2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake Review: Supercharged, super spacious

    Admit it: You assume this wagon’s horny. Certainly, Jaguar’s new Sportbrake is sort of a looker — some of the enticing wagons obtainable anyplace. However whereas it is easy to get misplaced in lust with that glossy longroof form, do not forget, a wagon is simply pretty much as good because the sedan on which it is primarily based.

    On this case, that is the Jaguar XF. Now in its second era, the XF is a great-driving luxurious sedan that is nonetheless fairly lovely in its personal proper. Its inside supplies and onboard tech go away so much to be desired, however fortunately, the Sportbrake’s added performance and bonus cool factors make up for a few of these shortcomings.

    Type and performance

    Whereas the XF sedan is accessible in additional sedate Premium, Status and R-Sport physique types, the Sportbrake is solely supplied as in range-topping S guise. Each XF Sportbrake basically seems like a model of the one you see right here, together with the S-spec entrance fascia, LED headlights, facet sill extensions and twin exhaust retailers on the rear. The First Version trim comes with a model-specific set of 19-inch wheels, whereas each different Sportbrake rolls on 20-inch wheels, obtainable in three types.

    The lengthy, low wagon form actually works on the XF. I really like the sturdy rake of the rear glass and the elegant form of the taillights. The XF Sportbrake comes normal with a panoramic glass roof, although be warned, it is not a sunroof. Fairly, it is a single fastened glass panel that does not tilt or open, and no typical sunroof choice is accessible.

    The Sportbrake form provides a wealth of cargo-carrying functionality to the midsize XF; fold the rear seats and there is as a lot as 69.7 cubic toes of area. That not solely makes the Sportbrake extra capacious than its Mercedes-Benz E400 and Volvo V90 wagon rivals, that complete truly bests the 63.5 cubic toes supplied by Jaguar’s F-Pace SUV. Mix that with the XF Sportbrake’s low load-in peak, energy liftgate and normal auto-leveling rear air suspension, and it is the Jaguar that is best-suited for schlepping your largest masses.

    The Sportbrake solely is available in XF S guise for now, with a 380-horsepower supercharged V6 underneath the hood.

    Emme Corridor/Roadshow

    Sooner pussycat

    Because it’s solely supplied in S guise right now, each US-spec XF Sportbrake makes use of the identical engine: Jaguar’s three.Zero-liter supercharged V6. It is a sturdy motor, with 380 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque on supply, paired with an Eight-speed computerized transmission that sends energy to all 4 wheels. Jaguar says it takes 5.three seconds to hit 60 miles per hour within the four,045-pound Sportbrake, which is simply Zero.2 seconds slower than an equal XF S sedan, regardless of a 275-pound weight penalty.

    The supercharged engine takes a second to actually come to life off the road, however when you’re buzzing within the coronary heart of the facility band, I discovered ample energy for spirited drives alongside winding California canyon roads. The transmission executes buttery easy shifts when left to its personal gadgets, and in sport mode, it retains you planted within the candy spot of the engine’s rev vary. There are steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, however actually, do not hassle. They do not really feel notably nice in opposition to one’s fingers, with a chintzy click on accompanying their motion, and shift response time is not as fast because it should be. I desire to let the ZF-sourced gearbox do its personal factor. At no level throughout my time with the XF was I upset with the transmission’s default shift logic.

    There’s nice weight to the Sportbrake’s steering, with loads of suggestions delivered by way of the wheel. A taut chassis retains the XF composed throughout turns, with solely minor quantities of physique roll accompanying fast adjustments of route. There is not any tradeoff in total trip consolation throughout freeway cruising, both — as planted because the Sportbrake is up on these twisty canyon roads, it delivers a easy, compliant trip, even over pockmarked stretches of pavement.

    The S mannequin’s nice efficiency does come on the expense of gasoline economic system, nevertheless. The XF Sportbrake carries EPA-estimated mileage scores of 18 mpg metropolis, 25 mpg freeway and 21 mpg mixed, that are reductions of two, three and a couple of mpg, respectively, over the XF S sedan. Throughout my week of not-slow driving, I solely common about 20.5 mpg, which appears fairly poor.

    Can we cease with the gimmicky energy air vents and elevating gear selector already?

    Emme Corridor/Roadshow

    Inside let-downs

    The place the XF Sportbrake actually lets me down is inside. Whereas it checks all of the bins of a luxurious automobile, no a part of this Jaguar’s inside feels decidedly premium. Exhausting plastics and uninviting leather-based seats make up the vast majority of the inside, and all the switchgear feels low-cost. I admire the easy association of the audio and local weather controls, as nicely the uncluttered look of the middle console. However shod in hues of black and grey, there’s nothing notably inviting concerning the XF’s cabin. The electrically opening air vents and elevating gear selector are simply gimmicky at this level and solely make me ask, “How a lot will this price when it inevitably breaks?” One other nod to construct high quality, I’ll say that my check automobile, with just a few thousand miles on its odometer, issued much more creaks and rattles than any automobile ought to, particularly at this worth level. Why is sister model Land Rover getting all the greatest cabins?

    The InControl Contact Professional system presents a sturdy suite of infotainment options, housed in a 10-inch touchscreen with brilliant colours and crisp fonts. There’s an amazing degree of customization obtainable right here, too — greater than 60 totally different widgets and shortcuts can be found for the system’s house display screen. A digital instrument panel presents an analogous degree of high-quality graphics and driver customization.

    Sadly, the complicated menu and submenu construction makes InControl a chore to navigate rapidly, as does the system’s laggy response to inputs. You are higher off utilizing voice instructions, which appear to work nicely sufficient. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are absent, which I nonetheless keep is inexcusable for a premium automobile within the yr 2018, though the XF Sportbrake does supply an elective Wi-Fi hotspot.

    Talking of onboard tech, whereas the XF Sportbrake comes with a lot of driver help options, they’re solely obtainable with the Driver Help Package deal. If you would like adaptive cruise management, blind spot help, parking help, park distance management, a 360-degree digital camera and site visitors signal recognition, be ready to shell out $three,495 for the entire bundle.

    The InControl Contact Professional system is brilliant, colourful and presents quite a lot of customization choices. Sadly, it is also tremendous laggy.

    Emme Corridor/Roadshow

    How I might spec it

    Because it’s solely obtainable in top-level S spec, you possibly can’t get right into a Sportbrake for lower than $70,450, which is $three,585 greater than an equal XF S sedan. The XF S Sportbrake First Version, which solely comes with one coloration/wheel mixture, begins at $72,100.

    For starters, I might choose Caesium Blue paint ($565) and the gloss black 20-inch wheels ($1,Zero20), and inside, I might spec the black/pink inside combo and carbon fiber trim ($810). Then I might add the Consolation & Comfort Package deal ($1,805) largely for the heated and cooled seats, the aforementioned $three,495 Driver Help Package deal, the $three,265 Expertise Package deal for its Wi-Fi hotspot, navigation, Meridian encompass system and digital instrument cluster. Meaning I am an $82,405 XF Sportbrake, together with $995 for vacation spot.

    For those who’ve received deep(er) pockets, you may also add the $360 Black Package deal (gloss black exterior trim), $2,860 Luxurious Inside Improve Package deal (temper lighting, four-zone local weather management, premium carpet flooring mats, rear sunshades and extra) and a number of different one-off choices. Examine each field and the XF Sportbrake tops out at $87,845. And do not forget concerning the $410 Activity Key.

    Severely, I may stare at this factor all day. It is beautiful.

    Emme Corridor/Roadshow

    Good, however ok?

    The XF Sportbrake is a compelling choice within the Jaguar vary. It is the corporate’s most practical mannequin, and not one of the XF’s nice street manners are misplaced with the addition of that helpful, fashionable rump. However as a premium wagon, I really feel the Mercedes-Benz E400 and Volvo V90 are extra well-rounded options. Sure, the Jaguar is extra highly effective and higher to drive, however these rivals supply much more luxurious lodging and a richer set of options and tech. On high of that, the Volvo prices a full $20,000 much less, to begin.

    However once more, a wagon is simply pretty much as good because the sedan counterpart beneath, and simply as I would not purchase an XF over a Mercedes E-Class or Volvo S90, the identical stays true in great wagon guise. The Sportbrake could also be the most effective XF you should buy at this time, however the inherent flaws are nonetheless there.

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