Jag wagon: It's all about the space

By Alastair Sloane

Jaguar XF Sportbrake. Photo / Supplied
Jaguar XF Sportbrake. Photo / Supplied

Jaguar has revealed what some are calling its most practical car ever - a station wagon called the XF Sportbrake.

It will go on sale in New Zealand early next year - if the importer, Motorcorp Distributors, likes what it sees.

"We haven't decided to take it yet," says James Yates, Jaguar NZ general manager. "It depends on what will be available for New Zealand, the spec levels, drivetrain and so on."

The Sportbrake rivals Germany's top-end wagons for load space. Fold the seats flat and the British carry-all provides 1675 litres, similar to that of the BMW 5-Series Touring and Audi A6 Avant, but still 275 litres less than the Mercedes E-Class estate.

The 60:40 split rear bench can be folded flat by pulling a pair of levers in the boot, while a ski hatch accommodates longer items.

The tailgate features a soft-close electric hinge and can be electrically powered as an option. A pair of rails on the boot floor can accommodate a raft of nets and dividers to hold cargo still.

Sportbrake lead designer Wayne Burgess told Britain's AutoExpress: "We tried to make the load space as luxurious as the rest of the car. That's why you'll find deep carpeting, ambient lighting and a stainless-steel plate on the lip. Your dog will love it in there!"

The wheelbase remains the same as the XJ saloon's, but the roof has been significantly lengthened, giving an extra 48mm of rear headroom.

Blacked-out B- and C-pillars create a far longer, slimmer side glass area than on the four-door, while the D-pillars also get a gloss black finish (a cue borrowed from the XJ), creating the illusion that the tinted rear screen wraps right around the back of the car.

As Europe is the target market, Jaguar will only offer diesel power.

The range-topping S, producing 202kW and 600Nm from its 3-litre V6 turbodiesel, should cover 0-100km/h in less than six seconds and return around 6.2 litres/100km, or 45mpg.

A 176kW V6 diesel will also be available in some markets.

For maximum economy, though, the four-cylinder 2.2-litre is the one to go for. This features stop-start as standard, and is set to return around 4.5 litres/100km, or 52mpg.

All models are equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission and self-levelling air-suspension at the rear.

Jaguar predicts Sportbrakes will account for around 20 per cent of total XF sales. Next for the company is the C-X16 sports car, as well as four-wheel-drive and hybrid models.

- NZ Herald

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