Now, however, while those brands continue to dominate in terms of sales numbers, the choice is wider than ever. The likes of Volvo, Lexus and Jaguar all offer alternatives and, you might argue, a greater degree of that exclusivity which was once so crucial to executive car buyers.
With the XF, Jaguar has fine heritage to draw on too; back in 2008, the then-new car scooped the overall victory at our Car of the Year Awards. This latest model builds on the qualities that made it first stand out all those years ago.
Jaguar has a long-standing reputation for building sweet-handling cars – it was, after all, founded on the basis of making sports saloons – and central to the XF's appeal is that it lives up to that promise. It's among the most exciting cars to drive in this class.
It has other qualities, too: the range of petrol and diesel engines offered is competitive with the best, and there’s one to suit most requirements. Jaguar has also significantly upped its game in terms of interior quality and the standard of its infotainment technology in recent years too.
Read on over the next few pages for everything you need to know before buying an XF, including our tips on which version to choose.
And if you decide to buy, make sure you check out our latest deals. You could save thousands on the price with no need to haggle.