Jaguar xf sportbrake on test : family cat with a big mouth

With the XF Sportbrake, Jaguar has a large family station wagon on offer – for friends of something special.

A nice back. also has disadvantages: The relatively flat rear window can get in the way when transporting bulky items

Theoretically, this car seems to be an ideal getaway car: fast to very fast like any current Jaguar, and it also has a large trunk for stowing booty. Practically however one must be patient however a small moment with driving off. Because when you start the car, the flush-mounted, hand-flattering rotary knob that controls the automatic transmission first comes out of the center tunnel. A nice detail, but one wouldn’t want to know what the repair would cost, if it were ever due. The outer air vents are also electrically rotated into position during startup. In case anyone didn’t already know that a Jaguar is special.
This one is even special: a station wagon. A station wagon, from Jaguar? My goodness, several acquaintances had said before, obviously sensing sacrilege. Since 2004 the British have been selling a station wagon version of the X-Type, which is not exactly a world heritage car. And the current XF Sportbrake also has a direct, even quite chic predecessor.

Red nose. The almost five-meter-long body is at least reasonably clear for the driver

The proportions and lines of the new car are so harmonious that it’s a joy to drive even before you get in. The question is whether the joy lasts when the knob is turned to D. The test drive feels good: You sit low, but comfortable and with a passable overview of instruments and surroundings, if you disregard the also in this car bollard thick A-pillar. And for maneuvering, the front and rear cameras are indispensable. The huge glass roof extends over the rear seats and lets the fine interior of the test car – black leather with red applications and stitching, one of several possible combinations – appear in friendly daylight. There is neither wood nor excessive chrome splendor, but the perceived quality of the materials is convincing down to the last detail. The fact that neither the glove compartment nor the doors are large enough for A4 format is no drama after the extinction of road atlases, but it’s still a bit annoying.

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The 20-inch rims are show-offs

The 250 HP strong two-liter gasoline engine of the first test car developed by Jaguar is enough thickly for all situations and is to be heard only when accelerating, whereby the eight-speed automatic does not shift sometimes completely smoothly (and on upward gradients too early down). Since wind noise is also minimal, this Jaguar would probably be wonderfully quiet if it didn’t come along on the 20-inch rims, which when soberly viewed are just showing off: Adding to the rolling noise is the harsh feel of the low-profile tires, which can feel almost painful on transverse joints at bridges, for example.
Despite its 1.7 tons, the Jaguar can be driven in a sporty manner, whereby the consumption is more in the direction of ten liters instead of the claimed 6.8. The two-liter diesel with 240 hp available for another round of testing strongly resembles the gasoline engine – especially since its noise is also excellently muffled. Subjectively, the automatic shifts quite smoothly on the diesel, and the test consumption of about seven liters isn’t all that far off the 5.8 that the manufacturer quotes. The 300 hp three-liter diesel version is objectively very powerful and subjectively almost overpowered. This may also be due to the fact that the large diesel, of all things, is not available with all-wheel drive, so that the rear wheels sometimes scrape when the accelerator is pushed very hard. And its test consumption does not drop below seven liters even at a very leisurely pace. Should you buy a diesel at all? You can, say the Jaguar people: The built-in exhaust gas cleaning system is of the finest quality.

On the move. The LCD feline predator in the dashboard is decorative - and the retractable automatic dial is an original detail

The usual driving assistants are of course on board, but the XF doesn’t have anything groundbreaking to offer. It is difficult to test the rescuers without need per se, but at least about the Lane Assist it can be said that it only registers fresh lane markings safely. And the traffic sign recognition sometimes sees irrelevant signs, such as a speed limit at the beginning of a highway exit. These are then mirrored admonishingly in the head-up display.

An alternative to BMW 5 series and Audi A6

But there was something else: The station wagon rear! The way there leads over the second row with its likewise well contoured seats, which are also large enough for adults. Behind the split rear seat spreads a trunk, whose 565 liters lush, but with almost five meters of external length is also no sensation. A clever lashing mechanism on two stainless steel rails helps secure the load, which can be as big as a mattress when the rear seat is folded down thanks to the stepless floor. Thanks to standard rear axle leveling, even heavy loads don’t force the rear end to its knees. Only a forwarding agent for white goods should not be operated with the Jaguar because of the relatively flat standing rear window and the arched to the sides sloping headliner.
All in all the XF Sportbrake is a nice alternative for people who don’t want to drive a 5 series Touring or A6 Avant, although they could. The price list starts at 43.960 euros and ends with all extras in the top version almost at the double – thus in the context of the usual in this class. This includes an additional 2500 euros for each station wagon. While 70 percent of the previous model was sold as a sedan, station wagons are expected to make up the majority of the new XF. Nevertheless, it will probably not become a run-of-the-mill car, at least in Germany: In the combiless year 2016, Jaguar sold around 1500 XF sedans in Germany. Compared to the registration figures of the German competition, this is almost homeopathy.

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