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The Leading Executive Cars

The Leading Executive Cars

By Mark Johnson

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

The Mercedes S-Class is a car designed with a true passion for luxury at its heart. Most would consider it able to compete with vehicles with significantly higher price tags in almost every area. The S-Class is pure sophistication with an unrivalled sense of refinement and its interior has a real feel of extreme quality. The cabin is beautifully styled and manages to find the right balance between a modern feel and classic luxury.
In terms of the engines available, none will disappoint. It is however the diesels which are the most impressive with a fantastic balance of economy and power. For those needing lots of space the S-Class again excels. The leg room in the back is as good as any rival in its class and the car has some wonderfully cosseting seats.

Long wheelbase version also available.

Audi A8

The A8 has been criticised in the past for being the ‘plain jane’ of the luxury saloons but recent tweaks have really improved the exterior styling. Ultimately this car is judged on a huge range of other attributes and there are few better luxury cars on the market than the A8.
The Audi range incorporates some of the finest, user friendly technology and you can really feel they have thought about the driver in this car. The cabin oozes class and the build quality feels a level above some of the Audi’s competition.
All models come with Audi Drive Select which facilitates the driver in changing the steering, suspension and automatic gearbox settings. Certain models also get stop/start technology which reduces fuel consumption, which is good for the company car users.
The A8 is a genuine match for alternatives like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and is the better drivers’ car.

Long wheelbase version also available.

BMW 7-Series

This BMW 7-Series may look less controversial than the model that was launched in 2002, but that doesn't mean that it's any less revolutionary. There are no carry-over components from the previous car and this 7-Series has a softer and more elegant look to it. There are new engines that bring emissions to a new low and - for the first time - it's possible to buy a model that emits less than 200g/km of CO2 - the same as some much smaller family cars. Inside, every car comes with satellite navigation and is elegantly finished with top quality materials. The high-tech gadgets available on the options list have a Tomorrow's World flavour to them, with night vision, head-up display and a side-view camera offered.

Jaguar XJ

The XJ is the pinnacle of Jaguar’s ethos of building cars that offer high performance and comfort in equal measures. It’s a world away from its predecessor, both in terms of appearance and driving, yet this is still very much a Jaguar with plenty of delightful styling details and a coupe-like look. An all-aluminium body ensures a low kerb weight – good for handling – which combined with a superb range of engines, means the XJ delivers stunning performance and useful economy. The cosseting cabin is a wonderful piece of design too with unique touches that make other luxury alternatives look drab and ordinary. It is also fitted with state-of-the-art technology including a high definition virtual instrument panel. Like most cars of this size, it’s expensive new, but the Jaguar is easily a match for alternatives like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and, whether you’re in the back or behind the wheel, few cars feel as special as the XJ does.

Porsche Panamera

Porsche broke with its sports car tradition when it launched the Cayenne 4x4 in 2003 and the Panamera marks another big step - it's the first ever four-seater saloon to be produced by the carmaker. At almost five metres long it offers luxuriously spacious travel, especially for those in the back, helped further by a refined ride. The styling isn't to everyone's taste, but with its coupe appearance, it is undeniably a Porsche and actually looks more appealing up close. The good news is that it also handles like a Porsche with great steering, minimal body roll and stunning performance. The majority of models come with a twin-clutch automatic gearbox called PDK which offers amazingly fast and smooth shifts while the top Turbo model boasts an immense 500bhp.

Lexus LS

The huge LS is the Lexus flagship - a luxury four-door saloon that's an alternative to cars such as the BMW 7-Series and Audi A8. The bluff styling is disappointing but the LS offers a superbly equipped and comfortable interior with acres of rear space. Unfortunately while the materials used are first class and the finish excellent, it lacks the style or sophistication of other cars that have a similarly high list price. The Toyota switches and column stalks are a big disappointment. That said, it is supremely comfortable on the move and cocoons passengers from the outside world with superb noise insulation and cosseting seats. It is also the first in its class to offer a fuel-saving petrol-electric 'hybrid' system giving Lexus LS buying an alternative to diesel in the LS600h.

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