Jaguar XFR Sportbrake: Does Jaguar need a sporty station wagon?

Jaguar XF Sportbrake front three quarterIt’s impossible to know what goes through a product planner’s mind at any given moment. No one expected Porsche to build a diesel SUV, yet such a vehicle is currently on sale. Almost as left-field an idea is a performance station wagon from Jaguar, but the bigwigs at Gaydon have given it a little thought.

An XFR Sportbrake based on the new XF Sportbrake wagon seems like a great way to combine performance and utility, and since Jaguar already builds the XFR sedan, it doesn’t seem like an impossible engineering challenge either.

Actually, scratch that last bit. Jaguar global brand director Adrian Hallmark told Autocar that the biggest obstacle for the XFR Sportbrake would be installing the XFR sedan’s powertrain in the wagon body.

“It would be tricky to re-engineer [sic] the self-leveling rear suspension to cope with the high performance of such an engine,” Hallmark said.

So the fact that the XFR Sportbrake, a performance version of only the second wagon Jag has ever made (the first was the X-Type Estate) would appeal to an extremely limited market doesn’t phase Hallmark, it’s just a matter of engineering.

The XFR packs a 5.0-liter supercharged V8, with 510 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. That’s a big step up from the 271 hp offered in the XF Sportbrake’s most powerful engine, a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged diesel V6.

Still, the XFR Sportbrake isn’t completely off the table. Hallmark said it would be an “interesting project” that could be built in a limited run of 300 to 400 units. With such low production numbers, the Sportbrake would probably command a significant premium over the XFR sedan, which starts at $84,095 in the United States.

The XFR Sportbrake wouldn’t have any shortage of competition. The Cadillac CTS-V wagon, Audi RS6 Avant, and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG wagon all combine brutal sports sedan powertrains with utilitarian bodywork. BMW used to make an M5 wagon, so a wagon version of the current F10 M5 could turn up as well.

However, this is all a moot point for American Jag enthusiasts. The XF Sportbrake is not coming to the United States, so a limited-edition would be an impossibility.

At one time, a Jaguar wagon seemed as ridiculous as a Porsche SUV, and no one could have predicted that the sporty, modern XF sedan would succeed the retro S-Type. A production XFR Sportbrake would be a very unusual beast indeed.

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