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Best saloon cars

Saloons are still a very popular choice in the new car market. Here are our top picks...

Saloons might not be the popular status symbol they once were, but they still make up a massive proportion of the new car market. Our list of hand-picked executives covers a wide range of prices and sizes, but in each case we’ve tried to choose cars offering all the things any business user would want, whether that’s the latest technology, low running costs or the keenest handling. Here are the best of the bunch.
  • Audi A3 Saloon – the affordable one
  • BMW 3 Series – the all-rounder
  • Mercedes E-Class – the cutting-edge one
  • Jaguar XF – the fun to drive one
  • Mercedes S-Class – the luxurious one
Audi A3 Saloon – the affordable one
Small, but perfectly formed, the A3 Saloon has the running costs and ease of use of a family hatchback, but the luxurious interior, style and driving manners of a much larger car. Its powerful, efficient engines are among the most refined in the class – whether you choose petrol or diesel – and it rides well, too, as long as you avoid the S line suspension. It doesn’t have quite as much room in the back as a BMW 3 Series or Audi’s own A4, but if you’re only using your car for the daily commute, you’ll barely notice the difference, and it’ll be a lot more affordable.
Expert review | Owner reviews
BMW 3 Series – the all-rounder
One of the most popular saloons on the market, the BMW 3 Series is also one of the best, and its strength lies in its wide range of abilities. The interior might not quite have the same high-quality sheen as its rivals from Audi and Mercedes, but it has a better infotainment system then either, and every model comes fitted with sat-nav as standard. The diesel models are really efficient, but also provide flexible performance, and the optional eight-speed automatic is superb. Better still, the car's fine chassis means it’s also great to drive, whichever version you choose.
Expert review | Owner reviews
Mercedes E-Class – the cutting-edge one
Some saloon drivers simply won’t care about how a car drives – what they want is a car that leaves them feeling fresh after hours at the wheel. The latest E-Class is exactly that, a big, incredibly comfortable, refined machine that can chew through motorway miles with effortless ease. It comes lavishly equipped, and uses lots of technology from the flagship S-Class. It even has a party piece of its own: an optional system called Drive Pilot. The car can drive itself in traffic jams, using lots of cameras to keep you in lane, and a safe distance from the car in front.
Expert review |Owner reviews
Jaguar XF – the fun to drive one
Searching for something a bit different from the norm for your saloon? Look no further than the Jaguar XF. Beautiful to look at, dynamically engaging and efficient enough to justify to your bank manager, the XF certainly has a lot going for it. With a bigger boot and less cramped rear seats than the XE, we’d also argue the XF is the pick of Jaguar’s pair of sleek executive saloons. Strong resale values, low insurance and generous kit all play their part in making this one of the best large executive cars.
Expert review | Owner reviews
Mercedes S-Class – the luxurious one
The S-Class is traditionally thought of as a luxury car and not an exec, but as the top rung of the company car ladder, it leaves its rivals in its wake. It’s also surprisingly affordable on finance deals, and boy do you get a lot for your money. A cosseting ride, whisper-quiet refinement and a palatial, beautifully made interior, the S-Class feels like a business jet.
You’ll never really need more power than the 350d provides, but if you want to cut your tax bills, the plug-in hybrid version is tax and congestion charge exempt, and really fast too. Often imitated, never bettered. Expert review | Owner reviews

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