2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake : Review
The 2018 Jaguar XF is a midsize luxury car that combines cutting-edge lightweighting with Old World style. We drove the XF last year and loved it. Now the XF has a Sportbrake option that makes it a wagon and, not surprisingly, an even better drive. Where the 2018 XF has four engine choices, the Sportbrake comes only with the best of those plus all-wheel drive as standard.
The 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake has a better vehicle balance for road dynamics than does the already very well-done XF, thanks to its heavier wagon body adding more weight at the rear and the standard AWD. Plus, just look at it. It’s beautiful.
The 2018 XF Sportbrake has classic proportions as a British-style estate (wagon). The classically Jaguar front grille, flanked by thin headlamps, and the large bezens below those in which the fog lamps reside, are a balanced combination. Airflow ducts for the wheels and brakes, a thin, wide lower intake, and wide tires complete the aggressive, but still classy fascia of the XF.
Above that, the hood flows back to the windscreen with aplomb while sensual fenders curve out from the sides. This smooth look is all about aerodynamics with style. Body lines which flow from the front fenders to the rear dip slightly to accentuate the curve of the Sportbrake’s gentle roofline. A classic rear hatch curves slightly to finish the look.
The 2018 XF Sportbrake is a beautiful example of timeless design in automotive form.
The 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake sits somewhere in between the more opulent and the more austere of the interiors in the luxury market. Instead of setting itself apart by blasting ostentation at you with every glance and turn or screaming minimalism with expensive, bleached-out simplicity, the Jaguar credo is to offer Old World design mixed with modern materials and amenities.
There is a nice mix of high-quality materials throughout the XF’s cabin, all of which was installed with careful craftsmanship. The driver’s cockpit is well-organized and designed to keep feet and hands within easy reach of controls at all times. Comfort is supreme in most renditions of the Sportbrake, thanks to well-done seating and nice bolstering. The front passenger is likewise treated to excellent arrangements. One thing that’s missing are some small item storage spots. We’ve noticed that many luxury makes seem to miss out on this point.
The rear seating in the Sportbrake is also very comfortable. Getting three across is a bit of a squeeze if they’re adults, but kids are easily accommodated that way. The outboard seating is very good and both children and adults will find it excellent. The doors on the XF feel heavy to close, though, and we’d recommend opting for the “soft close” door upgrade option.
The cargo space in the 2018 Sportbrake is large, wide, and easy to access. Space is on par with most small crossovers at 31.7 cubic feet and the rear seats are split-fold as standard, expanding cargo to 69.7 cubes.
Infotainment in the 2018 XF Sportbrake starts with an 8-inch screen that includes audio and Bluetooth and not much else. Upgrading to the 12-inch screen adds a more crisp graphics quality and a little more functionality, but Jaguar largely falls short in infotainment offerings. The good news is that the XF’s infotainment is easy to use, but that’s principally because it’s not able to do anything very complex. We are fans of the nice British woman’s navigation prompts, however stilted they are.
The 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake comes standard with the upper-end V6 that’s available in this XF sedan. This supercharged six produces 380 horsepower and brings it with a satisfying rumble. An automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are also standard. So is paddle shifting and, of course, the well-done chassis of the Sportbrake’s well-balanced design.
The XF Sportbrake isn’t a drag racer, nor can it beat most seriously sport-tuned rivals, but it’s got respectable speed and agility. The eight-speed automatic shifts quickly and doesn’t hesitate to lower a gear when the speed needs to pour on. We enjoyed its sprightly feel and running confidence. Most will likely get 6.5-second 0-60 mph runs without much work. With practice, that can get well below 6 seconds and even below 5.5 on a track with a good pilot. Top speed is 121 mph.
The Jaguar XF Sportbrake feels good in the corners and on the road during normal and spirited driving. It’s confident about itself, making the driver feel fine with pouring it on or avoiding a traffic mess by taking a twisting back road. There are some rearward visibility issues with the longer wagon-style body, but the reverse camera helps make up for that in tight maneuvers in the parking lot. The Sportbrake is agile for its size.
After a week with the superb 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake, we came away with a good impression of this estate. It drives very well, is comfortable and quiet on the road, and has the gumption to get going when requested. This is a beautiful, well-made sport wagon. The XF Sportbrake starts at $70,450, which is about $3,000 more than the comparable XF sedan.