While BMW has been busy morphing the achingly-pretty BMW 6 Series Coupe into the Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Jaguar is actually bringing us a beautiful wagon — the Jaguar XF Sportbrake. Even its name is cool. Not just as a BMW fan but as a car fan in general, this new is a bit of a kick to the nether-regions.
Ask someone from BMW if a 5 Series Touring will ever make it to the U.S. market and they’ll give you a clichéd answer about market demand. Admittedly, there’s a lot of truth to that. Americans simply don’t buy wagons. It’s frustrating but true. However, there are a lot of enthusiasts who feel that there’s more of a market than BMW thinks and that, if BMW brings them, we will come.
Prime evidence of this fan-theory is this new Jaaaag. Based off of the standard XF, the new Jaguar XF Sportbrake is a mid-sized luxury wagon that will do battle with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon, Audi A6 Avant and the BMW 5 Series Touring, the latter two only in Europe.
Now, Jaguar is a low-volume seller in North America, with minuscule numbers compared to the Germans. Yet, the Brits still feel that there’s enough market here to sell the XF Sportbrake. Obviously, the numbers won’t be high but I’m assuming Jaguar thinks they’ll be high enough to warrant selling it. Otherwise, why would Jag do so?
Jaguar’s current design language is among the best in the business. It might be the only brand that can make its cars all look so similar and have no one complain. They’re all just so pretty. This new Jaguar XF Sportbrake is no different and Ian Callum, Director of Design at Jaguar, seems to really understand how to properly pen a wagon. “As with the XF saloon, every line on the Sportbrake serves a clear purpose, creating a fast sweeping silhouette. This gives the car a sense of speed and a very dynamic appearance. As a result, I think it looks just as sporty as the saloon, if not more so.” said Callum.
Inside, the XF Sportbrake is pretty much the same as the sedan. It’s pretty and sporty with some interesting bits to entertain owners, such as the rising rotary shift knob and the flip-around air-vents that open on upon start-up. The new 10-inch In-Touch Pro infotainment system also looks very nice, though we’ll see if it’s as quick or intuitive as BMW’s iDrive.
There are also some new clever bits about the XF Sportbrake, such as the Activity Key and Gesture Blind. The former debuted on the F-Pace SUV and is a wearable waterproof smart-bracelet that acts as the car’s key. So if you want to go surfing and don’t want to leave your keys on the beach, you can leave them in the car and wear this Activity Key, which will allow you to unlock the car. The Gesture Blind system is similar to BMW’s Gesture Control, except that it only controls the sunblind. Wave your hand either forward or backward in front of the rearview mirror and the sunblind with either close or open. I’m not exactly sure why this is better than a one-touch button but the same can be said for BMW’s system.
In America, there will be only be one powertrain/drivetrain option: a 3.0 liter supercharged V6 making 380 hp, paired with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. The latter bit comes with what Jaguar calls ASPC (All Surface Progress Control) and AdSR (Adaptive Surface Response). Both are basically software systems developed by Jaguar Land Rover to help all-wheel drive vehicles handle any and all road conditions with ease.
In addition to its looks and its tech and wagon-y goodness, the XF should also handle quite well. Some enthusiasts feel that the Jaguar XF is the best driving car in the segment. Whether or not is the best isn’t as important as knowing that, either way, it’s damn good to drive. It’s agile, has great steering and is genuinely enjoyable to drive.
So the new Jaguar XF Sportbrake looks fantastic, has a nice cabin, some nice features and is a real-deal sport/luxury wagon coming to the U.S. market. If Jaguar feels there’s enough of a market for it to sell such a car here, then surely there’s enough of one for us to get the superb 5 Series Touring.