Jaguar XF Sportbrake

A precise new SUV substitute

"It has the crossover/SUV practicality with sedan looks."

"Sportbrake's design carefully copycats that of the sedan."

"Jag's pretty kitten gets a bigger boot space," said Issam.

"XF Sportbrake will carry people and things in an exceptional way of life."

When we speak about station wagons, we immediately think of the European market. It's the place where people love station wagons. Don't forget that Scandinavian countries are pretty popular with their homemade Volvo station wagon too. So, how about these two big markets such North America and the Middle East? We all know that North America and even the Middle East are much more SUV-oriented markets. Then we ask the question: what's made the station wagon last until today?

Flashback history
Looking back in the history of the XF (that dates back ten years ago) is an executive/mid-size luxury car and estate that was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2007. The XF was developed at Jaguar's Whitley design and development HQ in Coventry and was the first car designed by Ian Callum. It replaced the outgoing S-TYPE. The first-generation Sportbrake was revealed in March 2012 and lasted until 2015. The first generation didn't make it to both US and Middle East markets.

Exterior design
In terms of design, the Sportbrake has been designed in parallel with the sedan, which makes it a gorgeous estate with its cues from the B-pillar reaching to the tail of the vehicle. With a design that retains the distinctive curves of the saloon at the front, the new XF Sportbrake embodies Jaguar's key design DNA and incorporates an eye-catching roofline, which sets it apart from the competition. Its sleek silhouette projects a dynamic and purposeful profile that transforms the amount of space available inside.

Interior
The interior provides spacious accommodation flooded with natural light from the full-length 1.6 square-meter panoramic roof. Rear occupants benefit from enhanced knee room and improved headroom, while the practical load space can accommodate 565 liters of luggage and reaches 1,700 liters with the back seats folded down.

Cabin air filtration and ionization removes pollutants entering the vehicle, promoting health and wellness, while gesture controls for the tailgate and the sunblind for the panoramic sunroof underline the XF Sportbrake's commitment to customer convenience.

Chassis and powertrain
The new XF Sportbrake builds on the success of the saloon and has all of the advanced all-wheel drive (AWD) technologies and aluminum-intensive architectures that have made the XF a multi-award winner. Jaguar Land Rover's family of innovative Ingenium powertrains equips the Sportbrake with the latest engine technologies.

The suspension set-up has been specially calibrated to reflect the demands placed on premium lifestyle estate models. The stiff and lightweight set-up gives the spacious estate Jaguar's signature dynamics: a sports car-inspired character with agile handling and dynamic responses. Self-levelling air-sprung rear suspension is fitted as standard to ensure the XF Sportbrake maintains its composure, even when fully loaded.

Jaguar's optional Configurable Dynamics system enables drivers to fine-tune settings for the steering, transmission and throttle. With Adaptive Dynamics dampers fitted, customers can also tune the suspension settings for a personalized driving experience.

Advanced software functions developed by Jaguar Land Rover, such as All Surface Progress Control (ASPC), Adaptive Surface Response (ASR) and Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD) put the Sportbrake's traction in low-grip situations and cornering ability on the same level as the saloon.

Customers looking for the ultimate confidence can choose an all-wheel drive drivetrain and Jaguar's IDD system, which eliminates the understeer and electronic interventions that typically characterize dynamic driving in all-wheel drive models. As a result, the all-wheel drive XF Sportbrake retains Jaguar's trademark rear-wheel drive feel and agile steering responses.

The XF Sportbrake continues Jaguar's leadership in aluminum-intensive body construction to deliver a lightweight design that is both stiffer and lighter than its predecessor. Featuring an innovative new single-piece polymer tailgate, the Sportbrake delivers a near perfect 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution providing the foundations for its exceptional handling and efficiency.

Measuring 4,955 mm, the new Sportbrake is 6 mm shorter than the previous model, but its wheelbase has been lengthened by 51 mm to 2,960 mm. This optimizes rear legroom and load space and contributes to the vehicle's refined ride quality. Aerodynamics with a slippery drag coefficient of 0.29 contributes to CO2 emissions as low as 118 g/km.

Jaguar Land Rover's range of advanced four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines provides customary Jaguar performance, efficiency and towing capacity.

At the other end of the performance spectrum, customers can choose the 380-horsepower supercharged V6 petrol engine. Paired with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and Jaguar's advanced all-wheel drive system, this combination provides sports car performance with the sprint from zero-to-100 km/h completed in 5.5 seconds.

The new XF Sportbrake range comprises:

  • XF Sportbrake Pure
  • XF Sportbrake Prestige
  • XF Sportbrake Portfolio
  • XF Sportbrake R-Sport
  • XF Sportbrake

The petrol powertrain range will include:

  • 250 hp 2.0-liter petrol automatic; RWD
  • 380 hp 3.0-liter V6 petrol automatic; AWD

Features
The new XF Sportbrake is the perfect choice for customers with active lifestyles and features a series of new convenience features that enhance the practicality of Jaguar's premium estate. These include Tow Assist technology and Jaguar's rugged new wearable Activity Key, which lets users secure their vehicle while enjoying outdoor sports or activities without fear of losing their main key fob. Drivers are also able to set the maximum opening height for the gesture tailgate to prevent damage in areas where height is restricted, such as multi-storey car parks and garages.

A full suite of driver assistance and safety systems is provided, bolstered by Jaguar's Driver Condition Monitor, which examines a range of inputs to detect signs of drowsiness and warn drivers when they need to take a break.

On vehicles equipped with the panoramic roof, you will also be able to choose a new gesture-controlled sunblind. All that's required to open or close the sunblind is a simple swipe of the hand forwards or rearwards in the space behind the interior rearview mirror. This intuitive and button-free technology makes operation simple, logical and distraction-free for drivers.

Driving impressions
We drove around 700 kilometers over two days on those marvelous Portuguese roads. In terms of driving I can't even complain, and why is that? Well that's pretty simple because the car's length is the same as the sedan version. Basically, I didn't feel like I was driving a station wagon or let me say it a very fancy way, "Sportbrake" vehicle. It drives about 99 percent like the 'normal' XF. No body roll was felt and even from inside the cockpit I didn't feel like I was driving a tall tail.

Verdict
Let me give it to you straight: the estate, station wagon, sportbrake or any nomination you would call it, is somehow hard to be accepted in a market that its biggest share is within crossovers and SUVs. The XF Sportbrake is available from November and respectively, in both UAE and KSA markets, as a beginning. Let's take, for instance, the UAE markets where the station wagons are seen as a chauffeured vehicle (like Emirates Airlines Volvo limousine). The purpose of the station wagon is basically for all the people who want practicality and space but not the higher stance of an SUV; then you've found your next vehicle. Anyhow, I hope the XF Sportbrake will succeed as a derivative of the XF sedan.

Pros: Gorgeous design cues, towing capacity two tons
Cons: New model lineup to the Middle East market
Rivals: BMW 5-Series Touring, Mercedes E-Class Estate, Audi A6 All-Road, Volvo V90
3.5 stars
one word: hands-on

Specs

XF Sportbrake 2.0
2.0L turbocharged, inline 4-cylinder, 250 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 365 Nm @ 1,200-4,500 rpm
ZF 8-speed auto, RWD/AWD
0-100 km/h: 7.1 sec, top speed: 241 km/h, fuel consumption: 6.8 L/100 km
Weight: 1,705 kg

XF Sportbrake 3.0
3.0L supercharged, V6, 380 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 450 Nm @ 4,500 rpm
ZF 8-speed auto, AWD
0-100 km/h: 5.5 sec, top speed: 250 km/h, fuel consumption: N/A
Weight: 1,855 kg

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