Jaguar serves up the XF Sportbrake with help from Andy Murray

The 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake offers 565 litres of space. — Jaguar pic
The 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake offers 565 litres of space. — Jaguar pic

LONDON, June 14 — The world number one took time out of his Wimbledon preparations on Wednesday to help launch the Jaguar XF Sportbrake on a perfect replica of the All-England Tennis Club's center court. Still, it wouldn't be a Jaguar car launch if it didn't overtly court publicity and in the case of this latest model, the company wants as many people as possible to know that this car, like Murray, can go toe-to-toe with the best that the automotive world can offer.

Taking the BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class Wagon as its benchmarks, the Sportbrake is aiming to serve up a driving experience that aces the former with levels of comfort and practicality that match the latter.

So, in terms of performance, even with the 3-liter V6 diesel engine under the hood, it can hit 100km/h in 6.6 seconds and, thanks to intelligent all-wheel drive and an almost perfect 50:50 weight distribution, will be just as potent in the bends or over uneven surfaces.

What's more, the addition of rear air suspension means that it can carry heavy loads but without impacting on poise or back seat comfort.

The trunk offers 565-litres of space and, with the rear seats down it jumps to 1700 litres. What's more the tailgate can be remotely operated making loading and unloading simple even with your hands full, as long as you're wearing the ‘activity key' wristband.

The idea of this little wearable is that you can strap it on and forget about things like car keys. It's waterproof and so you can head off on an adventure and know you can still get back in the car when the fun's over.

That's also why the car's called a Sportbrake rather than a wagon -- to emphasize its perfect fit for those with an active lifestyle. So, 3-liter gasoline and diesel versions can tow 2,000kg -- more than enough for a horse box, boat or caravan.

"With the addition of the Sportbrake, we're adding space and usability to the existing fun-to-drive package," said Nick Collins, Vehicle Line Director, Jaguar XF. "We have developed a car to appeal to customers who want an efficient premium estate with low ownership costs."

How premium? The car has an active air filtration system for ensuring fresh air circulates in the cabin. There's four-zone climate control plus heated seats, and the glass panoramic roof, complete with gesture-operated sunblind is the biggest currently fitted to any car in this segment. As for driver assistance systems, the car comes with emergency autonomous braking, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, a driver condition monitor, traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control with queue assist for when the conditions become congested.

Following its reveal, the Sportbrake will be hitting the road on a tour of UK schools and tennis clubs carrying a special cargo, the Wimbledon men's singles trophy. "I'm pleased that people are going to be able to get up close to the trophy when it visits schools and tennis clubs, and hopefully it might encourage people to pick up a racket this summer," said Andy Murray. — AFP-Relaxnews

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