The Goodwood Test: Jaguar XF Sportbrake

12th June 2018
erin_baker_headshot.jpg Erin Baker
Each week our team of experienced senior road testers pick out a new model from the world of innovative, premium and performance badges, and put it through its paces.


Jaguar expanded its range with an estate version of its XF saloon in 2012: this new Sportbrake is the second generation of this handsome, large shooting brake/estate/sports wagon/sportbrake. The name carefully combines the idea of a practical estate with a hint at sporting pretensions; no matter the model shape, Jaguar is always keen to instil some dynamic potential in the car. 

Soon after the XF Sportbrake, Jaguar brought out its F-Pace SUV, followed by the E-Pace, but, despite the inexorable rise of the SUV globally, there is still a latent desire for estates, especially in the UK among those who quickly tire of SUVs’ compromised handling and performance credentials as soon as you raise the ride height and add the weight of four-wheel drive.



We realise design is a subjective matter, but we think the new XF Sportbrake is probably the best-looking large estate out there right now. Ian Callum tweaked the second generation in all the right places, with sharper, meaner head- and tail-lights, a long wheelbase, large wheels and, depending on trim, some decently aggressive styling packages.

Our test car had the optional full-length glass roof which we’d definitely tick o the options list for the sense of space and light it gives occupants. The infotainment screen will be familiar to any current land Rover or Jaguar owners. But one new bit of kit which we tried for the first time, and loved very much, is JLR’s new Activity Band. It’s essentially a waterproof black wristband, looking like a Fitbit, which contains the key. If you are off cycling, swimming or running, you leave the actual key in the car, shut the doors and hold the band against the “J” of Jaguar on the boot. Hey presto, the doors lock. On your return, squeeze the boot handle, hold the band against the J again, and the car unlocks. It sounds like a gimmick, but increasing number of families are playing sport at the weekend, and keys are a pain to hold en route. It came in handy at least five times in the space of one weekend for us.



We had the 3.0-litre V6 diesel for a week, which was a real treat after two years with the group’s 2.0 diesel in a Discovery then Discovery Sport. The extra horsepower (it’s 300PS) and significant 700Nm of torque really does lend a sporting appeal to this family estate; don’t forget it’s rear-wheel drive, so the BMW 5-Series Touring is its natural competitor. But we still saw about 37mpg, which is the same as we’ve been getting with the 2.0-litre engine in the Disco Sport, proving that the weight saving of an estate over an SUV does pay dividends.

Jaguar’s suspension set-up is sublime. It has self-levelling rear air suspension which is not only useful but provides a luxury ride quality. The steering is also beautifully precise for such a big car.



As far as estates are capable of invoking passion in their owners, the Jaguar excels. It feels as sporty as any large estate has a right to feel, and the interior is the right balance of luxury and smart functionality – it doesn’t go as far in overt craftsmanship as the XJ, which is too fancy for some while feeling that bit special. With the 3.0-litre diesel, it’s a proper rival to the 5-Series Touring, A6 Avant and Mercedes E-class.

Price: from £54,010

  • Jaguar

  • XF

  • Sportbrake

  • jaguar_xf-sportbrake_goodwood_160617_list_06.jpg


    Sleek new Jaguar XF Sportbrake revealed

  • jaguar-xf-sportbrake-review-main-goodwood-28012021.jpg


    First Drive: 2021 Jaguar XF Sportbrake Review

  • jaguar_xfrs_sportbrake_04071604.jpg

    Dan Trent

    Dan Trent: Jag XFR-S Sportbrake – Family Estate for the Dad in a Hurry