What Car? Personal Shopper: best saloon for less than £32,000

Want a new car but don't know where to start? Just send us your criteria and we'll give you our recommended choice, as well as the best new and used alternatives, and tell you how much we can sav...

Buying used

  • Our recommended choice: 2017 BMW 5 Series 520d SE auto
  • Price: £31,302
  • Mileage: 14,866

What Car? Personal Shopper: best saloon for less than £32,000

When it comes to choosing a premium executive or luxury car, many people like the familiar reassurance of placing themselves behind a BMW badge, and at the moment the definitive model in the marque’s large and distinguished range is undoubtedly the 5 Series saloon.

It’s our reigning What Car? Car of the Year, and it’s a sensationally good car, with the option of various highly efficient and pleasingly punchy engines, excellent refinement, nimble handling, a wonderfully composed ride, a beautifully built and thoughtfully designed interior laden with all the latest tech and kit, and more than enough space for a family of five.

Indeed, it’s notably more spacious than any of our three new car choices, as well as having a noticeably more upmarket air. Our budget will put this 2017 520d SE, with only 14,000 miles on the clock, on your driveway. Expect good performance and a spirited and hushed drive, along with official average fuel economy of 62.7mpg and CO2 emissions of just 119g/km, so the bills will be pleasingly low, too.

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Read our used BMW 5 Series review

Also consider: 2018 Audi A6 2.0 TDI Ultra Black Edition S tronicPrice: £31,451Mileage: 15 miles

What Car? Personal Shopper: best saloon for less than £32,000

We like all of our new car choices on the previous page, but a used A6 would give you a lot more space, especially for rear seat passengers, and a bit more refinement. Like the BMW 5 Series, we class it as a luxury car, rather an executive, and you’ll feel the difference when you first hop aboard.

It’s true that the A6 isn’t in the first flush of youth, having been on sale for many years now, but our £32k budget would buy you a highly desirable 2.0 TDI Ultra in desirable Black Edition trim. It's a swift performer with outstanding official average economy of 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of just 118g/km.

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Read our full Audi A6 review

Also consider: 2018 Jaguar XF 2.0d 180 R-Sport autoPrice: £32,000Mileage: 6232

What Car? Personal Shopper: best saloon for less than £32,000

Nothing beats a Jaguar for a bit of bar-stool kudos, and the XF doesn’t disappoint on the road, either. It’s fast, agile and graceful, combining comfort and sportiness like no other luxury car. For this budget, you’ll be getting a more spacious and luxurious car than any of those three new cars – with a lot more rear leg room than the XE, for example – and you’ll have a frugal and nearly new 2018 2.0-litre diesel in well-equipped R-Sport trim with a mere 6000 miles under its tyres.