements for the First Edition package include ‘Farallon Pearl Black’ paint, hands-free power tailgate, a panoramic roof with gesture-activated sun blind, a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital dashboard as well as the brand’s unique ‘Activity Key’ wristband.
What’s under the bonnet?
Jaguar’s excellent 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel engine that produces 221kW of power and 700Nm of torque, so not surprisingly it has excellent performance.
With so much torque the Sportbrake always feels like it has more to give no matter when you ask for it. It sounds good too, for a diesel at least, with a refined soundtrack without any of the ‘chugging’ you expect from more working-class diesels.
With a claimed 5.9-litres per 100km it’s also impressively efficient given the size of both the engine and the car.
It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission which, to be blunt, does let down the driving experience. It doesn’t feel as smooth as it should, often hesitating on changes and occasionally thumping between ratios when it gets really confused.
What’s it like to drive?
The beauty of a wagon is it gives you the space of an SUV but the driving dynamics of a car. So the Sportbrake feels as engaging as the XF sedan.
The steering is precise and nicely weighted and the chassis responds with more poise than you’d reasonably expect a wagon stretching 4.9m. And in typical Jaguar fashion the ride is firm and controlled but still offers more than enough compliance.
Or to put it another way, this is a wagon you’ll enjoy for its driving character not just its extra big boot.
What’s it like inside?
The original XF reset the design bar for Jaguar (and all luxury cars) with its striking cabin complete with horizontal lines, pulsating starter button and rotary gear selector that rises up out of the centre console on start-up. All those elements are still there as the interior is an evolution rather revolution, so it has a suitably premium ambience.
What it also has is plenty of room even in the back where adults can fit comfortably and relax in the soft leather seats.
As for the boot, it measures 565-litres with the rear seats up and can expand to 1700-litres with the seats folded flat.
One notable issue we had with both this XF Sportbrake and another model tested previously is the infotainment system being troublesome at times. In this example we had unusual difficulty pairing to the Bluetooth and it also repeatedly failed to acknowledge the music player plugged into the USB. Minor problems but the kind of irritations that will send you back to the dealer if they continue.
Is it safe?
Standard safety gear includes full airbag coverage, 360-degree parking camera, front and rear parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning.
But despite being the top-of-the-range model you still need to pay $4360 for the Active Safety Pack that brings blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist to the XF.
Would I buy it?
As someone with a family who values driving enjoyment the XF Sportbrake would definitely be on my shopping list. But at $137k it isn’t cheap, making it more expensive than the F-Pace SUV (30d S from $101,795) and even the all-electric I-Pace that will offer two options for less money.
What else should I consider?
It’s slim pickings when it comes to luxury wagons. Both Audi and Mercedes-Benz only offer the jacked-up, more rugged models – the A6 Avant and E220d All-Terrain.
However there are some high quality alternatives; the BMW 530i Touring (from $109,900) and the new Volvo V60 due in Australia later in 2018.
2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake 30d First Edition pricing and specifications
Price: $137,300 plus on-road costs
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, RWD
Fuel use: 5.9L/100km combined