Audi A7 Sportback vs BMW 5 Series vs Jaguar XF
The new Jaguar XF means business, but is it the best large executive car, or would you be better off with an Audi A7 Sportback or BMW 5 Series?...
What are they like inside?
All of these cars have roomy, plush interiors, but the BMW 5 Series is immediately on the back foot because it has only part-electric front seat adjustment as standard, the Audi A7 Sportback and Jaguar XF both have full electric front seat adjustment, including powered tilt and lumbar support adjustment, which together cost an extra £1225 in the 5 Series.
Still, you get supportive seats whichever you choose, and a good amount of seat and steering wheel movement that will allow any driver to get comfortable, although some people may wish the A7's seat dropped lower.
Two tall adults will be comfortable enough in the back of al three, too, but the A7 has the least rear head and leg room. The 5 Series has the most head room in the back, and taller side windows make it feel comparatively light and airy. The XF is almost on a par with the 5 Series, though, because it has the most leg room, plenty of head room by any standard, and broad seat bases that offer plenty of thigh support.
While the 5 Series might be the best for rear passengers, it's the only car here that doesn't get split-folding rear seats as standard (they're a £335 option), and it has a slightly smaller boot than the others.
Of course, being a hatchback rather than a saloon, the A7 has obvious practicality advantages. It's boot opening is huge, plus the boot floor is a convenient square shape, and with standard 40/20/40 split rear seats and a load bay more than 2.0m long with them folded, it's seriously versatile by the standards of this class.
The XF's saloon layout means that with the rear seats dropped you have an awkward, narrow aperture that makes it tricky to load bulky items, and you're left with an annoying slope when the rear seats are folded. At least – as with the 5 Series – the boot is big enough for a large shopping load, a buggy or a set of golf clubs.
Visibility is best in the 5 Series, again thanks to its boxier shape yielding squarer windows and more upright, slimmer pillars. The A7 and XF both have bigger blind spots and chunky, raked windscreen pillars that can obscure your view at junctions.
The A7 and 5 Series are great for perceived quality, but the XF suffers from a few niggles. The light indicator and wiper stalks feel a little cheap, and the sharp edges around the bases of the seats and exposed cables for the seat releases in the boot make it feel a notch down on its rivals.