Jaguar returns to U.S. wagon market
LONDON -- Jaguar is rejoining the premium wagon market with the XF Sportbrake that it says will offer practicality without sacrificing the dynamic design and agile handling of the XF sport sedan.
Jaguar released pictures and details of the midsize wagon on Wednesday, touting its sports-car dynamics and sleek looks will build on the success of the XF sedan.
It will be the first XF wagon sold in the U.S. and is expected to deliver incremental volume for the brand. Jaguar said the XF Sportbrake will be priced from $71,445, including destination charge, when it hits U.S. dealerships next winter.
While most brands abandoned wagons years ago, some, like Buick, are returning to try to pump new life into a weak car market and tap a small but passionate group of U.S. consumers.
The XF Sportbrake will compete against cars such as the BMW 5-series Touring, Audi A6 Avant and Mercedes-Benz E-class wagon.
The XF Sportbrake’s technology includes an optional panoramic roof that can be operated by hand gestures. The car is also available with a waterproof wristband that allows owners to open the door without the key, a useful feature at the beach for example.
It will be powered by Jaguar's V-6 supercharged engine, rated at 380 hp, and paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Top speed is electronically limited to 121 mph, while a sprint from zero to 60 mph takes 5.3 seconds, Jaguar says.
In Europe, available engines include two diesel four-cylinder and two gasoline four-cylinder variants, all part of Jaguar Land Rover’s new Ingenium range of engines. A faster model is equipped with a V-6 diesel making 296 hp.
Jaguar says the low drag on the model helps to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions. The most fuel efficient model is the 161-hp diesel with CO2 emissions of 118 grams per kilometer, Jaguar said.
The car is built on Jaguar’s rear-wheel-drive, aluminum architecture shared with the smaller XE sport sedan, F-Pace SUV and new Range Rover Velar SUV.
The XF Sportbrake’s trunk has a 565-liter capacity with the rear seats up, almost exactly the same figure as the 5-series Touring and the A6 Avant. The class leader is the Mercedes-Benz E-class wagon with 640 liters of cargo space. The floor of the Sportbrake remains flat when the rears are folded, when the load capacity increases to 1,700 liters.
The XF Sportbrake will be available with one of two advanced infotainment systems, part of Jaguar InControl technologies, with eight-inch or ten-inch screen.
In a news release Jaguar’s head of design, Ian Callum said with its sweeping silhouette the XF Sportbrake looks just as sporty as the XF sedan.
Jaguar says the car has more rear legroom than the previous XF Sportbrake despite being shorter in length at 195 inches. The wheelbase measures 116.5 inches.
The roof has a maximum roof payload of 220.5 pounds, and the rear tailgate can be opened with a wave of the foot underneath the rear of the car, opening to 31.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats up. Cargo space grows to 69.7 cubic feet when the 40:20:40 split rear seats are folded down. LED puddle lamps illuminate the area behind the trunk when the tailgate is open.
The Sportbrake will also be available with Jaguar's Activity Key wristband. The shockproof and waterproof wristband features a transponder that allows owners to lock the key fob in the vehicle and disables them. The band has no battery, but instead uses RF frequencies to lock and unlock the vehicle when it is held close to the Jaguar lettering on the tailgate -- basically it's for those who want to go out for a run or a swim without having to worry about losing or damaging the key fobs.
The wagon will go on sale in Europe in the summer.
The Sportbrake’s starting price of 34,910 pounds ($43,500) in its UK home market undercuts its main rivals by at least 1,000 pounds. The A6 Avant starts at 35,980 pounds, the E-class wagon at 37,160 pounds and the 5-series Touring is almost 3,500 pounds more expensive at 38,385 pounds.
Wagons remain popular in Europe and the new model will boost sluggish XF sales in the region. In the first four months, sales of the XF sedan fell 4.1 percent to 5,433, according to figures from JATO Dynamics market researchers. Jaguar said the wagon version of the previous XF accounted for 38 percent of that car’s sales.
In the U.S., XF sales fell 46 percent in the five months to 1,984, according to the Automotive News Data Center. But Jaguar's overall U.S. deliveries have advanced 115 percent this year behind the all-new XE sedan and F-Pace crossover.
Autoweek, a sister publication of Automotive News, contributed to this report.
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