New Jaguar XF Sportbrake 2024 review: big estate with value boost

Jaguar's XF Sportbrake may be 8 years old but it just got a whole lot cheaper!

  • 4.0 out of 5

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    As for the Pivi Pro infotainment itself, it’s super slick and has a quality design to it. We switched between its menus a lot and found barely any lag on the system. The physical controls on the steering wheel are also a breath of fresh air when you compare them to the touch-sensitive controls other premium marques are offering in their latest models. 

    The fit and finish of the XF is still impressive and there’s plenty of soft-touch leather and chrome around. The dark wood finish on the dash does make the cabin a little dreary though. 

    Our car was fitted with a number of optional extras, too, some of which we’d avoid. The £505 soft-close doors seem excessive and the £50 gesture-control for the roof blind will have you waving your hand around wildly (there’s a physical button anyway). If you’re a fan of head-up displays, the XF’s £830 system is pretty good – not too intrusive in its display but still offering key information prominently. Given the lack of colour in the cabin on our car, the £1,125 panoramic roof feels well worth it. 

    This XF Sportbrake is powered by the 2.0-litre mild-hybrid four-cylinder diesel engine. It has 201bhp and 430Nm of torque, which sounds plenty but at the XF’s size and 1,870kg kerb weight means you wouldn’t want any less than this. 

    The 0-60mph time of 7.3 seconds is respectable and certainly enough to keep up with diesel versions of the BMW 3 Series Touring and Mercedes C-Class Estate but on the move the eight-speed automatic just slightly lets the side down. With the driving mode set to Eco or Standard the gear shifts are quite relaxed and around town the XF can feel a little lethargic, there’s not as much immediate input from the electrical system as we’d like. 

    You’re unlikely to take the XF Sportbrake in this diesel form for a spirited drive for the sake of it, but if you do decide to explore the big Jaguar’s dynamic capabilities you’ll be pretty impressed. The XF’s driveability was its biggest plus-point when it first launched and it still stands out even among rivals in the smaller executive class. 

    There’s lots of grip, not much body roll and the steering is responsive enough – without being all that engaging. Power from the diesel engine heads to the rear wheels (though an all-wheel drive version is available) and while it’s rare to notice this rear-driven nature, the XF Sportbrake is nicely balanced in the bends. 

    The diesel engine is punchy but the rev range feels short (because it is) and you’re reliant on snappy gear changes to really make progress, which sometimes don’t arrive as quickly as anticipated. You can override the automatic with the manual shift paddles and it delivers a little more engagement and predictability, but it’s still not super responsive. 

    As you’d expect of a big Jaguar, refinement is one of the XF’s best qualities – but this isn’t so obvious with this powertrain. The diesel engine is noticeable around town but settles down on the motorway – where the XF does its best work. We expect that the brief interruptions to the otherwise composed ride were caused by our car’s 20-inch wheels. These are standard on the HSE where the lower SE gets 19-inch rims. The suspension seems to soak up bigger bumps and ruts in the road, but churned-up surfaces highlight tyre roar. The standard-fit self-levelling rear suspension is a nice addition. 

    We noticed during our test that the XF Sportbrake would easily achieve the quoted 50.7mpg figure on a long motorway run. While this is pretty average for the class of mid-size executive estates, a 320d Touring will return a figure in the mid-50s and a C-Class Estate diesel even higher. On short runs we found fuel economy dropped to around 43mpg on the Jaguar. 

    This side of a Skoda Superb Estate, not much can compete with the Sportbrake’s practicality. There’s a load of rear passenger room combined with a 563-litre boot which is less than you get in the Skoda, but comfortably more than a 3 Series Touring, C-Class Estate and A4 Avant. The electric boot lid of the XF Sportbrake is also helpful. 

    We mentioned earlier on about the repositioning of the XF Sportbrake to a compact executive class level in terms of pricing and at £43,005 for this R-Dynamic HSE without options and with an even cheaper R-Dynamic SE available at £40,810, this Jaguar estate has found a new value-driven appeal.

    Model: Jaguar XF Sportbrake R-Dynamic HSE
    Price: £43,005 (£47,590 as tested)
    Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel MHEV
    Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
    Power/torque: 201bhp/430Nm
    0-60mph: 7.3 seconds
    Top speed: 143mph
    Efficiency/emissions: 50.7mpg/146g/km
    On sale: Now

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