The executive car segment has seen huge growth over the past few decades. Thanks to their combination of comfort, luxury and refinement, the best of the best are fun to drive, have plenty of space, boast high quality and are well-equipped.
With so many now on the market, though, which are the best? So to help you navigate the sumptuous minefield, we’ve rounded up the top six best executive cars to lease.
The Jaguar brand has never been shy of showing what it stands for – style and speed. It’s world-class compact executive car is undeniably evidence of that.
This comfortable, high performance vehicle is one of the finest in its class. With a wide, low profile, the XE’s aggressive, sporty looks scream executive. Opening up into a cabin that is seriously, solidly slick with soft-touch plus materials encased by glossy black surfaces reflecting off metal trim highlights.
Plus, those who like their tech will be delighted to find that this British brand doesn’t disappoint with the Touch Pro Duo system borrowed from the I-Pace. The 10-inch touchscreen hosts sat nat, entertainment and communications, while a smaller, practical display lives below for driver convenience functions such as climate control.
As you’d expect from Jaguar, the XE is fun to drive, but looks after your comfort all the way. with one diesel and two petrol engines and with either rear- or all-wheel drive to choose from, it’s also incredibly good for those who want to save on running costs. The most frugal of which is the 2.0-litre petrol engine with returns of 40mpg.
Audi A6 Saloon
If anyone can carry off an executive saloon it’s one of the kingpins of the sector – Audi. Refinement, striking looks, comfort and, of course, the Audi badge all make the Audi A6 a powerful contender in the class.
Being an Audi, the A6 is characteristically dynamic. Instantly recognisable thanks to its aggressive-looking grille fringed by swept-back headlights and low shoulder line.
Step inside though for the true executive experience. Spacious and practical, the A6 cabin is luxuriously comfortable. It’s also swamped with tech. From entry level versions, with infotainment system, 10.1-inch touchscreen and 10-speaker stereo to top spec models with Audi’s stunning Virtual Cockpit instrument pack and driver assistance technology.
There’s a range of engines available, starting with a reasonably deft 2.0-litre 201bhp turbocharged petrol. For even more superior fuel economy, there are also mild-hybrid powertrains available. The 2.0-litre of which offers up to 62.8mpg. All engine choices, though, drive remarkably smoothly and incredibly quietly.
Quite simply, what Mercedes doesn’t know about producing world-class executive cars isn’t worth knowing. The E-Class is a defining model in the sector – it boasts everything that is refinement. Quality, comfort, space and driving performance is all wrapped up in a luxurious package.
This full-size executive class vehicle takes the majority of its design cues from the S-Class saloon. With its handsome elongated silhouette, it’s staggeringly well-equipped and comes with a more-than decent range of engines. Plus, of course, its badge kudos lends well to exceptional road presence.
Inside, the classiness continues with plush materials from wood and leather to soft-touch plastics. It’s also privy to 64-colour ambient lighting, which offsets the interior at night too. The roomy cabin features twin 12-inch displays and infotainment set-up with Mercedes’ voice control features.All versions also come with an array of driver’s assistance aids including front and rear sensors, rear-view camera and park assist.
As you would expect, the E-Class is a smooth drive, but it’s also economical. From the entry level 2.0-litre petrol engine with returns of 39mpg, through to an efficient range of diesels and two types of plug-in hybrid powertrains.
In a sector dominated by the German giants, the Lexus ES is a worthy contender. It may not have the sporty instantly-recognisable looks of its rivals, but there’s much to like about this Japanese saloon.
This individualistic executive car is unfussy in design and all the better for it. Dominated by a large unique grille and curved rear silhouette, it’s eye-catching without being overly swanky or pretentious.
Inside it’s spacious and entirely comfortable, built with long journeys in mind. As is standard with Lexus, the build quality is exemplary with distinctive Japanese-inspired touches.
Even at entry level, standard equipment is generous with a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, heated electric front seats and adaptive cruise control.
Lexus is renowned for the hybrid versions of its cars and the Lexus ES is no different. With one single petrol / electric hybrid engine option available, it’s a refreshingly different drive. The 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol combined with an electric motor produces 215bhp. With an unassuming top speed of 112mph, it’s an exceptionally quiet and gentle drive. And with official economy figures of 60mpg, it’s gentle on the purse strings too.
Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S helped put the brand on the map and to this day remains one of, if not the best all-electric executive saloons out there. Combining incredible performance, luxury and refinement all along with zero tailpipe emissions, it’s an EV like no other.
Looks-wise, it’s completely different to your traditional executive breed. With a svelte silhouette, the Model S is sleek and futuristic. The cabin is minimalist and with more space you can shake an incredibly large stick at. Dominated by its 17-inch infotainment screen, which controls nearly every function from driving modes to the cabin’s climate, otherwise the interior is light and roomy.
There are two options in the Tesla Model S Range – Long Range and Performance. The Long Range has a 375-mile range and top speed of 155mph. Performance turns it up a notch with a top speed of 162mph and a jaw-dropping 0-60mph time of 2.4 seconds.
Of course, being all-electric, daily running costs are lower than its petrol and diesel rivals. You’ll also get free access to Tesla’s Supercharging network, of which there are more than 500 charging points across the UK.
The Model S really is more than just an electric car – with stunning performance, comfort and handling, it’s a worthy contender as one of the best executive cars to lease.
Handsome and sleek on the outside, roomy and luxurious on the inside. Plus, it’s an excellent drive – you couldn’t really ask more from the Volvo S90.
In a sector where the big German brands dominate, this unassuming Scandanavian car with its minimalist design and superior road manners is the successful exception to the rule.
So what’s different about the Volvo S90?
Well, this luxury car is all about comfort. Inside, you’ll still find – as you should expect – a superior high quality finish. But this car doesn’t pretend to do sporty. Instead you’ll find plush, ridiculously comfortable seats. All of this really goes quite well with the overall driving experience, which is quiet and relaxing – something you’ll be thankful for on longer journeys.
Volvo have kept things simple for its S90 with a choice of two trims and an engine range that’s straightforward enough not to baffle: two diesels and a petrol-electric hybrid option. All come with eight-speed automatic gearboxes and, in terms of economy, official figures are around 60mpg.
Of course, it’s Volvo, so there’s plenty of safety kit as standard too. From traffic sign recognition and lane keep assist to emergency city braking and blindspot monitoring – there’s even an autonomous driving system, which works up to speeds of 80mph.
If you’re in the market for something different, something spacious and something stunningly luxurious, the Volvo S90 just might be right for you.
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