Top 5 Executive RidesBy Hanleigh Daniels 1 March 2012 | Categories: feature articles
What's better to be on the road wrapped in a cocoon of luxury and stateliness, enjoying power at your command and more tech at your disposal than NASA engineers? It does not take much to fall in love with an elegant executive saloon.
BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe
To give an indication of the raw power behind BMW's very first four door coupe, the striking 6 Series Gran Coupe, look no further than the 650i's new turbo-charged eight-cylinder engine (330 kW). Put your foot down and it shoots from standstill to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds.
The Gran Coupe is a gadget lover's dream, offering surround view camera and BMW Parking Assistant; lane departure warning; an optional premium Bang - Olufsen sound system; and the latest-generation BMW Head-Up Display system projecting useful info on the windscreen in front of the driver. BMW's 6 Series Grand Coupe should arrive on local shores by Q2 of this year, with pricing details still to be confirmed.
Audi S5 3.0T FSI quattro S
Audi has given its A5 a mid-life update, offering new engine choices that provide the car with a bit more grunt. The added power won't necessarily translate into higher spending at the petrol station, as an engine start-stop system comes standard, playing its part in keeping the fuel usage down.
Why go for the S5? Well it's simple, the new S5 uses a supercharged 3 litre, six-cylinder engine producing 245 kW and 440 Nm of torque. This means a sub-5 second sprint to 100 km/h and combined fuel consumption figures of below ten litres per 100 km. Its high-tech safety equipment includes driver fatigue detection, an active lane changing assistant and adaptive cruise control. RRP starts from R427 000.
Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG
The cars leaving the factory of the AMG division of Mercedes-Benz invokes thoughts of mind-boggling performance and the CLS 63 AMG is no different, boasting a new 5.5 litre V8 bi-turbo engine with an output of 386 kW and maximum torque of 700 Nm. If that isn't enough, you can go for the optional AMG Performance package that boosts power delivery to 410 kW and torque to 800 Nm.
The RRP of the Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG puts it firmly out of reach of most South Africans, translating to a good measure of exclusivity for those lucky enough to have R 1 350 900 (sans the CO2 tax value levied upon it) to spend on a car purchase.
Porsche Panamera Turbo S
In our humble opinion Porsche's new Panamera Turbo S certainly isn't the belle of this executive saloon ball, but it does claim the title of beast. Its high-revving 4.8 litre V8 engine delivers a delicious 405 kW of power at 6000 rpm and 750 Nm of torque. This allows the all-wheel drive, four-door Porsche to rocket to 100 km/h in a mere 3.8 seconds, on to a terminal velocity of 306 km/h.
At a pricetag of over R2.1 million one would expect a fair bit of tech to be included and the Panamera Turbo S delivers the goods. Porsche Communication Management (PCM) with navigation module is combined as standard along with a BOSE Surround Sound System. The main attraction of the PCM system is its 7" touchscreen, which enables the front occupants to access features such as the car's MP3-compatible DVD-audio drive.
Lexus GS 350
The luxury arm of Toyota is known for its exceptional build quality and reliability, and this is certainly true of the beautifully sculpted GS 350. The new generation GS is powered by an advanced quad cam 3.5-litre V6 that delivers 228 kW, which is enough to accelerate the luxury sedan from 0-100 km/h in a claimed 5.7 seconds.
Interior changes include media interaction now handled via a new 12.3" split-screen, high-resolution display that is big enough to support simultaneous viewing of a large map display, audio, climate or any other vehicle information. This luxury executive sedan will be headed to South African showrooms during Q2 of this year, with pricing details still to be announced.
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