Executive cars offer drivers prestige, practicality and relaxing driving experience. To simplify the wealth of choice in the segment, we’ve picked our 10 favourite models. From reasonably affordable, mainstream models to pricey, luxury models, there’s something for everyone.
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1. Mercedes E-Class
The latest Mercedes E-Class brings a level of luxury not previously offered in this class. With an exterior and interior that apes the much more expensive S-Class, the new car feels a cut above most competitors and can even rival cars in the class above for space and interior quality.
Prices are a little more expensive than some of the cars on this list, but the E-Class does come as standard with a nine-speed automatic gearbox and many other luxury features that will make everyday life that little bit easier. It also has Mercedes‘ latest diesel engines, meaning fuel economy of up to 72.4mpg. If you’re in the market for an executive car, you owe it to yourself to check out the E-Class.
Try out the Mercedes E-Class deals page to see how much money you could save.
2. Volvo V90
The Volvo V90 is another new entry into the executive car sector, and one with real potential to make a splash with buyers after something different from the norm. Volvo has applied the lessons it learnt with the excellent XC90, so the V90 has a high-tech and well equipped cabin with a big touchscreen infotainment system and a handsome, minimalist design.
Some buyers may prefer the S90 saloon model, but the V90 estate offers more boot space and, to our eyes, it looks better, too. Being a Volvo, the seats are supremely comfortable and the range of four-cylinder engines and plug-in hybrid model help keep fuel and tax bills impressively low.
Save money on your new Volvo V90 by using our car configurator.
3. BMW 5 Series
The BMW 5 Series has long been the drivers’ choice of executive car, and the current model is no exception. A range of economical and powerful engines combined with sharp steering and a surprisingly comfortable ride mean it’ll put a smile on any drivers face. Disappointingly, you need to choose the pricey optional adaptive dampeners to achieve the best ride and handling balance.
The BMW may have been around for a few years now, but its iDrive infotainment system is arguably the best around and, although the design is a little dated, it’s still of high quality and basics including heated seats and sat-nav are standard. There’s plenty of space to stretch out as well, but you might find that some rivals have a bigger boot.
4. Skoda Superb
The Skoda Superb is the perfect example of how far Skoda has come in the past 20 or so years. An upmarket exterior, classy and solid interior and a range of decent engines mean Skoda’s flagship model can genuinely rub shoulders with much pricier executive car rivals, regardless of its previously budget badge.
Basic models cost less than £20,000 and, even at that level, you get masses of space and a good range of equipment. Step up to luxurious Laurin and Klement trim, however, and you’ll find luxuries such as adaptive cruise control and xenon headlights – not bad when that model still costs less than £30,000. Add four-wheel drive and one of the more powerful diesel engines and you’ll swear you were in an Audi…
Check out our Skoda Superb deals page to find the latest savings.
5. Audi A6
Audi’s A6 is one of the more reserved executive cars around, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Audi’s familiar design language means that you won’t mistake this for another brand, although you might mistake it for another Audi… Popular S-Line trim features standard LED headlights and large alloy wheels, adding extra kerb appeal.
Inside, you’ll find a beautifully trimmed cabin with high-quality materials and Audi’s excellent MMI infotainment system. Four will find themselves very comfortable in the A6, and it makes for an excellent motorway companion even if it’s not as sharp to drive as BMW’s 5 Series. The A6 is also cheap to run with up to 67mpg achievable by the most efficient ‘ultra’ engines.
See how much you can save on a new Audi A6 by trying out our deals page.
6. Jaguar XF
The current Jaguar XF might not have the immediate visual impact of the original, but it’s been refined into one of the best handling executive cars out there. The use of aluminium in the car’s construction means it’s one of the lightest cars in the class, and its diesel engines offer fuel economy of more than 70mpg.
Inside, Jaguar has made a lot of progress in terms of the infotainment system – it’s still not the best in class, but the new touchscreen interface is miles ahead of what many Jaguar buyers are used to. There’s also more space than before, although the sleek styling means that rear passengers might have to watch their head. Add in cost-effective fixed price servicing, and you have a British executive car to be proud of.
Head over to the Jaguar XF deals page to see the latest discounts available.
7. VW Passat
The latest Volkswagen Passat has the understated talent to take on much more expensive rivals, offering design and quality inside and out that belies its reasonably affordable price tag. For little more than the price of an entry-level Audi A6, you can get a top-spec R-Line model with the ferocious BiTDI engine – it gets 240hp and all-wheel drive, and gives hot hatch drivers something to worry about.
Luxury features abound in the Passat, and you can even option the cool virtual cockpit dashboard from the latest Audi models. The Volkswagen is also available in a practical estate guise or, if you’re keen on being green, the Passat GTE offers hybrid power and an all-electric range of 30 miles.
Take a look at the Volkswagen Passat deals page to spec up your perfect car and see how much you could save.
8. Lexus GS
If you’re keen on the idea of an executive car that’s refined and relaxing to drive, you should check out the Lexus GS. It might not be the first model that springs to mind, but the smooth petrol/hybrid power and slick gearbox makes short work of any motorway, and the ride is smooth even on large alloy wheels.
Quality inside is outstanding, and the brand has an excellent reputation for reliability. The cabin layout is a little muddled and not everyone will find the RemoteTouch interface easy to use, however. Also, if you’re after a diesel model, you’re out of luck – Lexus only offers the choice of a turbocharged petrol or hybrid engines, neither of which are likely to be particularly cost-effective if you cover very high mileages.
Save money on your new executive car using our Lexus GS configurator – you’ll receive personalised offers from our network of trusted dealers.
9. Maserati Ghibli
The Maserati Ghibli is one of the more exotic executive cars you can buy – its desirable badge and eye-catching styling certainly stand out from the norm, and there are some howling petrol engines buyers can choose if they want something truly exciting. Interior quality is decent if somewhat lagging behind the hewn-from-granite Mercedes E-Class. Nevertheless, it features a large touchscreen and simple controls.
The diesel engine that is likely to be the biggest seller in the UK market and, in that respect, the Ghibli comes off second best. It’s a 3.0-litre V6 engine, but isn’t as fuel efficient or powerful as similar engines found in many rivals – 47mpg is some way off the class average. It’s also a little unrefined, and the high price tag means some buyers may end up looking at more traditional rivals, which is a shame.
With our Maserati Ghibli deals page you can spec up your perfect car and check out the latest discounts.
10. Hyundai Genesis
You’d be forgiven if you haven’t heard of the Hyundai Genesis – an executive car that’s part of the Korean brand’s plans to expand upmarket. The Genesis is a large executive saloon, similar in size to the Mercedes E-Class and Audi A6, but offers a fully comprehensive range of equipment and a powerful petrol V6 engine.
Unfortunately, this means the Genesis is a rather rare sight on UK roads – the petrol engine is smooth and quick, but pales in terms of fuel economy to diesel-engined rivals. The cabin is well trimmed and equipped, but the design is muddled and cheap trim shows in some areas. Still, if you’re after a reliable and left-field executive car, the Hyundai makes a great choice.
See the reductions available by finding your ideal Hyundai Genesis on our deals page.
Save money on your next executive car
Keen on any of our top 10? Our new car deals page will find you the best deals on all the models featured here. For more choices, check out our list of the best large family cars or, if you need a something a little more rugged and spacious, check out our list of the best seven-seat SUVs. If you can’t figure out what your next car will be, our car chooser is here to help and our PCP calculator can help you get a better idea how much it could cost.