To drive it remains refined in the classic Audi sense; power comes from a range of silken-edged, mild-hybrid petrol and diesel motors - which provide the A6 a respectable amount of shove even at the entry level. It rides well, too, and is impressively agile through the bends. But unlike the BMW 5 Series of Jaguar XF, it fails to really engage as a driver’s car. To some, its church-like refinement and tech appeal will be a massive draw, but it’s not quite enough to see it rise to the top here.
Sliding in at fourth place is the Volvo S90. Its striking design is shared with its V90 and XC90 rangemates, as is the strong focus on standard safety equipment - a big tick for family-minded buyers.
Also strengthening the Volvo’s case are a stylish cabin, spacious interior and comfortable on-road manner.
Similar to the Mercedes E-Class, the S90 has been geared more for comfort than driving thrills, meaning it comes in behind the likes of the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF, which excel on both fronts.
Gone is the old Lexus GS from UK shores. In a bid to boost its sales volume on the continent and here in Britain, Lexus has replaced its old rear-driven saloon with this more sensible ES - the firm’s best-selling four-door saloon in markets other than ours.
Lexus would likely argue that the ES’s biggest draw card is the fact that it’s only available as a hybrid here in the UK, coming in the form of the ES 300h. Its based on the same TNGA GA-K architecture as the latest Toyota RAV4, meaning there’s a 2.5-litre four-pot up front, which is supplemented by an electric motor for a combined output of 215bhp.
Around town is where the Lexus is most in its element. Here it’s hybrid powertrain is at its smoothest, while the ability to run for brief periods on electricity alone means it achieves decent fuel economy too.