Price from £28,165
On sale March
What is it? BMW’s attempt to wrest the executive crown back from the Jaguar XF
The BMW 5 Series has been with us since 2003, so even though it remains one of the best executive cars money can buy, it’s about time for a revision – but just how will BMW replace such an important model?
The new 5 Series Gran Turismo was the first indication of how the latest 5 Series may look.
Although the rear ends of the two cars are similar, the new 5 Series is better proportioned than the GT, with its sleeker profile and a few cues from the Concept CS, a four-door, luxury coupé concept car first seen at the Shanghai motor show in 2007.
‘Probably the hardest job the 5 Series has is to better the old car. This one’s greener, meaner and cheaper, and
I reckon it looks the business, too.’
Great driving characteristics and excellent handling are hallmarks of the 5 Series,and the new version promises to rival the best in the class in both of these areas.
You’ll have many engines to choose from, and four chassis settings, but the 2.0-litre diesel 520d is likely to be the most popular model. It will manage 56.5mpg on average, with CO2 emissions of just 132g/km. The estate model should follow a year after the saloon.
Price from £29,324
On sale Early 2010
What is it? Mercedes’ biggest estate gets the saloon’s sharp styling treatment
There’s no point in fixing something that isn’t broken, so Mercedes has taken a pragmatic approach with the new E-Class Estate. The rear of the car has an almost upright tailgate to maximise load space. This means it has a capacity of 1950 litres with the rear seats folded, making it bigger inside than its arch rivals, the BMW 5 Series Touring (1650 litres) and the Audi A6 Avant (1660 litres).
The E-Class also has some nice design features, such as quick-folding rear seats that can be lowered from the boot or the inside of the car to create a flat load space, and a powered tailgate. The smooth 2.1-litre E220 CDI Blue Efficiency diesel engine produces 168bhp, which is more than powerful enough for this type of car. It’ll do 48.7mpg, too.
Price from £32,000 (est)
On sale 2011
What is it? Just when you thought Audi already had the market covered, along comes the A7
Audi continues to plug the holes in its traditional line-up with sporty odd-numbered models. First there was the A5 Coupé, Convertible and Sportback, and now there’s the A7.
It’s based on the Audi Sportback concept car, which was shown at last year’s Detroit motor show to gauge public opinion as a rival to the Mercedes CLS. The reaction must have been positive – it looks as if the A7 has all but won the official green light.
How different it will look from our image remains to be seen, but it’ll certainly be a different, more sophisticated four-door option to consider alongside the new A6 saloon and Avant, which are due in 2011.