Choosing The Best Used Executive Saloon Car
Who said depreciation was a bad thing? With executive cars of this calibre, you can have it all, the luxury cabin, a large boot, the powerful engine and a great driving experience – it’s hard to find a better deal than with these executive saloons:
The Audi A6 is available as a saloon or estate (Avant), and offers the performance, class and interior quality you’d expect from the brand. Compared to the more compact A4, the A6 offers significantly more space, equipment and better comfort levels.
The Mk4 model of the A6, from 2011 onwards, offers the best choice for used buyers. This version of the A6 was launched with 2.0 and 3.0-litre TDI diesels, available in 175bhp and 242bhp, as well as a 3.0-litre TFSI petrol engine. Particularly popular with company car buyers, the 2.0-litre TDI has a great fuel economy of 67.3mpg and low emissions of just 109g/km of CO2.
Great rear legroom and comfort are offered in the A6. The SE trim level offers a good number of interior features, such as DAB radio, an impressive hi-fi system a 6.6-inch display and cruise control. The S line adds the super-comfortable sports seats and additional equipment such as LED headlights.
Petrol engines are actually relatively rare in the A6, as they’re focused on the high-performance models, the S6 and RS6 Avant – which both share a 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine with the Bentley Continental GT.
Overall, the Audi A6 offers great style, a refined ride and, with the 2.0-litre TDI, fantastic fuel economy.
With the launch of the Mk6 BMW 5 Series in 2010 and a facelift in 2013, BMW built on its already strong foundations and delivered an executive vehicle that’s hard to beat.
All models from 2010 onward have equipment such as a seven-inch screen, leather seats, all-round parking sensors and Bluetooth integration as standard, and with a range of optional extras such as an optional rear camera available, the range of interior luxury features leaves you with lots to choose from on the used market.
Like the Audi, there is unsurprisingly far more rear legroom in this 5 Series than in the compact 3 Series. The comfort levels are improved too, and when in the cabin the ride is refined, smooth and quiet. The dash is impressive and almost futuristic looking, with a range of metal dials and a large screen.
Despite the large size of the vehicle, with the 520d model, fuel economy is an impressive 62mpg, whilst the 520i petrol engine can return up to 41mpg.
To be expected, the 5 Series achieved five stars in its Euro NCAP testing, and has standard safety features such as traction control and front, side and curtain airbags.
The stylish and prestigious BMW 5 Series is one to seriously consider as a luxurious executive saloon.
A larger vehicle than the 5 Series and A6, the Mercedes S Class is also probably the most luxurious; it’s about the most high-class vehicle you can get outside of the super-luxury realm of Rolls Royce.
Representing a slightly older vehicle on this list, the S Class range was redesigned and updated in 2006, and although these still represent fantastic quality, another facelift in 2010 improved the car further and delivers more up-to-date luxury.
The interior of the S Class is unbeatable when it comes to luxury. From the fine leather, electrically controlled seats to the massive amount of space in the rear, the class and quality of the S Class is hard to match.
The refinement of the vehicle is particularly noticeable – thanks to double glazing and sound proofing, the cabin is very well insulated from the noise of the engine, and driving at speed is an incredibly quiet affair.
There’s a great range of optional extras to look out for too, such as Active Body Control which enhances the handling, and infra-red night vision which can help you spot hazards in the road.
The only thing that might put you off is the fairly high running costs when compared to more compact executive vehicles – 32mpg from the 320 CDI diesel is about the best you’re likely to get. We’d also recommend avoid cars that had past lives as limousines or luxury taxis, as they’re likely to have huge mileages.
The Jaguar XF arrived in 2008, replacing the traditional-looking S Type and bringing the brand into the 21st century, after what many saw as a reliance on 1960s-esque styling. Although it doesn’t sell close to the number of executive cars offered by the likes of BMW and Audi, the XF is an interesting alternative to the German saloons.
The interior is probably the most impressive aspect of the XF. Starting the vehicle is theatrical: pressing the flashing red start button rotates the air conditioning vents to face into the car and the gear lever rises into your hand. The seating is comfortable and the quality of materials and craftsmanship is undeniably striking. Optional additions include climate control, 17-inch alloys and cruise control.
Although the diesel engines aren’t as economical as those offered by German rivals in the same class, the four cylinder 2.2-litre diesel engine offered by 2011’s slight facelift performs well and delivers 188bhp.
A large 540 litre boot means there’s plenty of space for luggage on long trips, and with a car this spacious and comfortable, it’s likely the hours spent in this car will fly by.
Executive saloons are a class up from compact executives, offering more space, comfort and luxury. Thanks to fast depreciation rates on new cars, there’s a great range of used executive saloons available at very competitive prices, even on more recent models.