Reviewed: The Jaguar XF Sportbrake R-Sport

By Geoff Maxted on 26 February, 2015

The Jaguar XF has been with us since 2008 and although it remains a fine car it is now starting to look in need of refreshment. Jaguar plainly know this too because they will reveal an all-new XF in the Spring. The new car will go on sale in the Autumn. This doesn’t mean though that the current model doesn’t do the business though as our test car, the Sportbrake R-Sport, (first referred to in January on TBE) demonstrates.

The R-Sport package is simply a trim level but it does add some nice touches thanks to unique exterior body styling that includes a Sport front bumper, R style side sills, rear spoiler as well as new R-Sport badging on the side power vents, plus a black grille. There are no mechanical differences over the standard XF. When first launched upon an appreciative public the XF set new class standards in both ride and handling, and it still does today. There’s a specification sheet for this car at the bottom of the page.

The XF range offers three premium diesel engines, including the 2.2L i4 200 turbocharged diesel, the 3.0L 275 Turbocharged diesel S and the most economical engine in the Jaguar range – and the one fitted to this car – the 2.2L i4 163PS (161bhp) turbocharged diesel which has remarkable CO² emissions of just 129g/km and drives through a smooth eight-speed auto ‘box.

For high mileage users this 161bhp motor is the one to go for fitted with intelligent Stop/Start technology. It delivers decent, if unexciting, performance in Drive mode but switch it to Sport and the whole car livens up as the full power of the torquey motor is delivered. Business users will appreciate a BIK rate of 18% and, with a new model in the wings, there could well be some bargains on the cards in the coming months.

Inside, the sporting theme continues with the R-Sport badge on the steering wheel and tread plates. The Bond grain leather and Suedecloth seat are very comfortable and supportive, ideal for those long stints at the wheel. A choice of veneers from Gloss Dark Oak, Piano Black or Carbon Fibre further compliment the XF R-Sport’s dynamic character. The touchscreen – which, it has to be said, is starting to show its age – offers up all the infotainment and navigation choices as usual. Connectivity is as you would be expecting too.

The XF Sportbrake has a firm ride at low speeds which didn’t bother me. Once up to speed however all is sweetness and light. This car is every bit a mile-eater and the suspension irons out the lumps and bumps of British roads with aplomb. Despite being a very big car it manages to feel agile with sharp, accurate steering and great body control which means you can crack on in a purposeful manner.

So what have we got? There’s tons of head, leg and shoulder room inside. The fixtures and fittings are as you would expect in a car costing £36,495, although with the, IMO, essential extras fitted to the test car the price rises to a lusty £40,433. The boot which is huge, well shaped and easy to access, has fittings to help secure loads. Our car came with an inflation kit – there’s room under the floor for a space-saver.

So the XF is finally being revitalised but it would be wrong to dismiss the current car. For a start it is available now and it competitively remains one of the best executive cars available. Recommended.

Geoff Maxted