Kerb appeal, comfort and sophisticated driving dynamics are all important in an executive car. What’s more, they need the latest technology and safety aids to keep ahead of the competition in this fiercely fought category.
Here are the best executive cars on sale now:
- BMW 5 Series
- Mercedes E-Class
- Skoda Superb
- Volvo V90
- Audi A6
- Jaguar XF
- VW Passat
- Ford Mondeo Vignale
- Lexus GS
- Maserati Ghibli
1. BMW 5 Series
The BMW 5 Series offers everything you would want from an executive car – comfort, effortless grippy handling and excellent build quality. Once you’re done enjoying the accurate steering on your favourite B road, the cosseting suspension and hushed cabin make it easy to while away the hours. The 5 Series interior feels sturdy and looks attractive with plenty of space and creature comforts – including the brilliant iDrive infotainment system that still feels a notch ahead of all its main rivals.
2. Mercedes E-Class
The Mercedes E-Class is one of the best all-rounders in the executive class. It has premium looks and composed, undemanding handling but the plush interior is where the E-Class really shines – whether you’re driving or reclining in the back. The spacious and luxurious cabin remains quiet at fast motorway speeds and is improved by the optional 12.3-inch Cockpit Display digital dials that meet the central infotainment screen give the impression of one wide virtual dashboard.
3. Skoda Superb
With base-spec cars costing less than £20,000, the Skoda Superb represents incredible value for money. Despite its low price, the sense of quality, the luxury car-rivalling space and its composed on-road performance beat many cars costing three times as much. Rear passengers are afforded vast amounts of head and legroom, and all models get an infotainment system, DAB digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity. It’s also offered in cavernous Superb Estate form.
4. Volvo V90
The Volvo V90’s stylish exterior and snazzy cabin make it a force to be reckoned with in the executive class. All models come packed with equipment such as cornering headlights and an electrically heated windscreen while the leather, heated seats are some of the comfiest on the market. There’s a good range of efficient engines including a speedy plug-in hybrid version and all come fitted with an automatic gearbox. Its S90 saloon sibling is also a good all-rounder for those who prefer that bodystyle.
5. Audi A6
The Audi A6 is a smart, premium saloon offered with an efficient range of engines and a grippy all-wheel-drive system. It can’t quite match the plushness of the E-Class or driving dynamics of the 5 Series but still feels like a desirable, quality product. The A6’s well built cabin is gets an MMI infotainment system across all trims but luxuries such as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit are reserved for the next-generation A6. Efficient engines make it excellent for long-distance driving.
6. Jaguar XF
The Jaguar XF has plenty of style courtesy of its swooping bodywork and bluff, square-jawed front end. The XF’s cabin is spacious and now comes with the firm’s improved 10.2-inch infotainment system, but narrowly misses out on the more exacting perceived quality evident in its German rivals. The XF does redeem itself somewhat with composed handling that does a good job of soaking up bumps. The most frugal engines claim more than 70mpg but aren’t quite as smooth as the best in class.
7. VW Passat
Like the Superb, the VW Passat is another stylish executive car with a temptingly affordable price tag. The Passat’s well-built cabin has plenty of space, with even more on offer in the Passat Estate version. The comfy ride and sure-footed handling help cement the car’s business class credentials and, for around £1,000 more than the entry-level E-Class, you can get the tech-filled, top-spec R-Line Passat model with a 240hp BiTDI engine.
8. Ford Mondeo Vignale
If you want top-of-the-range kit at a more affordable price than the German choices, the Ford Mondeo Vignale is a great option. It has smart looks and plenty of space but only costs about as much as entry-level cars from German brands. While it also boasts enjoyable handling, a refined cabin and plenty of standard equipment, driven back to back against the E-Class or 5 Series, it narrowly misses out on their overriding sense of perceived quality.
9. Lexus GS
The Lexus GS offers impressive refinement, comfort and luxury while giving you something a little different thanks to its emphasis on hybrid technology. If you regularly drive in the city, hybrid models’ electric motor and stop-start technology could help trim your running costs. The build quality rivals that of equivalent German models although the dated infotainment system and occasional hard plastic trim let the side down a little. Inside, it’s well equipped and has lots of space, while the striking looks stand out from the crowd.
10. Maserati Ghibli
The Maserati Ghibli merges Italian flair with the comfort and space of an executive car. This exotic saloon can’t match its German rivals for perceived quality but it still catches your eye with sharp styling inside and out. The Ghibli’s V6 diesel can return a modest 47.6mpg but, if you’re buying with your head, this probably isn’t the option for you. Buyers choosing with their heart, however, might be tempted by the sonorous turbo petrol V6 developed by Ferrari.
Save money on your next car
See carwow’s latest discounts on our car deals page or use our car chooser for help narrowing down your options. If your budget is a little smaller, check out our list of the best large family cars or, if you’re after something a little more special, read our list of the best luxury cars.