The new Jaguar XF Sportbrake luxury estate car previewed

PUBLISHED: 16:12 23 January 2013 | UPDATED: 22:38 20 February 2013

The new Jaguar XF Sportbrake luxury estate car previewed

The new Jaguar XF Sportbrake luxury estate car previewed

It's a Jaguar, it's a diesel and it's an estate... so has the big cat finally gone soft? Perhaps not. By many accounts, Jaguar's new XF Sportbrake is about to change how we look at estate cars, forever. Ade Holder previews it for Surrey Life

Its a Jaguar, its a diesel and its an estate so has the big cat finally gone soft? Perhaps not. By many accounts, Jaguars new XF Sportbrake is about to change how we look at estate cars, forever. Ade Holder previews it for Surrey Life

There have been various incarnations of luxury and sports estate cars over the years. Volvo gave us the T-5, Subaru the Imprezza sports wagon, and more recently Audi brought us the thunderous RS 6 to name but a few. These were all good, if not great cars, and Jaguar may well have just joined the list.

Some of you will remember the last time the big cat grew a box on its back, the X-type. Essentially a Ford Mondeo with Jag trim, it did not quote hit the mark for most. The XF, however, may have just put the cat among the pigeons properly this time.

The key angle that comes across from the press literature for the Sportbrake is the lack of compromise.

Jaguar is adamant it is a Jaguar through and through. Handling and driver engagement seem to be at the top of the priority list, even when the car is fully loaded. The Sportbrake boasts all kind of dynamic suspension gizmos to allow the car to adapt itself to extra weight and still offer a fantastic drive. The idea of being able to drop your child and three tonnes of pot noodles at university and enjoy the drive home as much as the drive there is certainly an appealing one.

Elegance of design
Design is also important. Seeing a word like elegance used to describe an estate car is not really what you would expect, but the images I have seen really do show a very nice looking car indeed. The addition of an Aero and Black styling packs also points to some rather sharp looking cars about to hit the roads.

There is one possible fly in the ointment though: the Sportbrake has only been given diesel engines (two versions of a four cylinder unit and two six cylinder choices) - with a turbo, obviously.

Most people have never driven a diesel engine without a turbo but they would remember if they had; a 10 hour maths exam is more exciting!

The units on offer are running from a worryingly low 163bhp right up to a 275bhp V6 packing a hefty 600nm of torque.

The corresponding 0-60 times are good across the range with the lowest powered engine dolling out a healthy 10 second sprint to the magic number.

Of course, diesel engines offer great returns on fuel use, but they can cost heavily over the life span of a car and, lets be honest, they might leap off the line but once you hit 4,000rpm you have to lunge for another gear, wait for the turbo to start again and, before you know it, you are back where you were five seconds ago.

Engine concerns aside, the XF Sportbrake is shaping up to be a very interesting option and a real alternative to a BMW 5 series estate, or any of the Audi or Volvo offerings.

My full test drive will be appearing the March edition of Surrey Life magazine but, if you cant wait until then, why not pay a visit to HA Fox Jaguar in Guildford? They will be more than happy to book you a test drive.

If you do, please share your reviews by commenting on this article below.

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