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ROAD TEST: Jaguar XF Sportbrake an elegant and fun estate car

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Jaguar’s XF has been a show-stopper of a car since it was launched way back in 2008.

Back then it was offered as a saloon only – a luxurious and elegant British rival to the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6.

In 2012 Jaguar added an estate model, dubbed the Sportbrake. Nine years on, that model is in its second generation and has been updated for 2021.

It remains a very handsome car. It was penned by Jaguar’s now-departed head of design Ian Callum, who always had an eye for elegance and perfect proportions,

Put it next to a Mercedes, Audi or BMW estate and it is the Jaguar that stands out from the crowd.

XF Sportbrake offers value

Remarkably, it also starts at around £5,000 less than a BMW 5 Series Touring, Audi A6 Avant or Mercedes E-Class Estate.

The XF Sportbrake was updated for 2021. Most of the changes are on the inside. There’s a smart new infotainment system called Pivi Pro, a revised steering wheel and new buttons for the climate control system.

Jaguar has ditched its V6 engines in the XF. This will appal some purists but the four cylinder petrol and diesel options are so good that most people won’t be able to tell the difference.

The boot is a capacious 565 litres with the rear seats up, and 1,700 with them folded. That’s about as big as a 5 Series, though the Mercedes E-Class offers a good bit more.

Prices for the XF Sportbrake start around £36,000 and I drove the petrol version in R-Dynamic trim, costing just over £40,000.

Fast and fun

It has 250hp, which gets it from 0-62mph in a very brisk 6.7 seconds and. Fuel economy is in the low 30s.

The XF is a joy to drive. Jaguar has mastered that fine balance between ride comfort and driving dynamics. Show it a backroad and it will tackle bends beautifully. Put it on a motorway and it will relax and eat up the miles. I enjoyed a very happy hour cruising round Highland Perthshire in my test car.

Most XF Sportbrakes are rear wheel drive but you can also go for a four-wheel drive model, which probably suits Scotland’s climate better.

Many buyers will prefer Jaguar’s E-Pace and F-Pace SUVs but estate cars are less difficult to load, dogs can jump into them more easily, and they’re nicer to drive.

The Jaguar XF Sportbrake is one of the very best estate cars and deserves to do well.

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