Super-saloons that promise spare-no-expense comfort, space and performance. But which is best of the best?1: Mercedes S-class
Technology-packed supercruiser features such cutting-edge treats as cruise control that senses when you’re closing on another vehicle and brakes to maintain a safe distance, and infra-red headlights that boost night vision. But, more than that, it wafts occupants along at a whisper, enveloping them in leather and wood-clad luxury. Air suspension makes for a magic ride, while any of the diesel or petrol engines are near-silent in operation. Cabin space is vast, even without the extra legroom that the long-wheelbase models bring, while the boot has enough space for umpteen suitcases. Top-end models offer crazy power at mad prices, but cheapest models make sense – kind of.
2: Jaguar XJ6
Old-school looks, cosy wood and leather cabin and that humped bonnet curving away as your peer along it... it’s every inch a traditional Jag, and all the better for it. This Jag’s looks deceive, however, because its aluminium panels are cutting-edge, keeping weight down and improving the ride. And the pick of the engines is a twin-turbo diesel. A generation back, the very idea of anything other than a petrol motor would have been damned as heresy but the new diesel is quick, smooth, quiet and economical. The cabin, meanwhile, is packed with gadgets but, despite this, prices are pitched keenly. If you like a super-comfy ride, we’d guide you away from the Sport models, which wear huge alloy wheels and skinny-sided tyres.
3: BMW 7-series
Love or hate ‘em, this BMW’s lines mark it out from the pack. Unashamedly high tech, the V8 and V12 engines are admirable, although the 3.0 diesel is cheaper and makes more sense. The 7-series is a huge car with an imposing presence – and there’s also a long wheel-base version for those that want it. The driver controls suspension settings with the iDrive – a click and point dial between the seats linked to a dash display. Despite improvements, some owners still curse its quirkiness and obstinacy. It rides smoothly and, despite its size, remains agile to drive. When pushed, the engines emit a metallic bark that’s at odds with the &’s otherwise restrained manners. Running costs are high compared to rivals, and this drags down second-hand prices which, in turn, adds to ownership costs.