Audi A6 2.0 TDI SE
Dealer price £14,205
Private price £13,810
Tough economic times are forcing people to think more about higher mpg and lower CO2, so it was extremely important that our judges considered running costs as much as price in this category this year.
That’s why the Audi A6 has all you need in a saloon at a sensible price. It manages to blend refinement with a sporty, grippy driving experience, although the firm suspension means the ride isn’t all it could be on bumpy roads, especially in town. Still, wind and road noise are kept at bay, even at motorway speeds, and you rarely hear the refined 2.0 TDI diesel engine.
Inside, there’s generous head- and legroom for four adults, while the folding rear seats that were available as an option enhance the already-huge boot. The fit and finish are flawless; high-quality materials are used throughout the cabin.
We prefer the A6’s diesel engines over the petrols, partly because there are far more of them about and they hold their value better. The 168bhp 2.0 TDI engine in our model of choice gives buyers the best of both economy and useable power considering the A6’s size and weight. The manual gearbox is slick-shifting, while the optional automatic affects fuel economy somewhat but is well matched to the engine.
Opting for an SE-trimmed car gets you a good list of equipment, including climate control, four electric windows and cruise control. Make sure sat-nav is fitted, though, because without it the car will be worth a lot less when you sell it on.
The BMW 3 Series is the benchmark for how a compact executive car should handle. It grips and steers well, and is poised at all times.
2.7D V6 Luxury
The XF is surprisingly nimble for such a large car and supremely refined. You’re almost totally insulated from wind and road noise.