BMW 5 Series vs Jaguar XF vs Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The sophisticated new Mercedes E-Class takes on the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF, but which is the best large executive saloon?

Words By What Car? team

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BMW 5 Series vs Jaguar XF vs Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Our Verdict

The BMW 5 Series wins, the Mercedes E-Class comes second and the Jaguar XF sits on the foot of the podium. Before we explain why that’s the final order, it’s important to note this is one of the tightest tests we’ve ever judged. Usually, there’s clear air between at least two of the contenders, but not here; these are the best three large execs on the planet by a distance and, depending on your priorities, you could pick any one of them and be happy with your choice.

While the 5 Series is the oldest car here, it’s still the best all-rounder. It’s great to drive, particularly with the optional variable dampers, and feels as much at home on a snaking mountain road as it does on the M1. It’s also the most practical of our trio, the cheapest company car and most affordable to lease, while its fine driving position and class-leading infotainment system also count in its favour. Only a shortage of standard safety kit counts against it.

If you aren’t fussed about handling, you could happily pick the new E-Class. Its supple ride, stunning cabin and strong, smooth engine will satisfy most buyers, and the fact it’s the most generously equipped of the trio is another big bonus. In fact, only so-so practicality and a driving position that won’t suit everyone stop it from winning this contest.

The XF is the keen driver’s choice; it’s more engaging than both German rivals, yet still rides comfortably. It’s also well equipped and is slow to depreciate. However, it is the most costly company car, has the least impressive interior and is the noisiest cruiser.

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1st – BMW 5 Series

For Great to drive; brilliant infotainment; cheapest to lease and run as a company car

Against Automatic emergency braking costs extra

Verdict It might be long in the tooth, but it’s still the best large exec on the market

Rated 5 out of 5

Read the full BMW 5 Series review

2nd – Mercedes E-Class

For Punchy and efficient engine; stunning interior

Against Steering; rear head room; leasing costs

Verdict Comfortable, refined and very well equipped

Rated 4 out of 5

Read the full Mercedes E-Class review

3rd – Jaguar XF

For Superb handling; slow depreciation; safety

Against So-so performance and interior; highest CO2

Verdict Not far behind its German rivals at all

Rated 4 out of 5

Read the full Jaguar XF review

Specifications: BMW 520d SE auto

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

List price Β£34,165

Target Price Β£27,160

Power 188bhp

Torque 295lb ft

0-62mph 7.7sec

Top speed 145mph

Fuel economy 48.5mpg (True MPG)

CO2 emissions 109g/km

Specifications: Jaguar XF 2.0d 180 Prestige auto

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

List price Β£34,050

Target Price Β£31,204

Power 178bhp

Torque 318lb ft

0-62mph 8.6sec

Top speed 136mph

Fuel economy 47.1mpg (True MPG)

CO2 emissions 114g/km

Specifications: Mercedes E 220 d SE 9G-Tronic

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

List price Β£35,935

Target Price Β£32,761

Power 192bhp

Torque 295lb ft

0-62mph 7.4sec

Top speed 149mph

Fuel economy 72.4mpg (Combined Gov't figure)

CO2 emissions 102g/km

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