Jaguar has unveiled its second only estate car, the XF Sportbrake, based on its acclaimed sporting saloon the XF.
And on first appearances, the design gurus at Whitley Engineering Centre, just outside Coventry, have definitely managed to balance style and practicality in creating this new addition to family.
The XF Sportbrake builds on the extensive refresh received by the XF saloon for the 2012 model year, which also saw it launch the fleet friendly 2.2-litre diesel version.
A full five-seater with an additional 48mm of rear headroom, remote-fold levers situated just inside the tailgate allow the rear seats to be folded down with just one touch to provide an uninterrupted load surface that is 1,970mm in length.
The central portion of the load-space floor can be lifted to reveal an extra, hidden storage compartment, which without the spare wheel helps create an overall load space of 1,675 litres.
That’s five litres less than the Audi A6 Avant at 1,680 and five litres more than in BMW 5 Series Touring, which boasts a load capacity of 1,670.
However, the XF Sportbrake can’t match the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate, with its massive 1,950-litre load bay.
I was treated to a look at the design model, but Jaguar is in the process of building the first actual cars for further testing before arriving in showrooms from November.
It hopes that the XF Sportbrake will help boost sales further after selling more than 10,000 units in 2011, but Jaguar refused to be drawn on specific sales targets, simply saying that it expects the XF Sportbrake to account for around 20% of XF sales.
It will be fitted with Jaguar’s range of four-cyclinder 2.2-litre and V6 3.0-litre diesel engines, with the 2.2 variant expecting to take the lion’s share of orders.
It’s offered in combination with an eight-speed gearbox and Jaguar’s intelligent stop-start system, which in the XF saloon offers emissions of 149g/km and a combined mpg of 52.3.
No pricing details have yet been released, but the entry level XF has a P11D price in the region of £30,000, so expect a premium of around £2,000 considering the premiums paid for 5 Series Touring and A6 Avant compared to their saloon siblings.
See this week's Fleet News for more on the Jaguar XF Sportbrake.