Top 10: Best Executive Cars in 2023

22nd Jun 2023

By Kenny Longdon

Best luxury executive cars

The perfect executive car needs to tick all the right boxes in order to be a successful companion to the driver, as they are usually up and down the country's motorways and A-roads. But it has also got to deliver the goods when it comes to family time too.

We have compiled a list below featuring ten excellent executive cars from the world's most renowned and sought-after manufacturers. The best cars will combine all the factors mentioned, and add extra details to ensure they stand out from the strong competition.

With such a fierce market, our list features the very best and demonstrates why they have been chosen, along with quirks and features of that particular model.

BMW 3 Series

3 Series Saloon

Starting strong, the BMW 3 Series has been the textbook answer to the best executive car for multiple generations. It continues to be an excellent all-round package thanks to a superb driving experience, multiple model choices, and of course, the sought-after BMW badge.

Executive sharp and stylish looks are accompanied by a range of superb engines, offering varying levels of economy and performance, so you can have a more dynamic or comfortable 3 Series, depending on your preference. M sport models for example take inspiration from BMW M cars, and therefore feature sportier suspension and body styling.

Interior material choice is excellent, as you would expect for a BMW and the 3 Series is therefore a lovely place to spend time. BMW infotainment ensures long drives are far more enjoyable, as do the upgraded audio options providing crystal clear sound and Bluetooth connectivity.

BMW 3 Series benefits:

  • Great to drive
  • Saloon and Estate bodystyles
  • Hybrid versions
  • High performance models also available
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Mercedes-Benz C-Class

C-Class Saloon

You cannot mention the best executive cars without including the fantastic Mercedes-Benz C-Class - a car that has been battling it out with the BMW 3 Series for many generations.

Like the BMW, the C-Class is a text book approach to the executive car. Each C-Class is well made, features classy exterior styling and details, along with state-of-the-art technology too.

Mercedes-Benz are the market leader for brand-new cutting-edge technology. Options like radar guided cruise control were first showcased on a Mercedes-Benz, and so many models are available with similar technology. This makes long motorway journeys far easier and of course ensures the C-Class is beautifully comfortable.

Multiple engine choices and trim levels mean you can specify a C-Class to your exact needs. AMG-Line models are great for those wanting dynamic styling and poise, without the enhanced running costs of an out and out AMG model.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class benefits:

  • Trailblazing technology
  • Saloon, Estate, Coupé and Cabriolet bodystyles
  • Hybrid versions
  • High performance models also available
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Audi A4

A4 Saloon

Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz continue to be the three kingpins in the executive and premium car market. The Audi A4 goes head-to-head with the models mentioned previously.

German designs, technology and desirability continue to be at the top of the list for most car buyers. The Audi A4 looks to disrupt the success of the 3 Series and C-Class by updating its design language, featuring sharper styling details, along with Quattro all-wheel drive in some models.

Audi were also the first to take a very different approach to interiors, unveiling the stunning 'Audi Virtual Cockpit', which you can find in the Audi A4. 

Features on the A4 such as sequential turn indicators ensure the A4 stands out from the competition, for those who appreciate incredible attention to detail.

Audi A4 benefits:

  • Striking 'Virtual Cockpit'
  • Saloon and Avant (Estate) bodystyles
  • Hybrid versions
  • High performance choices also available
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Jaguar XE

XE Reims

Not all great executive cars come from Germany. Here in the UK, we are just as good at making them, and the Jaguar XE is proof.

Heritage and history count for a lot, and Jaguar are a symbol for luxury and class. Today, the Jaguar XE mixes the renown traits of old with a refreshingly unique approach that has seen performance and bespoke touches being applied.

The XE is a fine-looking car and like the competition comes in many specification choices. Characterful big-powered petrol versions are joined by more efficient diesel engine options.

In a world where German cars seem to dominate, the Jaguar XE can make you proud to be British thanks to its unique and refreshing styling. Complemented by fine heritage, any variant of Jaguar XE is a welcome executive car for sure.

  • Attractive alternative to popular German brands
  • Saloon and Shooting Brake (Estate) bodystyles
  • Hybrid versions
  • High performance models also available
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Volkswagen Passat

Passat Saloon

Another German manufacturer, but Volkswagen offer a more affordable way into a sought-after German-built executive car. The Volkswagen badge may not have the prestige of the other three manufacturers mentioned previous, but in some aspects, the VW Passat can hold its own for sure.

Being a Volkswagen, the build quality is superb and being a member of the VWAG group (Volkswagen Audi Group) the Passat has a digital cockpit which certainly helps in making boring drives a lot more entertaining and generally nicer to use.

Passat models have a reputation for offering incredible economy too with 60 to 70mpg easily achievable.

If you want a great-looking car, that won't look out of place next to a more expensive German alternative, but still provide you with a perfect executive daily driver, the Passat does not disappoint.

Volkswagen Passat benefits:

  • A more affordable German alternative
  • Understated appeal
  • Saloon and Estate bodystyles
  • Hybrid versions
  • High performance models also available
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Audi A3 Saloon

A3 Saloon

Another Audi in our list, this time it's the Audi A3 Saloon. Initially the Audi A3 started life as a hatchback, but to keep competitive in the market Audi created the A3 Saloon. Simply put, an Audi A3 with a bigger boot and saloon car practicalities.

It is a handsome looking car and certainly warrants the executive car classification. The Audi design language is apparent in the exterior looks with distinct, sharper, more aggressive lines, sequential turn indicators and the sought-after Audi four ring badge.

Inside it is the same story. The Virtual Cockpit is stunning, and material choice is wonderfully premium. The A3 Saloon is also very well put together and will do the monotonous motorway journeys with ease. A fine selection of engine choice complements the overall appeal too.

  • Striking Audi design
  • Saloon and Hatchback bodystyles
  • Hybrid versions
  • High performance models also available
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BMW 5 Series

5 Series Saloon

Essentially the BMW 5 Series is a bigger version of the BMW 3 Series, but there is of course more to it than just size.

The 5 Series is more expensive to buy, and therefore comes with an enhanced standard specification and increased interior space. This is as expected, being the bigger offering in the BMW range. Although both the 3 and 5 Series are typically dynamic to drive, as is the case with most BMW models, the 5 Series is better refined than the smaller 3 Series, but the 3 Series is much more agile and therefore suited to a keener driver.

However, the 5 Series offers a more imposing road presence and in the executive market a 5 Series is a greater status symbol than its smaller sibling. Either way, you cannot go wrong with either BMW.

  • Enhanced comfort and luxury
  • Saloon and Estate bodystyles
  • Hybrid versions
  • High performance models also available
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Mercedes-Benz E-Class

E-Class Saloon

Another German car, another Mercedes-Benz. The E-Class, in short, is a larger version of the C-Class.

Of course, the bigger, more expensive E-Class emits a greater road presence, whilst the interior offers enhanced space too, along with better standard equipment.

For executive car purposes, the E-Class features increased comfort too, as well as higher power due to the car's overall size. The E-Class is not as agile as the C-Class, but this is the beauty of manufacturers offering different cars and in different sizes, as you can find the perfect solution to your individual needs.

  • Mercedes-Benz luxury and badge kudos
  • Impressive technology
  • Saloon, Estate, Cabriolet and All-Terrain bodystyles
  • Hybrid versions
  • High performance models also available
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Audi A6

A6 Saloon

Just like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Audi too offer a larger version of an executive car. So, if the Audi A4 is slightly smaller than what you need, then the larger A6 is also available.

Staying true to the larger car protocol offered by multiple manufacturers, the Audi A6 offers increased interior space and practicality, as well as including enhanced power, a greater standard specification and of course, a significantly amplified road presence.

Being an Audi, you still get all the must have Audi design features such as the stunning Virtual Cockpit, sharper flushing indicators and interior materials that ensure the A6 is a fine place to spend copious amounts of time.

  • Enhanced luxury
  • Sharp Audi attention to detail
  • Saloon and Avant (Estate) bodystyles
  • Hybrid versions
  • High performance models also available
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Lexus ES

ES Saloon

A break from the large number of German cars in our list, and a uniquely different approach by Japanese car manufacturer Lexus.

Lexus are essentially more luxurious Toyota models, similar to how Audi cars are more luxurious Volkswagen models. Therefore, with family DNA coming from Toyota, you can be sure the Lexus ES will be well built and also rather reliable.

It has its own design language too, very angular and a lot more independent than its rivals. Interior quality is great and on par with rivals bringing together digital instruments and infotainment for an interior fit for spending lengthy periods of time in.

One thing Lexus are great at is hybrid versions of its cars, which have been on the market for a lot longer than its German rivals in some instances, so the technology is tried and tested. This ES replaced the popular IS model and further enhances the impressive ability Lexus have in creating impressive hybrid alternatives.

  • Refreshingly different
  • Impressive technology
  • Ideal for those who do not want a German car
  • Saloon bodystyle only
  • Excellent Hybrid versions
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Find your luxury executive car with Stratstone

No matter which model from above you go for, you can guarantee a quality car that will be a pleasure to drive. Although German cars have an obvious monopoly, executive cars from the likes of Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz should not be ignored, as they can surprise many people who get behind the wheel, and offer a different and refreshing experience that some drivers will certainly crave.

There are more executive cars out there, and we are starting to see volume brands try and steal some of the action, which is good for evolution of the cars mentioned above.

Still not convinced? Why not browse our complete selection of used cars and see what you can discover today.