Car Reviews

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake First Edition 30D Review

Dan DeGasperi’s 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake First Edition 30D Review with pricing, specs, performance, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.

In a nutshell: It asks a premium over even an SUV, but the XF Sportbrake First Edition 30D rewards with class, comfort and dynamics to do Jaguars past proud.

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake First Edition 30D Review Specifications

Price $137,300+ORC Warranty three-years, 100,000km Safety 5-star NCAP Engine 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel Power 221kW at 4000rpm Torque 700Nm at 2000rpm Transmission eight-speed automatic Drive rear-wheel drive Dimensions 4955mm (L) 1987mm (W) 1496mm (H) 2960mm (WB) Seats five Boot Space 565 litres Weight 1855kg Towing 750-2000kg Fuel Tank 66 litres Thirst 5.9L/100km claimed and 7.3L/100km as-tested

Comprehensive Car Insurance

WHO a couple of decades ago would have thought that in 2018 a traditional station wagon could be seen as something quirky?

What’s in the range and how much does it cost?

Now in its second-generation, the evolutionary XF remains available in sedan with 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol (20T, 25T, 30T) or diesel (20D, 25D) starting from $75,400 plus on-road costs, plus up-spec versions of the 20D/25T in Sportbrake from $90,400+ORC.

The 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged diesel (30D) starts with the sedan from $116,950+ORC, and Sportbrake from $123,450+ORC. Only the sedan gets a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol (35T) option, though, from $124,500+ORC, but all of the above trio take an XF S designation. Both also score more equipment than the four-cylinder versions, but this Sportbrake-only First Edition 30D includes more of it as standard for a total – and hefty – $137,300+ORC.

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake First Edition review

Plenty is standard, including rear air suspension, adaptive LED headlights, electrically adjustable steering column, a panoramic glass roof, 360-degree camera, 12.3-inch colour driver display and 10.0in centre touchscreen, 380-watt Meridian audio, digital radio, satellite navigation, head-up display, power tailgate and a handy ‘activity key’ for the keyless auto-entry – allowing you to lock the keys in the car and go for a swim or run with it.

What’s the Interior Like?

With adaptive cruise control, sumptuous ‘perforated grained’ leather sports seats featuring 18-way electric adjustment and memory settings for driver and passenger, plus heating front and rear, the XF Sportbrake First Edition 30D looks ready-made for country touring. That is until you realise those three additions add $4360, $3210 and $2540 respectively.

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake First Edition review

The adaptive cruise option also adds blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and active lane-keep assistance, but especially given that the latter didn’t work as fluently as rivals, it absolutely all should be standard at this price. Suddenly, this Jaguar becomes a $150K proposition, although place price and equipment aside and it is an utterly alluring one.

From the superb front seating position, to the generous rear legroom backed by a deep and supportive bench, miles of headroom all-round and a capacious 565-litre boot, this wagon is incredibly accommodating. The dash design may be conservative, but the plastics and trim finishes are first-rate and everything is ideally placed to ensure buttons and high-resolution touchscreen interact seamlessly.

What’s it like to drive?

You could buy the XF Sportbrake 20D R-Sport for $90,400+ORC with a 132kW/430Nm diesel with a claimed 8.8-second 0-100km/h and combined-cycle fuel consumption of 4.8 litres per 100 kilometres. Or the 25T R-Sport for $91,400+ORC with a 184kW/365Nm petrol that is faster (7.1sec 0-100km/h) but thirstier (7.1L/100km). It is expensive compared with those 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines, but this 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 makes 221kW/700Nm allowing for a 6.6sec 0-100km/h and 5.9L/100km diesel usage (or an on-test 7.3L/100km).

Allied with a brilliantly fluent eight-speed automatic transmission, the 30D engine suits the character of the XF Sportbrake ideally. It is deathly quiet and smooth when cruising, yet is still crisp and fast when extended. The only caveat is that a kerb weight of 1855kg conspires with the slower-revving nature of a diesel to often feel less sporty than perhaps it should.

Jaguar XF Sportbrake First Edition review
Model shown from international launch.

Jaguar has nailed the steering, which is immaculately light and sharp, and suspension, which is cushy in Comfort and perfectly level in Dynamic even on 20-inch tyres, to make for a BMW-beating large car. It is impossible to overstate how joyful this XF is to drive. It also adopts a terrifically composed and eager cornering attitude, again with the only caveat being that a petrol-turbo-four-only BMW 5 Series weighs 215kg less than this Sportbrake, and it feels more nimble and agile – if not as dynamically harmonious with steering and ride control. For anyone except those keenest on twisty-road handling, this 30D is best-in-class.

What about ownership?

Jaguar offers a three-year, 100,000 kilometre warranty. A capped-price servicing package over five years or 130,000km asks $2200 up front.

What about safety features?

As aforementioned, an Active Safety Pack costs $4360 extra, which includes a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assistance and driver condition monitor. It should be standard to boost the already-included six airbags, ABS, ESC, around-view monitor, lane-departure warning and forward collision warning with AEB.

So, what do we think?

SUVs might take you down the road less travelled, but the XF Sportbrake First Edition 30D proves that picking the showroom option less chosen could be the smartest decision of all.

It might be heavy for a wagon, but this Jaguar still weighs a couple of hundred kilograms less than a near-identically-priced F-Pace SVR with a fuel-sucking petrol V8 (11.9L/100km) and which can’t go offroad anyway. Okay that mid-SUV monster is quicker, at 4.3sec 0-100km/h versus 6.6sec here, but it’s a choice between the bold and brash, or the classy and couth.

With gorgeous styling, a spacious and beautifully finished interior, a fast yet frugal engine, and superb steering and suspension, this revitalised wagon is arguably worth a premium.

Jaguar XF Sportbrake First Edition review
Model shown from international launch

Editor's Rating

How do we rate the interior?
How do we rate the controls and infotainment?
How do we rate the performance?
How do we rate the ride and handling?
How do we rate the safety?
Practical Motoring says: Find an XF Sportbrake First Edition 30D sitting in showrooms, then bargain hard with the dealership on options that should be standard. Resale is patchy on these Jaguars, so it’s an even more compelling reason to get a good price and then you might need to hold onto it for a while. After driving this diesel wagon for a week, however, we’d suggest you might want to keep it for a long time anyway.

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Dan DeGasperi

Dan DeGasperi