Jaguar XF Sportbrake Unveiled
Jaguar has finally shown the first images of the XF estate, sorry, Sportbrake. Estate is considered far too common a term, so the company has come up with this strange moniker.
You can imagine the brief: "We need a name that is modern but also refers to the British heritage of shooting brakes." So the name makes sense, even if it does make you think of a self-releasing electronic handbrake.
The car itself has taken four years to spin-off from the XF saloon, mainly because Jaguar could not decide whether it was worth the effort.
In 2008 it hinted the Sportbrake would follow, then in 2010 Jaguar inferred it had been dropped and now it has finally arrived.
The car itself has a respectable boot volume of 550 litres with the rear seats up and 1675 litres with the seats down. By comparison, the BMW 5 Series Touring has 560 litres with the seats up and 1670 litres with the seats down. Convenience features include remote release levers for the rear seatback, so you don't have to reach into the boot to drop the rear seats, and a soft-closing boot, so there is no need to slam it.
With estates taking approximately 30% of the executive car segment, Jaguar decided it could not afford to ignore this market, even though the XF Sportbrake will have a relatively short life (it will not go on sale until the last quarter of 2012). Combined with the recent four cylinder diesel, the XF finally has a complete range to take on its key German rivals.
Talking of diesel, that is the only fuel choice for the Sportbrake, at least at launch. There will be a 2.2 and a 3.0 diesel, but there is no mention of a petrol option for the UK. An XFR estate may follow late in 2013 along with four wheel drive, which is now pretty well mandatory in the more northerly areas of the United States.