By 8 February 2013 | Categories: feature articles



German auto trio Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have long been dominating the executive mid-size executive saloon space with the A6, E-class and 5 Series respectively. The job of choosing has now been made even more difficult by other equally attractive options from Jaguar and Lexus. Here follows our Top 5 picks.

Fiat 500 MY12 1.4 Lounge

Audi A6 3.0T FSI quattro S tronic

Under the bonnet of Ingolstadt's mid-size executive saloon rests a 2995 cc V6 producing 220 kW between 5250 and 6500 RPM and 440 Nm of torque between 2900 and 4500 RPM. This is enough go-juice to reach 100 km/h in 5.5 seconds and go onto an illegal top end of 250 km/h. More sensible drivers should see a modest 8.2 litres per 100 km fuel usage.

Pricing comes to an expensive R683 000 that does include a few useful features the likes of park distance control with rear view camera, but you will have to fork out for a lot of goodies that most of the other less expensive cars in the comparison comes standard with. These include R5 400 for a multi-disc CD changer and R11 100 for a Xenon Plus headlight system that includes LED daytime running lights and LED rear lights.

Lexus GS 350 EX

Lexus GS 350 EX

Powered by a 3456 cc V6 that smoothly churns out 233 kW at 6400 RPM and 378 Nm of torque at 4800 RPM, this Japanese sedan is able to sprint to 100 km/h in a quick 6.3 seconds onto a top end of 235 km/h. This zippy performance does mean an uninspiring fuel consumption figure of around 9.4 liters per 100 km though.

At R584 900 (including carbon tax and VAT) the GS offers a lot of value, and includes an automatic dual-zone air-conditioning with pollen filter. This should be music to hay fever sufferers’ ears, as will be the first-class 12-speaker Lexus premium sound system with iPod/iPhone Integration. Those who struggle with parking will find the reverse camera with backing up guide monitor functionality quite handy, with this camera feed displayed on the sizable 12.3" Electro Multi Vision display screen.

Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueEFFICIENCY

Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueEFFICIENCY

This classy Merc may be renowned for its stately ride quality, but that doesn't mean that its slow. It is able to rocket to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds onto a top speed of 250 km/h, thanks to a 3498 cc V6 that delivers 225 kW at 6500 RPM and 370 Nm of torque between 3500 and 5250 RPM. Considering that this is a BlueEFFICIENCY vehicle, fuel usage is down to an impressive, comparison leading 6.8 liters per 100 km, whilst carbon emission levels at 161 grams per km are also the lowest within this comparison.

The sizable costs of sliding behind the driver seat amounts to R709 000, which nets you features including the COMAND online multimedia system that makes use of an integrated camera to identify the speed limits on road signs and displays these on the central screen.

Jaguar XF 3.0

Jaguar XF 3.0

The exhaust note from the 3.0 litre V6 of Jaguar's sublimely styled British saloon might be compared to a purr as opposed to the lion roar of the sublime 5.0 liter supercharged V8. However this powerplant still produces a very respectable 175 kW at a glorious 6800 RPM and 293 Nm of torque at 4100 RPM. It propels the car towards 100 km/h in just over eight seconds onto a top speed of 237 km/h. The XF is one thirsty cat, with fuel usage coming to 9.6 litres per 100 km on a combined cycle (highway and town driving).

Forking out R638 400 for this car means that you expect a lot of standard kit. Jaguar delivers with Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless go, a 7" colour touchscreen, and Bluetooth audio streaming.

BMW 535i

BMW 535i

The sixth generation 5 Series sets the standard in the executive mid-size class, courtesy of its sporty performance, attractive (looks like a smaller 7 Series) styling, premium 7 Series inspired cabin, and best mix of handling dynamics and ride comfort.

Performance is always a strong suit of BMW’s and the 535i is no exception as its 2979 cc V6 offers 225 kW at 5800 RPM and 380 Nm of torque between 1750 and 2750 RPM. This not only enables 100 km/h to be brought up on the speedometer in under six seconds, but also delivers a combined cycle fuel usage figure of just 7.6 liters per 100 km.

At R679 000 this certainly is not the cheapest saloon in the comparison. But it ticks off cruise control with braking function, rear view parking- and reverse camera, front and rear park distance control (PDC), automatic dual-zone air conditioning, as well as a Control Display with high-resolution TFT colour monitor for displaying functions including the view from the rear view camera. 


This article first appeared TechSmart issue 113: The Tech Savvy Issue - February 2013.


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