Jaguar, just as they said they would, made sure the launch of their 2018 XF Sportbrake - basically a wagon version of their mid-size premium saloon - coincided with the start of the Wimbledon tennis tournament in England.
We have to say, though, that despite this being a ‘load lugger special’ of the XF sedan, Jaguar has made enough significant changes to convincingly communicate its individual value. It’s rather familiar from the front, but the rear end has been through a more thorough rework.
Now featuring an estate body style with tapering roofline, the car’s silhouette folds neatly into the more rounded but also still quite contoured bum. A chrome strip sits in the centre of the hatch itself, connecting the pair of new tail lamps that look to be inspired by the F-Type sports car.
While it measures 6mm shorter overall than the previous XF Sportbrake, this new version is roomier thanks to a wheelbase that’s lengthened by 51mm to 2,960mm. Due to its aluminium intensive construction, it’s considerably lighter too, and Jaguar assures its near-perfect 50:50 weight distribution provides a good foundation for exceptional handling to complement the added space and practicality.
Back to that shape, though, where Jaguar claims an impressive drag coefficient of 0.29, but expands the cargo capacity to 565-litres with the seats down or 1,700-litres with them folded. The XF Sportbrake is positioned as a more luxurious cruiser, and comes as standard with self-levelling integral-link air suspension to iron out bumps.
Additionally, and for the first time, Jaguar is including the option to spec the car with a large panoramic glass roof measuring 1.6 metres square. The control for its retractable blinds are operated through gesture control, much like the automatic tailgate.
Inside, the XF Sportbrake experience when seated is not much different from the saloon. There’s lots of leather, a rotary gear lever, compact steering wheel, digital instrument cluster, and a 10-inch Touch Pro infotainment and navigation system that can be specified to also tie into a pair of rear row entertainment screens.
Under the bonnet, Jaguar offers the Sportbrake with a few four- or six-cylinder petrol and diesel engine options, including their new Ingenium line of mills. All XF Sportbrakes use a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission, an ideal dance partner as performance should be strong from across the board with the range kicking off with a rear-drive layout driven by a 2.0-litre turbodiesel producing 132kW and 430Nm, all this while sipping just 4.8-litres/100km on a combined cycle.
Meanwhile, the most performative diesel variant (that has been announced so far) boasts 221kW and 700Nm from a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel. Should that be paired with all-wheel drive, 0-100km/h is delivered from standstill in just 6.6-seconds. However, a 5.5 second sprint time comes courtesy of a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol with 279kW and 450Nm.
The XF Sportbrake should be arriving in multiple markets, including Australia, in the fourth quarter of 2017 with local pricing to be announced closer to the launch date.