A week with the Jaguar XF Sportbrake

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Day one: When the Jaguar XF saloon came out everyone was very amused by all the whirring, acrobatic things that happen inside when you start it. Four years on, these things are still rather cool. The starter button light pulses like a heart beat, the face vents rotate into position and the knob-o-matic gear selector rises smoothly from the flat surface beside your left knee. It’s childishly entertaining. The rest of this car is more sensible, it being the estate version Jag have had on their to-do list for yonks. It’s quite a handsome thing too. I presume they’d have done it earlier but they didn’t have the money. Or they just forgot.

Day two: The XF saloon is very nice car to drive. It’s not massively surprising to discover that the XF Sportbacon is also a very nice car to drive. It feels nimble and the steering is not too heavy and not too light. It’s just right. Goldilocks would like this car. She could probably sleep in the boot too, which would avoid any more bear-based bed shenanigans. The only thing that spoils the chassis is the ride which I think might be a bit bumpy.

Day three: You know what would be nice. An XFR version of this car. You’d want that. Officially no such thing is on the cards but I bet the engineering team has got one kicking around somewhere. They seem to like such hands-on engineering at Jag. It’s why, until quite recently, there was an XK sports car with a diesel engine chugging about their R&D centre. I’m not sure such a thing would have worked. On the other hand, this 3-litre V6 diesel works very well in the Sporkbait. In fact, it really shifts. I’m still worried that the ride isn’t as comfy as it should be in a Jag.

Day four: The ride might not be very Jag-ish but there’s something traditional about the driving position. It’s very cosy. If you were being cruel you might even call it slightly cramped. I don’t remember the XF always being like this. So either the interior has got pokier or I’ve grown. I’ll ask my dad to check the little pencil marks on the kitchen door frame.

Day five: I’ve just realised that after five days with the Spurtbake I haven’t even looked in the new bit at the back which seems a bit remiss so here we go: The tailgate opens remotely and at decent speed. On some cars they don’t which is tremendously unamusing in the pissing rain. The boot itself is lined with decent carpet, there are some clever shiny latching things, a couple of slick levers on the sides to remotely release the seat backs without showing your arse crack and neat LEDs in the inside of the tailgate so you can see what you’re doing. All in all, a class act.

Day six: I don’t want to sound like one of those old farts who thinks Jags should be covered in ivy and come with a free set of horse brasses but there are certain Jaguar traditions that shouldn’t be abandoned and ride quality is one of them. The company has to move on but that doesn’t mean they have to forget former glories and one of the things that used to make the company’s cars unique was that, unlike many German rivals, they rode properly on the average crappy British road surface. And, after almost a week of buttockular analysis, I’m sorry to say this XF does not. It isn’t terrible, but nor is it any better than the average BMW or Mercedes. And it should be.

Day seven: Ride aside, the XF is still a good car and I find this version more appealing than the saloon. I don’t quite know why. Maybe it’s because I like taking large pieces of wood to the recycling centre and I have a dog. The boot is actually too nice to put the dog in but if I did I’m sure she’d like it. And even if there wasn’t a hairy panting buffoon in my house, chewing my shoes and covering everything in mysterious dog dust, I’d still be interested in the Porkbaste. It’s an appealing thing. Apart from the name. The name is stupid.

The car talked about here was a Jaguar XF Sportbrake 3.0 V6 diesel Portfolio which has 237 horsepower, can do 149mph and 0-60 in 6.7 seconds, and costs £47,605.


  1. Hmmm, or buy a Mondeo which is bigger, more comfortable, more practical, half the price and you won’t mind having your dog in it. And then use the other £24k that you’ve saved to put a used 911 on your driveway, for when you really want to have some fun.

  2. Drop the tyre pressure a little bit: 2-4psi makes a surprising difference to the ride quality.

  3. Hmm,

    Or buy a year’s bus pass and then invest the other £47,104 in a really risky offshore investment and when it pays off you’ll have enough money to buy all the supercars in the world and set fire to them, when you REALLY want to have some fun.

    Or just buy whatever you want really.

  4. I’ve noticed the cack ride on the latest batch of execs. Can Jag really not beat that? I’m sure they can, they’re just trying a bit too hard to be sporty probably. I do like the XF Cornflake though, a more successful big Jag estate than the Avons!

  5. Oh and is there a prize given to whoever can come up with the best phonetic variation of “Sportbrake”?

  6. Frankie – If there is, my money’s on Spongecake

  7. Guessing the ride quality is bad because they’ve beefed up the rear suspension to cope with the extra weight it may have to carry.

  8. Good point Vanoord. My old XJR actually has two sets of tyre pressures in the handbook. The normal ones and the official ‘comfort’ pressures.

    Frankie – No prize for best variation of Sportbrake but the eternal admiration of your peers should be enough.

  9. Is there also a beefed up front suspension? The Prawnbake is only available in derv which will make the engine heavier so that’s something else to think about.

    Antony and Sniff Petrol-how about Pornsnake?

  10. I’ll take the diesel-engined XKR if they throw in an XJ220-engined transit.

  11. This Lawnrake seems like a jolly decent car, but in black? Too much like a hearse for my liking. And I’m awfully concerned that the bumwarmer switches are a tad complicated.

  12. surely dropping the pressures in the tyres also leads to extra wobbliness, worse MPG, oh, and falling off the road?

  13. Or if you have that sort of money and want to carry stuff, tow trailers and not get stuck in the snow, buy a Discovery.

  14. Hmm, that’s true. If I had 50 grand to spend on a new dog wagen, I’d probably get a Discovery 4.

  15. The new Shortcake eh?
    The front end looks like an Audi that wants to throw up violently.

  16. Jenny dear, don’t be silly. Audis always throw up gently and quietly.

  17. Bear-based bed shenanigans – thank you so much I now have Images. Not helped by an ex who was very much into dog-based bed shenanigans and had been since age 11 if her embarrassed explanations were anywhere remotely akin to true…

  18. The bigger the wheel size the worse the ride. Try one with 18/19 inch wheels .

  19. Surely based upon the review and feedback above, the most apt “phonetic variation” for Sportbrake should be Taught-ache…

    Just saying 🙂

  20. ….or ArseAche perhaps

  21. Wartflake.

  22. Just come up to 1000 miles in a new 3ltr (240) toothache with 17in wheels (set at 36psi all round as advertised). I’m beginning to think the rear suspension has seized. No compliance at all so your teeth feel as if the fillings are going to shake out on all the little irregularities in the road. Makes all the stuff behind the dash rattle too…… Not good.

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