BMW 5 Series

BMW 5 Series fends off some impressive German rivals to take the executive class crown

BMW 5 Series best executive car

This is a second successive Best Executive Car trophy for the big BMW, but that statistic doesn’t really tell the story of its utter domination of this category. To put it another way, were it not for the brief interruption of the new Audi A6 in 2011, the 5 Series would now be on a four-year winning streak.

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What makes this car so good? 
It ticks boxes, that’s what. Want something imposing and prestigious? Tick. Enjoy driving and want a car that will put a smile on your face on the way home from work? Tick. Need practical family transport? Tick. Want to pay as little company car tax as possible? Big tick.

Yes, our judges think the BMW 5 Series is the automatic choice 
for executive saloon buyers, which is some accolade when you consider the quality of the competition from Audi, Jaguar and Mercedes. The range includes everything from the 520d, which has a tiny thirst for fuel and emits only 119g/km of CO2, to the snarling 552bhp M5 flagship that can sprint from 0-62mph in only 4.3 seconds. There really 
is a 5 Series for every occasion.

The 181bhp 520d is the best all-rounder, combining strong performance and refinement with excellent economy and impressive efficiency. The more powerful 530d caters for sportier tastes. We wouldn’t bet against the 5 Series making it three in a row next year, because the revised model will be in UK showrooms by then.

On this evidence, the opposition is going to have to raise its game considerably if it wants to topple the remarkable big BMW.

Our choice: 520d SE (£31,530) 
The car that got the 5 Series back on the podium’s top step is the 520d SE. It was the first fuel-sipping full- sized exec, and it’s still the best.

Commended

Audi A6

The A6 saloon is one of the finest cars Audi’s ever made. 
It won our top executive prize in 2011, and is still a contender, thanks to its excellent engines 
and peerless cabin quality.

Mercedes CLS

Say hello to the executive saloon with the most desirable looks and image. With its prestige badge, exquisite lines, opulent cabin and choice of potent engines, the CLS is the ultimate executive head turner.

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