Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jaguar XF Sportbrake 3.0 Portfolio

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jaguar XF Sportbrake 3.0 Portfolio

Article excerpt

Byline: Ian Donaldson

JAGUAR is spending a fairly large fortune on its future with a new medium-sized saloon due on sale later this year.

First signs look promising (nobody outside the company has driven the XE yet) but until this rival for the BMW 3 Series hits the showroom, Jaguar remains a motor industry minnow.

Compare the firm to BMW and you find the German car maker sells more premium priced mid-range coupes than Jaguar builds cars in total.

All that mighty German sales revenue means easier access to the sort of eye-watering budgets needed to keep a complicated thing like a car as up to date and appealing as possible.

The wonder, after a couple of delightful weeks in a beefy Jaguar estate, is how wisely the Coventry car-maker has spent a development budget that might cover a new BMW dashboard but not much else.

You sense that Jaguar set out to be something different - giving the XF Sportbrake the sort of attributes long associated with the company, and let the vastly bigger selling opposition fight for bragging rights among themselves.

So the XF doesn't major on roominess; it may be an estate (Sportbrake in Jaguar language) but with the rear seats in use there's almost no more space for luggage than you'll find in the PS2,500 cheaper XF saloon.

Flop the seats down and there's then no contest (the Sportbrake easily wins the space race) but it was surely more important in the planning meetings that the Sportbrake looked simply lovely.

It does, don't you think? It was also surely a given that the big cat should drive like a car developed on our awful pockmarked roads, meaning enough suppleness in the suspension (even with huge 20in alloys at each corner) to make cars honed on German roads feel brittle by comparison. Jaguar got that right too.

And the XF ought to move along at an impressive lick while giving off enough hints about its Britishness to everyone enjoying the ride. …

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