2019 Jaguar XF Sportbrake 25t R-Sport

JUST like a big cat, the 2019 Jaguar XF Sportbrake 25t R-Sport has a regal presence as it roams the concrete jungle, thanks mostly to its smooth flowing lines, 19-inch wheels, pumped guards and that iconic emblem.

To the traditionalists, Jaguar is famed for its iconic and timeless designs, although more recently it may have seemed like the brand had completely embraced the SUV band wagon. The release of the XF Sportbrake dismisses those assumptions.

This is one gorgeous kitty quite frankly, and the huge tailgate on the back gives way to 550-litres of storage space goodness (more than enough room for a few sets of golf clubs), which grows to 1,675-litres when you drop the split fold rear seats.

Climb up front, and there’s interior comfort aplenty, with luxurious leather 10-way electronic seating and a cockpit with controls like the millennium falcon. It’s whisper quiet and has a great field of vision that’s pretty much impossible to fault.

The massive 10-inch display combined with Jaguar infotainment and premium Meridian sound system are an audio visual treat for the senses, whether you’re turning up your favourite DAB radio station or you’ve plugged in your smartphone.

There’s Apply CarPlay and Android Auto on board, with Bluetooth connectivity and full SatNav as well. Jaguar have also added an in-car Wi-Fi hot spot, which enables passengers to connect up to eight devices to the internet.

Voice control functionality and the 360-degree parking display could do with some refinement though. In an odd way, so could the graphics on the infotainment system. Not from a resolution perspective, but rather in the way the iconography is done.

The silver dash trim looks and feels out of place for this pedigree of vehicle and the piano black trims seem to be the norm in most vehicles today. That said, the lush faux-suede headliner looks amazing.

The temptation to keep touching the headlining is strong, like the lure of ‘the dark side’ in your favourite Star Wars flick. Rear seating space is comfortable too, provided there are no more than two adults, three makes it quite cosy, in a group hug kind of way.

Safety specs are high too, with forward-collision warning, autonomous emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist.

One of the stand out components of the big Jag though is the JaguarDrive control system. It lets you jump from daily driver to weekend warrior at the flick of a switch to deliver a driving style to suit your mood.

Engaging different drive modes tweaks steering, throttle response and gear change timings, with Dynamic mode the most enjoyable. It’s appropriately highlighted by the little race flag symbol.

In this mode the Jag really opens itself up and stretches its legs through its 8-speed gearbox. No matter the mode, handling is exceptionally smooth, so much so that despite a gross weight of just under 2,300kg, it doesn’t actually feel like you’re driving a wagon.

The self-levelling rear air suspension and smart adaptive suspension make this RWD machine an utter joy to drive.

The XF Sportbrake is available in a number of variants, including a supercharged V6 option, but for us, it’s the 25t R-Sport, fitted with a turbo 4-cylinder Ingenium engine; the 2.0-litre petrol power plant offering up 184kW of power and 365Nm of torque.

The Jaguar has a top speed of 241km/h and can do the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.9 seconds. The XF’s spec sheet advises a combined fuel economy of 7.5-litres/100km, but we could only manage a 10.0 from the sporty wagon.

Our only other criticism of the XF Sportbrake is the same issue we’ve had with this brand and its siblings, Range Rover and Land Rover, for some time. That the really good bits are optional extras, and you have to pay more for them.

We’d also like to see some greater thought go into the clear plastic behind the badge on the front grill, which is part of the car’s radar system for driver assist functionalities, as it’s very prominent.

Choosing the colour of your new 2019 Jaguar XF Sportbrake 25t R-Sport will leave you perplexed. There’s a trillion options. Well okay, there’s 12, and among them is the Fuji White of our test vehicle.

But you could also choose Rosselio Red, Caesium Blue, Carpathian Grey, or Santorini Black as just some examples. It comes with a 3-year unlimited kilometre warranty and three years roadside assist.

If you are looking at purchasing an estate/wagon and want to stand out from the other soccer mums and dads, the Jaguar XF Sportbrake 25t R-Sport should definitely be on your list of potential vehicles, even with a drive away price of close to $106,000 (as tested).

Our test vehicle was provided by Jaguar Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Jaguar XF Sportbrake 25t R-Sport, contact your local Jaguar dealer. Image courtesy of J_Hui Design/Photography.

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