Is a petrol engine the perfect accompaniment for this sporting estate?
So far we’ve tested the stylish Sportbrake with Jaguar’s diesel options, but now you can have it with a four-cylinder petrol engine. That sounds like a pretty smooth and classy combination, so how well do they actually work together?
The 2.0-litre engine is the petrol Ingenium version of the diesel, and as such it makes a perfectly acceptable 247bhp and 269lb ft of torque. It’s giving away some torque to the diesel, but the payoff is a powerplant that is notably smoother and more civilised in nature.
It also works well with the eight-speed auto, although there can be a touch of hesitation when pulling away – something of a trait of JLR transmissions these days. Once you’re up to speed, it’s all very slick, with just 2000rpm on the rev counter at 70mph and a pleasantly hushed ambience in the cabin.
Jaguar XF Sportbrake 2.0 25t R-Sport
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol
Torque: 269lb ft
Gearbox: 8-spd automatic
Top speed: 150mph
Fuel economy: 41.5mpg
CO2/tax band: 155g/km, 30%
The R-Sport model gets the standard firmer sports suspension as well as a whole slew of kit the standard car gets, such as electrically adjustable leather seats in the front, self-levelling rear air springs, a powered tailgate and front sensors to go with the rears.
The styling is definitely sporty and it helps if you like red in this particular manifestation. Even the rear seats are moulded and look suitable for a sports car, but behind them is a seriously useful loadbed, which can extend to 1700 litres if the rear split seats are folded down. With the self-levelling suspension you have a practical load carrier as well as a sporty looking wagon that won’t go so far as to call itself an estate.
All this is great, and the handling is that classic Jaguar combination of limpet-like roadholding and a suppleness to the apparently firm suspension that is an absolute joy to experience. The 19-inch rims allow a few potholes to thump through, but generally those in the cabin are in a classy, spacious area untroubled largely by the outside world.
The issue really is that the handling package seems even better than usual since the power output isn’t high enough to really trouble it. The 0-62mph dash in 6.7 seconds tells you where this is at. Power delivery is decently linear but it just never seems to really feel as sporty as the bold lines suggest. Those who feel it should more than back up the swagger will be disappointed.
In an ideal world we’d love to try the 3.0-litre petrol engine you can have in the saloon S, but that’s not going to be an option in the Sportbrake. As it is, the petrol engine does a decent job if you’d rather not have a diesel, but that’s about as positive a response as it can muster in this application. So, if you’re happy with that, then it broadens the range nicely, and gives more choices to the seriously handsome and fine-handling XF Sportbrake.