November 2012

Jaguar XF Sportbrake 3.0 Diesel V6 Premium Luxury

Still a looker years after the saloon model's launch

November 2012

picture of car from the frontpicture of car from the rearpicture of car interiorpicture of car in detail

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5 stars


  • Good use of technology in the cabin
  • High levels of refinement
  • Diesel engines are pleasingly refined
  • Sportbrake is easy on the eye and practical


  • Infotainment screen feels small and menus are cramped
  • Diesels XF could be more competitive regarding emissions and economy
  • Illuminated, pulsating starter button a little gimmicky
  • Rear seat passengers would benefit from more room

It was a long time coming but Jaguar finally produced an estate version of its popular XF saloon. However, in true 'new' Jaguar style, the company has opted for something that leans more towards the lifestyle end of the spectrum than a traditional, boxy load-lugger.

Don't let the XF Sportbrake's fastback profile fool you, as this car is as practical as it is easy on the eye. Despite the car's 'lifestyle' pretensions, it's a fully-featured estate car capable of swallowing all the clutter associated with an active lifestyle. That the designers have managed wrap the available space in a streamlined shell is a welcome bonus.

The devil is also in the detail; a quick walk around the XF Sportbrake highlights the car's complex curves, chrome detailing, rakish profile and high waistline. Turning your attention rearwards, the car's mainly upright tailgate offers easy access to a surprisingly spacious load bay.

Once open, that tailgate reveals a practical load deck with the option of folding the rear seats to further boost its carrying potential. All the while there's no hint of utility; the deck is trimmed to the same high standards as the car's cabin.

It's true that the XF Sportbrake isn't in the same vein as a budget estate from a volume-selling brand, though. Although more for active types seeking to retain a high level of of comfort alongside the need for greater versatility, the Sportbrake retains all the positive driving characteristics of the XF saloon. The diesel-only wagon stops and steers with aplomb, and boasts a similarly polished ride.

Our verdict on the Jaguar XF Sportbrake 3.0 Diesel V6 Premium Luxury

If you've been waiting for a Jaguar estate, your patience has been rewarded with the arrival of the XF Sportbrake. Style-wise the designers couldn't have done a better job of making the conversion from saloon to load-lugger, while the driving experience has barely changed. Factor in the car's genuinely practical load space and the Jaguar faithful finally have something to cheer about.


There's no hiding the fact that the XF Sportbrake is not a cheap car. However, it is surprisingly good value when its level of standard equipment is compared with its rivals. Diesel will also return the best fuel economy and lowest emissions - the latter especially important for fleet customers.

Space and practicality

Past Jaguars have never been regarded as packaging masterpieces, but the XF SPortback goes a long way to overturning such perceptions. Front seat occupants fare well, with plenty of head, leg and elbowroom. At the back legroom is reasonable, although headroom could be better if you're tall. Oddment storage is good for a car in the executive class. The car's flat, wide loadbay adds a welcome added practical dimension, and proves to be on a par with many of its more established rivals. Folding the rear seats further boosts its versatilty.

Controls and display

The XF's main dials are very easy to read and the central colour display is straightforward and intuitive. The touchscreen properties require a light touch though, as the display can get crowded with various options. Down to the centre console, and the XFs rotary gear selector is actually easy to use. Simply spin it right for Drive (plus down and further right for Sport) and left for Reverse and Park. The car's steering wheel paddles can be used at anytime, and the minor controls on the wheel for audio and cruise control are intuitive.


Plush seats, a quiet cabin and plenty of creature comforts all make the XF Sportback's cabin a pleasant place in which to spend a few hours. Engine and road noise are noticeable by their absence until you choose to work the engines harder. Rear seat adult occupants of a tall nature might find the modest headroom less attractive from the inside, however.

Car security

All the usual remote locking and immobiliser features are present in the XF Sportbrake. Keyless operation means you just walk up to the car, get in and start it. It also negates the need for you to fumble for the car's key in locations where personal safety could be compromised.

Car safety

A plethora of airbags highlights Jaguar's commitment to safety, while the engineers' use of intelligent electronic stability controls ensure that keen drivers get to have some fun also. Isofix mounting points are also present, allowing you to safely transport children.

Driver appeal

The XF Sportback carefully balances refinement with an engaging, driver-friendly character. Ride comfort is well judged and steering is weighty and accurate. Keen drivers will enjoy the car, although they will occasionally have to work the engines hard to extract the maximum potential. In contrast, the standard fit auto gearbox is a smooth shifting and predictable unit.

Family car appeal

Despite Jaguar pitching the Sportbrake as a family wagon, the plush cabin upholstery would be easily damaged by the very young or anything with four legs and a tail. It's best to think of the car as something for a grown-up family, and the entertainment system would certainly pass muster with an older audience. Oddment storage can't match that of a people carrier, but the Sportbrake's practical rear space easily compensates for any minor shortfalls elsewhere.

First car appeal

There's little point considering the XF as a first car. It's not going to be cheap and is no slouch. There's no question that it's an easy car to drive but there are better alternatives for less money out there in the market.

Quality and image

The XF Sportbrake is a modern interpretation of the company's traditional trademark design language. Certainly all the materials are convincing, as is the overall build quality. Image-wise the brand has suffered for being perceived as attractive to mature motorists. With modern styling and technology, the XF range has been designed to change this perception.


For most people it will be fine, but the car's sloping roof does impact on rear headroom, and the car's rear doors could be larger - to better aid access and egress. At the rear, the car's load deck is a good size and, with powered assistance, the tailgate is easy to open and close.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

Standard fit is a well specified system boasting all the usual premium refinements. Along with steering wheel and fascia controls, the car's colour touchscreen is the main control. Sound quality is excellent, and depending on model and options selected, a more powerful amplifier, more speakers and full control of a connected music player can be experienced.

Colours and trim

Most exterior colours work well - especially the lighter hues. Complimenting the exterior colours is the subtle use of chrome highlights for the grille and other areas. Inside, the refined ambience is topped off by the measured use of wood and more contemporary materials and silver highlights.


Although big, in principal the XF Sportbrake is a straightforward car to park and manoeuvre. The steering is light and accurate at low speeds, and the visibility forward is good. The view rearwards could be better, though; the rear screen is small and the rear head rests restrict what you can see. The parking sensors do work well, however.

Spare wheel

Spare wheel located under boot floor

Range information

Diesel engine options - 2.2-litre (163bhp, 200bhp); 3.0-litre (240bhp, 275bhp). Transmission options: eight-speed automatic gearbox. Trim levels: SE, SE Business, R-Sport, Premium Luxury, Portfolio.

Alternative cars

BMW 5 Series Touring Sharper, more driver-oriented choice; styling not universally liked

Audi A6 Avant Outstanding build quality and good choice of engines; easy on the eye

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate Restrained, more elegant alternative; versatile and spacious

Range Rover Sport An alternative lifestyle holdall, but one that might appeal to younger buyers

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