Which are the best executive saloons? We choose our favourite six
At this level you’re looking to have your cake and eat it, if not have someone to eat it for you. You want a luxury cabin that is quiet and well appointed. You want performance yet you also expect sensible running costs. You want all the latest tech but you demand the price is sensible. Well, that doesn’t sound a hard remit to meet does it? Here are half a dozen that do just that.
1. Audi A4 3.0 TDI Sport S tronic
The Audi A4 wins this not because it is the best here, but because it is simply the best car on sale. It’s the What Car? Car of the Year, and if we had to choose one we’d go for the 3.0-litre diesel since you get terrific performance without having high running costs. The cabin is of course a top-drawer delight and, really, so is the whole car.
2. BMW 5 Series 520d SE
With a new version on the way, this 5 Series remains one of the best exec cars you can buy. It’s got class, comfort and refinement, and it’s also a great driver’s car. Whether you’re buying privately or as a company purchase, we’d stick with the diesels rather than the petrol engines.
3. Skoda Superb 1.4 TSI 150 SE
It seems strange that there’s still even a whisper of doubt, but we’ll say it again – the Skoda Superb is every bit as good as any of the other premium brands here. If you’re a company car driver then we’d choose the 2.0-litre diesel engine but if you’re a private buyer we’d go for this 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine. It’s a very smooth engine and pulls from low down much like the diesel. And if you’re after space in a sensible-sized saloon then the Superb is the car of choice.
4. Mercedes-Benz E-Class E220 d SE
This is a luxurious saloon, and comes with all you’ll need even in SE trim. We’d go with that rather than the AMG Line option as that’s a bit of a firm ride. If your budget extends to adding the air suspension then you’ll have a fabulously comfortable and controlled ride as well as excellent handling.
5. BMW 3 Series 320d Efficient Dynamics Plus
It’s a long name but it’s worth savouring it. For company car drivers this is the quintessential executive saloon. It handles sharply, has a great badge and has the best infotainment system in the business, housed in a crisp cabin. This version can sound a bit of a diesel when you push it, but the payoff is excellent figures for fuel and emissions.
6. Jaguar XF 2.0 R-Sport Auto
If you want your exec saloon to be fun to drive and to have the sort of handling that you can marvel at, then this Jaguar has to be on your list. The 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine isn’t the quietest in the business, but as a package this is one to excite as well as enjoy.