Jaguar XF Sportbrake preview
It's a look at how a new estate version of the Jaguar XF saloon might look a few days before it is revealed to the world in Wimbledon (Jaguar is the official car partner of Wimbledon 2017). The swirly camouflage wrap doesn't make it too difficult to make out the profile of the large new premium estate and it promises to be an attractive looking car, bought as much for image as it is outright carrying capacity. There were suggestions that Jaguar wouldn't produce a Sportbrake version of this generation XF, mostly because markets such as North America don't buy them and there's now the F-Pace SUV to satisfy family demand, but we're glad to see that the estate hasn't been abandoned.
What will its rivals be?
While the premium estate market is hardly what you'd call crowded, the models that do exist are established and all accomplished cars. The oldest is Audi's A6 Avant, but even though it's due to be replaced late in 2018 it's still attractive. The newest is BMW's new 5 Series Touring, an exceptional car, as is the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate. And if you don't want to buy German, there's always the Volvo V90 to consider, which probably has the best interior in the class to go with its effortless Scandinavian cool. Formidable competition for the Jaguar.
Any tech info?
None as yet, but we can assume that the Sportbrake will share a lot with the XF saloon, which can be had with plenty of tech. The most impressive infotainment system is called InControl Touch Pro, and it's centred around a 10.2-inch capacitive touchscreen. The wallpaper for that is customisable, it accepts 'pinch to zoom' gestures and has Jaguar's Dual View tech, where the passenger and driver can see different things if needs be. There's also the option of a banging 17-speaker, 825W Meridian sound system.
What will the range be like?
Again, nothing has been announced, but we expect the Sportbrake's range to mimic that of the saloon, with Pure, Prestige, R-Sport, Portfolio and S trim levels and a range of petrol and diesel engines bookended by Jaguar's 2.0-litre diesel Ingenium units and supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engines at the top end. Rear-wheel drive will be standard, though all-wheel drive should be available with certain engines.
Jaguar is claiming that the XF Sportbrake will be the most dynamic large premium estate car on the market, which is quite a boast. We do expect it to be great to drive and look more appealing than the sometimes bland XF saloon. Irish sales will be modest of course, as we don't buy a lot of estate cars, least of all ones with a premium badge on the nose.