A station wagon model probably isn’t what comes to mind when you think about Jaguar but times and attitudes changes and the British brand is willing to give it another try after its hapless X-Type Sportwagon.
At a first glance, Jaguar’s new XF Sportbrake is a handsome creation, although those abnormally large LED tail lamps look somewhat odd from certain angles.
Jaguar says that every panel on the XF Sportbrake, from the B-Pillar and back, is completely new. Added touches include the silver signature line running the entire length of the car while the gloss black C-Pillar is reminiscent of the XJ limousine. The polished roof rails will be offered as an option.
The estate model shares the same 1,877mm width and 2,909mm wheelbase with the sedan but is 5mm longer at 4,966mm while also offering 48mm of extra rear headroom.
According to Jaguar, the transformation from saloon to estate has added a little under 70kg or 154 pounds to the car’s kerb weight.
In terms of boot space, the XF Sportbrake offers 550-liters with the rear seats up, which is less than the BMW 5-Series Touring’s 560-liters, the Audi A6 Avant’s 565-liters and the Mercedes-Benz‘s capacious 695-liters.
With the seats folded, the total volume grows to 1,675-litres, which is slightly more than the BMW’s 1,670 liters but less than the Audi‘s 1,680-liters and far less than the Mercedes-Benz‘s monstrous 1,950-liters.
To justify its more practical side, the Sportbrake comes equipped with remote fold levers mounted within the boot area to lower the rear seats, while additional LEDs light onto the ground when the tailgate is open. You also get a panel in the boot that splits into three sections and a new tray fitted under the load area to store valuable items.
Under the sheetmetal, Jaguar’s engineers added a self-leveling rear air suspension, which replaces that saloon’s standard coil springs. The company claims that the XF Sportbrake offers identical dynamic attributes in terms of ride and handling as the sedan while keeping the car level even when fully laden.
“The XF Sportbrake matches the saloon in both aerodynamics and torsional stiffness,” said Mike Cross, Jaguar’s Chief Engineer. “The use of air suspension has allowed us to create a car that captures the unique Jaguar combination of refinement and outstanding dynamic abilities regardless of its load,” he added.
Power for the estate model comes exclusively from diesel engines in 2.2-litre four cylinder and 3.0-litre six-cylinder forms, each driving the rear wheels though an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
While not available yet, Jaguar’s Chief Designer Ian Callum has confirmed the development of a range topping XFR variant powered by a 510HP supercharged V8 gasoline engine, which will be introduced at a later date.
The new XF Sportbrake will make its public debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show before it reaches showrooms later this year.