How do you better a premium sedan powered by a 510 horsepower supercharged 5.0 Litre V8, with looks that could kill? Well, you let the car find a place in more garages by giving it more boot space and increasing practicality, all the while ensuring nothing else is compromised. Jaguar unveiled the XF Sportbrake yesterday, just ahead of its 6th March Geneva Motor Show debut.
Ah, but wait, as we type this story we realize that Jaguar does not mention the supercharged V8, nor the normally aspirated V8 gasoline mill anywhere in the press release! Maybe Jaguar believes the 2.2L and 3.0L diesel engines should suffice the needs of the discerning ‘estate’ customer.
If Jaguar’s achievements are anything to go by ( at least after the S-Type), Jaguar is incapable of designing bad looking cars, with Ian Callum at the helm. The Sportbrake’s development was also design-led to achieve what Jaguar terms ‘perfect balance of beauty and usability’. The 1675 litre boot space with the rear seats folded, is comparable to that of an E-Class Estate or an Audi Q5 and clears up any doubt with regard to usability.
Having recently redesigned the exterior and interior of the Jaguar XF sedan that was launched in 2008, to fall in line with the family look defined by the new Jaguar XJ, the Sportbrake has the same characteristic design features.
The Jaguar design philosophy is based on the smooth, uninterrupted flow of lines that lead the eye along and around the vehicle and this is readily apparent in the XF Sportbrake. The first of these elegantly simple feature lines begins in the much loved propeller-inspired blades fitted to the side air intakes, up front, leading the eye into the lower wing crease and then along the sills of the car and around the rear bumper. The second feature line runs up from the outer edge of the intakes, defining the edges of the front wings before wrapping the entire way around the car, creating the XF Sportbrake’s muscular shoulder line.
“Creating the Sportbrake was a great opportunity for us to extend the XF’s design aesthetic. The flow and connection of lines that lead the eye around the car result in an entirely practical estate car consistent with Jaguar’s reputation for drama and elegance.”
Wayne Burgess, Studio Director, Jaguar Design
The most obvious design change in the 2012 Jaguar XF was the new headlamp design which Jaguar has christened the ‘lightblade headlamp technology’. The Sportbrake shares the same headlamp design.The XF Sportbrake also adopts the new, more upright grille and purposeful bonnet, giving it an enhanced ‘rear-view mirror’ recognition factor. The lights feature bi-function HID xenon technology and LED daytime-running lights arranged in a distinctive Jaguar ‘J-Blade’ pattern.
The leading edges of the grille, rise over the bonnet and flow seamlessly into the A-pillars and flow down to form the slope of the tailgate and bumper. The lines that define that signature Jaguar window ‘graphic’ have been tweaked, to give a more elegant and elongated form, stretched backwards to the rear windscreen.
The clever conjunction of the side window graphic tapering down to meet the rising shoulder line not only emphasises the XF Sportbrake’s strong haunches but also helps the rear roofline appear to taper elegantly towards the tail. The use of gloss black on the rear pillars, creates an impressions of fluidity as well as providing a wraparound effect with the tinted rear screen. This is a technique we’ve also seen work to its fullest potential in the new Mahindra Xylo. The rear lamps feature LED technology for brake, light and indicator functions and, by their width and the manner in which they sandwich the chrome signature blade, emphasise the solid rear stance of the XF Sportbrake.
The XF Sportbrake is also available with two optional exterior design packages, Aero Pack (standard on the ‘S’ model) which adds a deeper front bumper, side sills and rear valance plus a rear spoiler enhancement and the Black Pack which replaces the exterior bright finishes with gloss black and pairs them with similarly finished alloy wheels.
A centrally-mounted touch-screen offers control of the navigation system and a range of other functions, while the switchgear features new soft-touch matt black paint and a soft phosphor blue illumination theme. A metallic Aurora finish on various parts in the interior complements new aluminium and veneer accents. The seats up front are more sculpted and well bolstered.
For the XF Sportbrake, entirely new rear seats, which allow generous seating for five, are comprehensively redesigned and feature an integral ski hatch and a 60:40 split. Rear passengers also enjoy an additional 48mm of headroom.
Remote-fold levers situated just inside the tailgate allow the rear seats to be folded down to have a 1675 litre boot space. The tailgate features soft-close power latching and can be specified with a fully powered open and close function. The load-space displays Jaguar’s typical attention to detail as it is trimmed in materials identical in quality to the XF Sportbrake’s cabin. The central portion of the load-space floor can be lifted to reveal an extra, hidden storage compartment and can also fold and lock into position to quickly and easily divide up the bay.
As with other major manufacturers, the load space is made modular by the use of a floor rail system that allows the quick fitment and release, for example, of optional nets and retaining bars to compartmentalise the space. A wide range of accessories engineered for the XF Sportbrake will allow owners to extend its versatility still further by organising or extending its carrying capacity.
A towbar can also be specified – when not needed the tow-hitch can be removed quickly, stored in a dedicated stowage space inside the boot, and replaced with a rear valance cover to disguise its mounting point. When fitted with the towbar, the XF Sportbrake’s Trailer Sway Mitigation system is activated. This uses the car’s Anti-Lock Braking and stability control systems to reduce the risk of ‘snaking’ when towing.