All of the thrills and particulars on the wheel of Jaguar’s beautiful new XF wagon

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So that you suppose the station wagon is lifeless. If “alive” means practically one million gross sales a 12 months and 25 or 30 choices to select from, because it was from the late 1960s via the mid-‘70s, then, yeah, the wagon might be lifeless. On the very least we’re 4 many years past peak wagon.

But if alive means a small however steady chunk of car gross sales, then the wagon ain’t lifeless but. Residents of the USA will purchase roughly 200,000 station wagons in 2017, counting crossover issues just like the Subaru Outback, VW Golf Alltrack and Audi A4 Allroad. The station wagon stays a doubtlessly worthwhile area of interest, and Jaguar desires in.

Witness the 2018 XF Sportbrake. The Sportbrake is the second XF property, as our mates within the U.Okay. prefer to name them, however the first supplied in North America. It’s constructed from the mid-size XF sedan, which was overhauled for 2016 should you hadn’t observed, and the Sportbrake makes no pretense towards being a crossover factor.




The crossing over will likely be left to Jaguar’s hot-selling F-Tempo SUV and the forthcoming E-Tempo compact. The Sportbrake, in response to designer Wayne Burgess, was developed for individuals who need extra space to hold stuff however expressly don’t need elevated journey top—maybe as a result of they wish to make it simpler for pets to climb aboard, or as a result of they simply can’t abide by a better middle of gravity. There’s one thing to be stated for that.

The Sportbrake is similar in size, width and wheelbase to the aluminum-intensive XF sedan, and it will likely be supplied stateside solely within the XF’s driver-oriented S trim. Meaning Jaguar’s acquainted supercharged three.Zero-liter V6 (380 horsepower, 332 pound-feet of torque), a ZF-sourced eight-speed torque-converter computerized, light-weight all-wheel drive system (simply 45 kilos for the ability take-off and entrance diff) and electronically managed adaptive shock absorbers. To advertise a pleasant, flat load flooring and keep an excellent keel when it’s totally loaded, the Sportbrake will get its personal self-leveling rear air suspension.

The remaining variations are the plain ones, beginning with the Sportbrake’s longer glass wagon roof. Jaguar engineers say they went to nice lengths to attenuate the Sportbrake’s weight acquire, making use of denser, lighter acoustic insulation, barely thinner aluminum for the facet panels and a single-piece composite tailgate. Nonetheless, with the heavy glass roof, air suspension elements and numerous wagon accoutrements, the Sportbrake provides barely greater than 200 kilos to the XF S sedan’s curb weight.



XFSB I2


That weight acquire has some worth in its personal proper. The XF sedan, famous for its close to 50/50 weight steadiness, is definitely biased barely towards the entrance. The Sportbrake shifts that bias rearward, to a Ferrari-like 47/53.

Then there’s the cargo quantity underneath the Sportbrake’s lengthy roof. It has 32 cubic ft of house behind its rear seat, in comparison with about 19 cubic ft within the XF sedan’s trunk and 33.5 cubic ft within the F-Tempo SUV, which occurs to be one of many roomiest in its class. Decrease the Sportbrake’s rear seatbacks, and there stays a wonderfully flat load flooring no less than 42 inches vast stretching to the entrance seatbacks. There’s additionally 69.7 cubic ft of quantity, or about 5 cubic ft greater than the F-Tempo with its rear seat folded. Rear passengers within the Sportbrake get a bit extra knee room and a pair of.75 inches extra headroom than these an XF sedan.

The wagon accoutrements embody a gesture-operated tailgate with programmable elevate top and LED puddle lights, 40/20/40 break up rear seatback, rear seat folding mechanism on the tailgate, a cargo blind, 4 tie-down factors on the load flooring and flush-mounted rails within the load house that accommodate a spread of equipment. If there isn’t sufficient room inside, the Sportbrake’s roof rails will help 220 kilos. And whereas it gained’t be tow-rated in North America, the XF wagon might be fitted to tug about four,000 kilos in Europe. We’d guess it’s appropriate for towing right here, too, if you wish to set up a hitch. The one factor to fret about is your guarantee.



XFSB I3


Jaguar Land Rover has began XF Sportbrake manufacturing at its Citadel Bromwich plant in England, and the primary U.S. spec automobiles are due by the tip of the 12 months. At $71,445 with the $995 vacation spot cost, the Sportbrake S comes with commonplace entrance and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise management. Act shortly and also you would possibly snag one in all 20 First Version Sportbrakes—all painted metallic Farallon Black. These will add tools that’s optionally available on the S, together with Jaguar’s wearable Exercise Key bracelet, an 825-watt Meridian stereo, wifi hotspot and a management function that permits front-seat occupants to function the roof shade by waving a hand in entrance of the mirror.

Jaguar isn’t speaking Sportbrake gross sales quantity—neither complete nor share of all XF sales—but it gained’t quantity to many automobiles. At 20 p.c of all U.S. XF gross sales, the Sportbrake would barely break 1000 per 12 months.

Jaguar isn’t bringing the Sportbrake to North America to drastically enhance quantity. It’s doing so to attempt to reset the low-profile XF among the many E-Lessons, 5-Collection and A6s of the world. The Sportbrake is the kind of car that builds model loyalty and re-affirms an organization’s soul, and it ought to solely assist Jaguar proceed to claw its approach again into the consciousness of American luxury-car patrons.


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Execution

It would sound trite or cliché to say, however it’s true: The XF Sportbrake encapsulates what we like (and like much less) about Jaguar’s present sedan lineup. With much more room to hold stuff.

Its three.Zero-liter supercharged V6 is stout, if not significantly luxurious—considerably extra highly effective than the engine in equally slotted rivals just like the Mercedes E400 wagon and Volvo V90, and filled with completely satisfied acceleration. The issue is that the sound this V6 generates does nothing to make the motive force wish to work it. It may be loud in dissatisfying model, and an impenetrably thick wall of noise at full bore.

The noise you’ll be able to reside with, given the megawatt audio and the XF’s common quietude at gentle throttle. The larger downside is that it normally takes a break up second for the completely satisfied acceleration to materialize. The Sportbrake’s eight-speed computerized is sluggish to kick down, and typically even in sport mode. We’d guess this is perhaps discovered habits, in that the algorithms aren’t essentially anticipating full gasoline once you punctuate stretches of regular, light-throttle operation with deep jabs on the gasoline pedal. However even handbook shifts can really feel imprecise and fewer than authoritative. On condition that this computerized is completely satisfying in a lot of different vehicles, together with some Jaguars from an earlier period, one has to suppose that the Sportbrake’s uninspired shift administration has one thing to do with Jaguar’s tuning or final aims (which largely escape us).



XFSB I4


That’s about as troubling because it will get, and the great things is de facto good, as a result of the Sportbrake’s lackluster powertrain dynamics are greater than balanced by its chassis.  This wagon is crisp, athletic and practically completely sorted, and it will get down the street with a dexterity many excellent luxurious sedans (or wagons) can’t match—significantly these fitted with all-wheel drive. The Sportbrake’s steering is gentle, however it rolls off middle authoritatively, perhaps completely, with no trace of nervousness. If its brake-vectoring axles are serving to it observe steadily via bends, you’ll by no means discover past an occasional whiff of brake mud.

Driving the Sportbrake via canyons and switchbacks is an natural, satisfying expertise regardless of how briskly you’re going (although it helps to carry gears so long as potential), and nothing in its comportment suggests a 4100 pound curb weight. We defy anybody wanting Lewis Hamilton to find out via the arse that the Sportbrake weighs a number of hundred kilos greater than the XF sedan. Its springs really feel agency, to make certain, however stiff, inflexible or uneven aren’t applicable descriptors.

This evaluation would possibly change if the drive route ran southwest from Pittsburgh to Wheeling, reasonably than over the principally new, hardly ever dangerous roads round sunny Porto, Portugal, or if U.S.-spec Sportbrakes ship with all-season rubber reasonably than the game tires on the take a look at automobile. The kernel ought to stay nonetheless: you’ll look lengthy and laborious for a extra dynamically pleasing drive with comparable utility to the Sportbrake, and also you gained’t discover it even in Jaguar’s personal F-Tempo.



XFSB I5


The present XF is simply three mannequin years previous, although you won’t suppose so sitting statically in one of many entrance seats. The swap format and interface are higher than some and nearly as good as most. The end is wealthy, however the shapes are largely slabs and ornamentation is subdued. There’s nothing to explain as flash. The Jag designers’ pitch is perhaps “classically timeless;’’ others would possibly name it uninteresting or retro. If the Sportbrake have been the automobile, this man wouldn’t be postpone by the cabin therapy, however that comes right down to what one desires from life.

Takeway

Within the scheme of Teutonic-influenced luxurious sedans, the Jaguar XF is an outlier. Given the shopping for public’s restricted appreciation for wagons, the XF Sportbrake most likely strikes additional towards the perimeter. Whereas its engine/transmission can sometimes annoy, the Sportbrake’s journey/dealing with steadiness and its usefulness as day by day transportation could also be past reproach.

The most effective factor to say in regards to the XF, wagon roof or in any other case, is that it’s simple to search out its soul. Because the age of the SUV approaches the daybreak of autonomous mobility, clear and apparent soul shouldn’t be minimized.











On Sale: December 2017


Base Value: $71,445


Powertrain: three.Zero-liter supercharged V6, eight-speed computerized, AWD


Output: 380 hp @ 6,500, 332 lb-ft @ four,500


Curb Weight: four,Zero45 lbs


Zero-60 MPH: 5.three sec (producer)


Gas Financial system: 20 mpg metropolis, 27 freeway (projected EPA)(EPA Metropolis/Hwy/Mixed)


Professionals: The hauling house of a mid-size SUV with the lightness and athleticism of a Jag sedan


Cons: A powertrain that doesn’t fairly ship the complete pleasure its horsepower ranking guarantees



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