The 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake is a sophisticated and stylish new offering that shows station wagons can be downright fun.
Sportbrake refers to the body style of Jaguar’s XF, which also comes as a sedan. Sportbrake is a variant of “shooting-brake,” which is a term first applied in 19th Century Britain for a vehicle used to transport shooting parties, their firearms and their game. The term was later used to describe custom station wagons manufactured by high-end coachbuilders.
You’d have to say that Jaguar could be considered a “high-end coachbuilder,” and the XF Sportbrake could be described as a custom wagon. In fact, for my money, the Sportbrake is the top trim in the XF lineup. It has just the right mix of functionality and Jaguar’s exotic style.
The XF Sportbrake was my ride at the recent Texas Auto Writers Association’s annual Auto Roundup, an automotive competition held at Eagle’s Canyon Raceway north of Dallas. The Sportbrake wasn’t entered in the competition, but I had a chance to take the wagon out onto the track and open it up.
The XF Sportbrake proved to be very well mannered with every bit of precision, comfort and handling you’d expect from a Jaguar. But as a wagon, the roomy and versatile XF Sportbrake is also actually useful for hauling your stuff around.
The sedan version of the XF is outfitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that develops 247 horsepower and 269 lb.-ft. of torque. The XF sedan can hit 60 miles per hour in 6.2 seconds. The Sportbrake, however, has a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that kicks out 380 horses and 332 lb.-ft. of torque, which is enough to propel this wagon from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in just over 5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 121 mph. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic, and AWD is standard.
This Jag is fun to drive, but at the same time, the versatile 5-seater will take you 25 miles down the highway on a single gallon of gasoline.
The XF sedan is available in XF ($47,775), XF Premium ($49,765), XF Prestige ($54,225), XF R-Sport ($58,125), and XF S ($63,865). The Sportbrake is offered in an S trim ($70,450) and First Edition ($72,100).
My S trim Sportbrake had 20-inch alloy wheels with red brake calipers, as well as dual exhausts that emitted a hearty Jaguar growl when the engine was fired up. Don’t let anybody tell you a station wagon can’t be sexy. The car got lots of looks and questions from seasoned automotive journalists in Texas participating in the TAWA Auto Roundup.
The ride and handling are superb thanks to a self-leveling rear air suspension and an adaptive dynamics system designed to respond to road conditions and the driver’s style. It analyzes acceleration, braking, cornering, throttle and brake pedal activity, then selects appropriate the appropriate damping levels.
When you slip into the Taurus leather heated and cooled sport seats of the XF Sportbrake and push the start button, the rotary dial shifter rises from the center console and invites you to put it in drive. The air conditioning vents, which close when the car is off, also rotate around to face the cockpit. Connectivity is via Jaguar’s InControl Touch system with up to a 10-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth and USB ports.
The XF Sportbrake has 40/20/40 split folding rear seats that fold flat, exposing 69.7 cubic feet of cargo space. With the seats up, cargo space is 31.7 cubic feet.
The 2018 XF Sportbrake has not been safety tested by the government nor the insurance industry, but it has a full complement of airbags as well as anti-lock brakes.
2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S
3.0-liter supercharged V6
$70,450 ($84,815 with options & freight)
EPA mileage estimates:
18 mpg city/25 mpg highway/21 mpg combined
Estimated highway range: