Best large executive cars

Last updated: Jan 21, 2014

Large executive saloons have to be as good at covering huge business miles during the week, as they are at ferrying the family around at the weekend.

To do this, they combine a number of qualities; they should be quiet and comfortable on the motorway, but also fun to drive. Their cabins should be well made and good to look at, but also spacious enough for a family of four and their luggage. Executive cars also need to offer a good range of engines that give a mixture of power and economy, to suit all tastes and budgets.

While some of the best executive cars come from firms such as BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Jaguar, there are a host of new models that can compete with the cars from the more established companies. So keep reading for our top ten large executive cars.

BMW 5 Series saloon

The BMW 5 Series has always been one of the leading executive cars and the latest version continues where the old car left off. Probably the best aspect of the 5 Series is its ability to offer an excellent combination of a comfortable drive and fun handling. If economy is your priority then the BMW 520d – which can return up to 62.8 mpg and CO2 emissions of just 119g/km – is the best choice. Impressively, it can still manage 0-60mph in 8.1 seconds. But, if outright speed is your priority then the BMW M5 combines everything we like about the normal 5 Series, with performance to match most supercars. Read more.

Key points

4.8 / 5
Price 
£30,265 - £57,910

Audi A6 saloon

The Audi A6 finds its self in second place on our top-ten list because it can’t quite match the fun handling of the BMW 5 Series. Nonetheless, there isn’t too much body lean and the car is comfortable for five passengers, although some might find the suspension on the S-Line models too firm for long journeys. The Audi lets you choose between outright performance and economy – the Audi A6 2.0-litre TDi can manage 57.6mpg, while the Audi RS6 can accelerate from 0-60mph in just 3.9 seconds. C02 emissions are low on the basic TDi at 129g/km. Read more.

Key points

4.6 / 5
Price 
£30,985 - £54,520

Jaguar XF saloon

For many, the Jaguar XF represented a turning point for Jaguar, with truly modern looks, a stylish cabin and a driving experience that can match the best in class. The cabin is quiet, while the suspension strikes a good balance between comfort and a fun driving experience. Sadly, the rear-seat space isn’t up to some of the competition – headroom is cramped for six-footers – and there isn’t much space for a fifth passenger, either, although the 500-litre boot is nice and deep. As with the German competition, you can choose between an economical diesel, which manages 52mpg and emissions of 149g/km, or the high-performance Jaguar XFR. Read more.

Key points

4.2 / 5
Price 
£29,945 - £79,995

Mercedes E-Class saloon

The Mercedes E-Class is perfect if you’re look for a comfortable ride. Although it is not as fun to drive as the BMW 5 Series, it can be specced with stiffer suspension that reduces body lean and makes it more fun to drive in the corners. The E300 BlueTEC Hybrid can manage 68.9mpg and emissions of 109g/km, plus performance of 150mph and 0-60mph in 7.5 seconds. The E-Class has plenty of space for five adults, although there is a little less room for the rear seat’s middle passenger. Meanwhile, at 540 litres, the boot is larger than you will find in the BMW 5 Series or the Audi A6. Read more.

Key points

4.0 / 5
Price 
£32,750 - £42,375

Maserati Ghibli saloon

While the Maserati Ghibli may cost more than many of the cars here, compare it to performance orientated models, such as the Mercedes E63 AMG and BMW M5, and it looks like much better value. That could be why Maserati expects to sell 50,000 of them. As you would expect, the Maserati has fun handling and also has the most eye-catching looks on this list. Even the diesel can mange 0-60mph in 6.3 seconds – plus economy of 57.7mpg and emissions of 158g/km, while the petrol can do 0-60mph in 5.0 seconds. The Maserati also has a large boot of 500 litres, but tall passengers may find space tight in the back. Read more.

Key points

2.9 / 5
Price 
£48,830 - £63,415

Mercedes CLS-Class saloon

When Mercedes launched the Mercedes CLS-Class they aimed to add to the traditional Mercedes values of build quality and comfort, with eye-catching looks and fun handling. The good-looking body means the CLS costs more than a normal Mercedes E-Class. Space in the back is better than you might expect, though, and the boot is reasonably proportioned, too. The cabin is also quiet, although the basic car’s suspension is quite firm. The best compromise between performance and economy comes from the Mercedes CLS 250 CDI, which can manage economy of 55mpg and CO2 emissions of 135g/km. Read more.

Key points

3.6 / 5
Price 
£47,610 - £81,950

Audi A7 hatchback

The Audi A7 hatchback is a similar car to the Mercedes CLS, offering practicality but in a more eye-catching body than the saloon, Audi A6, with which it shares many of its parts. It uses the same engines found in the A6 range, which means you can choose between performance and economy. The 3.0-litre TDI can manage 55mpg, CO2 emissions of 135g/km and a 0-60mph of 7.5 seconds. The A7’s interior is a stylish place to sit, plus the hatchback and folding rear-seats (which are optional on some of the competition) make it practical, too. The interior is also quiet, although opting for larger alloy wheels can mean a bit more road noise. Read more.

Key points

3.5 / 5
Price 
£41,170 - £62,330

Lexus GS saloon

The Lexus GS has an extremely comfortable interior with soft suspension that means it is very relaxing on long journeys and the cabin is also extremely quiet. While there is no diesel option, the hybrid Lexus GS300h can manage economy of 60.1mpg and CO2 emissions of just 109g/km. Perhaps more impressive is the Lexus GS450h, which can do 46.3mpg and 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds. There’s plenty of room for passengers and the boot is large at 480 litres. The Lexus also comes loaded with equipment, is very well built, and its dealers offer some of the best customer service in the industry. Read more.

Key points

2.7 / 5
Price 
£31,495 - £51,495

BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo hatchback

The BMW 5-Series Grand Turismo is effectively a more practical BMW 5 Series. Its cabin has been built to be comfortable and spacious, and it does both very well. Space everywhere is excellent and you can opt to swap the rear bench in favour of two seats with individual adjustment settings. The two rear seats can slide backwards and forwards meaning the boot offers up to 650 litres of load-lugging capacity, and the cabin is also very quiet. The Grand Turismo loses points, however, because it’s neither as good looking nor as much fun to drive as the standard BMW 5 Series. Read more.

Key points

3.2 / 5
Price 
£38,045 - £60,460

Infiniti M saloon

Infiniti is an up-market sub-brand of Nissan, so it mixes rarity with mechanicals that have already been proven in the rest of the Nissan range. The Infiniti M saloon has standard double-glazing, which means the cabin is extremely quiet, although the 20-inch alloy wheels you’ll find on top-spec S models do make the suspension less comfortable. The M can be had with two engines – a diesel and a petrol – but it is the former that makes for the better choice. It is quick, with a 0-60mph time of 6.9 and reasonably economical, with 46mpg possible and CO2 emissions of 199g/km. All Ms offer plenty of space for four people and decent boot space. Read more.

Key points

2.2 / 5
Price 
£40,565 - £47,205

Sponsored Links