The Jaguar XF Sportbrake is only offered in the US.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class wagon is only offered in Canada.
Both are rarely seen on the road.
It seems clear by the members of this comparison that manufacturers are trying different approaches on each side of the border. Mercedes-Benz thinks the C-Class wagon has potential in Canada but not the US. Meanwhile, Jaguar judges that the opposite is true. Either way, we find both cars extremely alluring.
We’ve driven the W205 generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class wagon on a few occasions and to be quite honest, it’s a superb luxury sedan that happens to have a larger trunk, and in our opinion, look even better.
We’ve not had the pleasure of spending time at the wheel of the Jaguar XF Sportbrake however, over the last few years, we have test-driven the XF sedan. Even so, we will not project any Sportbrake driving impressions, to be safe. The base P300 AWD Sportbrake weighs in at only about 115 lbs more than the equivalent P300 AWD sedan, meaning that they probably behave in a similar fashion.
Wagons are far from making a comeback but it is good to know that there a few still available. Unfortunately, however, once the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen is gone, there will only be one affordable alternative for sale. In fact, with the exception of the Subaru Outback, only high-end European luxury brands like Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo (and Jaguar in the US) will still have models for sale.
Having said that, let’s compare specs on both these beautiful luxury station wagons.
What Is The Pricing?
In Canadian dollars, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4MATIC wagon starts at $47,700. The gem in this small lineup is the 2020 Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC wagon which is priced from $60,900. With a few select options such as the AMG Driver’s and Premium packages, pricing shoots up to $75,000 with ease.
In the US, the 2020 Jaguar XF Prestige Sportbrake P300 AWD retails for $65,150 to start. The more potent XF S Sportbrake P380 AWD’s pricing begins at $71,800. Here, a handful of options such as wheels and the Comfort and Convenience package sees the price rise to nearly $77,000.
The Jaguar’s list of standard features is more complete than that of the Mercedes-Benz. One option package on the C 300 closes the equipment gap almost completely. The Mercedes remains considerably less expensive.
It is possible to draw a price comparison between the two, however, it’s no more than an indicator. Knowing that the C 300 4MATIC sedan retails for $46,400 in Canada and $43,400 in the US, the price difference between the two wagons, in US dollars, would still be of about $20,000. With the option package on the C 300, the gap is still over $15,000. Considerable discounts on the Jaguar, some over $20,000, are not uncommon. In this case, the XF Sportbrake could be quite the bargain so make sure you shop for deals if you want one.
Powertrains And Chassis
The similarities between the two station wagons come to light in this portion of the comparison. Both call upon forced-induction 4- and 6-cylinder engines for their different iterations.
The Mercedes-Benz C 300 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder that produces 255 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque between 1,800 and 4,000 rpm. With the 9-speed automatic transmission and AWD, the C 300 will reach 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6 seconds.
The AMG C 43 is served by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 that delivers 385 horsepower and 384 lb.-ft. of torque between 2,500 and 5,000 rpm. Also with a 9-speed automatic transmission and AWD, the C 43 hits 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.8 seconds.
The Jaguar XF Sportbrake P300 sports a turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine which is good for 296 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm. It features an 8-speed automatic transmission and AWD and makes the 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) run in 5.7 seconds.
The XF S Sportbrake P380 holds a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 that produces 380 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft of torque from 3,500 to 5,500 rpm. Here too, the XF is equipped with the 8-speed automatic transmission and AWD. The 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) sprint goes by in 5 seconds.
The Mercedes-Benz wagon rides on a multi-link 4-wheel independent suspension. The AMG C 43’s is sport-tuned. The Jaguar XF Sportbrake features a double-wishbone front and rear integral link suspension. Included with the Sportbrake is a rear self-leveling air suspension. As well, the Jaguar can optionally be fitted with adaptive damping.
Size And Styling, Both Inside And Out
We touched on the fact that these cars are not direct segment competitors although if both were offered in a country or the other, we suspect there would be a fair amount of cross-shopping.
The Mercedes-Benz is compact and measures 4.71 meters in length, or 185.4 inches. Width-wise, it’s 2.02 meters across, or 79.5 inches. Cargo capacity is rated at 460 litres, or 16.2 cubic feet. The C 300 4MATIC weighs 1,670 kg, or 3,682 lbs.
The Jaguar Sportbrake is midsized and measures a full 195.1 inches, or 4.96 meters long. It is 82.2 inches wide, or 2.09 meters. Trunk volume is rated 17.3 cubic feet, or the equivalent of 489.9 litres. The P300 AWD tips the scale at 3,885 lbs, or 1,762 kg.
To be honest, it is almost impossible to criticize both wagons’ exterior design. Both are extremely elegant with fluid and inviting profiles. They are both equally attractive.
Onboard, the situation is more or less the same. Mercedes-Benz put more punch into its dashboard designs. The vents, notably, and the numerous textures and intertwined surfaces give off an impression of busy luxury. By contrast, the Jaguar XF’s front quarters are far more austere and devoid of adornment. The somber approach is just as luxurious and for some, the quieter presentation could be more soothing.
One point we’d like to bring up is that we are fans of the Mercedes’ column-mounted shifter. It frees up space on the console for more storage. The Jaguar’s rotary knob, like most “shifters” of the type, can be annoying to use on occasion.
Our Thoughts On The 2020 Jaguar XF Sportbrake And 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon
With station wagons representing such a tiny portion of overall sales for all manufacturers that sell one or two, they have no impact on the brand’s bottom line. Once more, we could make an exception here for Subaru and their Outback.
If these manufacturers insist on selling these vehicles, it’s solely for recognition. Most wagons, including the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Jaguar XF Sportbrake, are considered niche vehicles for those in the know, and typically for enthusiasts.
The Audi RS 6 Avant is one such example where the few who will buy one are doing it because it is “cool”. These same customers could select the RS 7 (many will) or RS Q8 (many more will) but the RS 6 is special.
The same goes for the Benz and the Jag. Buyers could opt for the respective sedans but if they select the wagon iterations, it’s generally because they are different, not to mention far more versatile and useful. There are in fact no compromises to be made with wagons.
Now, which one of the two wagons would we chose? As much as the 2020 Jaguar XF Sportbrake appeals to our European luxury wagon senses, we’d have to pick the Mercedes-Benz C-Class wagon. More specifically, the AMG C 43. It can do it all.