Up until now if you wanted a 500bhp+ performance estate your choices were limited: there’s the £76,985 552bhp Audi RS 6 Avant or £75,885 549bhp Mercedes E63 AMG – but now there’s also the £82,495 542bhp Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake available to order from April 2014.

Making its debut at next week’s Geneva motor show, Jaguar’s supercharged dog-carrier appears to be slower, more expensive and less fuel efficient than the established German brands – with CO2 emissions of 297 g/Km and an average consumption of 22.2 mpg.

Compare that with Audi’s RS 6 (229 g/Km of CO2 and 28.8 mpg) or Merc’s E63 AMG (234 g/Km of CO2 and 28.3) and you’ll soon wonder what Jaguar Land Rover has been doing with all those R&D hours.

With 542bhp and 680 Nm (502 lb-ft) of torque you’d expect the new XFR-S Sportbrake to be fast, and in this regard it shouldn’t disappoint; 0 to 62mph in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph should be enough to satisfy even the most obsessive speed freak, but again.. the German’s are ahead of the game, at least on paper – 4.3 seconds for the E63 AMG and a stonking 3.9 seconds for the RS 6.

The Brit features an eight-speed transmission with ‘Quickshift’ functionality (introduced in the F-TYPE), while the XFR-S Saloon’s chassis has been re-tuned to meet the needs of the Sportbrake’s load-carrying role.

  • Jaguar-XFR-S-Sportbrake_G1
  • Jaguar-XFR-S-Sportbrake_G3

The XFR-S’s active electronic differential and Dynamic Stability Control have been retuned, making allowances for the Sportbrake’s extra weight while lateral suspension stiffness has been increased by 30 per cent front and rear compared to the standard car.

Fitted with bespoke 20-inch forged alloy wheels as standard, customers can choose from either a dual finish (gloss black on inner surfaces with ceramic polish on the outside) or either full gloss black or technical grey finishes.

The Sportbrake’s load-carrying capability has been retained in its transformation from mild-mannered family wagon to Jaguar’s first high-performance sports estate – 1675 litres of rear load space is available when the rear seats are folded flat – while special under-body cooling ensures the 380mm/376mm ventilated discs can haul the Sportbrake down from speed with the minimum of fuss.

Pirelli developed the XFR-S Sportbrake’s tyres – 265/35 x 20 at the front and 295/30 x 20 at the rear – which add to its purposeful broad-shouldered stance.