The BMW 5 Series was the 1st model show them the controversial 'flame' design which split opinion. However we have been fans so we were keen to ascertain if the newest design would also hit the spot. We think that BMW offers it right again using a dynamic and thoroughly contemporary design which keeps the 5 bang up to date.

The new 5 Series carries with it an assortment of EfficientDynamics technologies. There's Auto Start-Stop, optimum gearshift indicator, Brake Energy Regeneration, Active Aerodynamics and low rolling resistance tyres. In addition a state-of-the-art 8-speed automatic transmission using a longer final drive ratio to lessen engine revs at motorway speeds making an effort to achieve great fuel consumption.

In the driving stakes BMW has kept the trademark 50:50 weight distribution, which combined with the front-engined, rear-wheel drive layout, makes all the 5 Series more agile than rivals. There's also no reason to anticipate anything other than the excellent construction that we've become used to.

The latest 5 Series is evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary however when you're starting so near perfection this is not necessarily a bad thing. The 520d ED delivers strong real-world performance whilst achieving fuel economy that shames many city cars. With a brilliant mix of quality, style, performance and driving entertainment, it remains our favourite executive car.

It wasn't too long ago that Mercedes struggled to get involved with the guide but with a new array of super hi-tech engines that is certainly exactly about to change. Mercedes could have been the slowest of the German manufacturers to take fuel-efficient models to showcase, but the email address particulars are impressive.

Gone are the days when you could tell how big a Mercedes engine is just from exploring the badge. As a case in point, both E200d and E220d share a similar 2.0 litre engine. They even have the same compression ratio (an impressively high 15.5:1 since you ask) therefore the difference in power is more about engine management than old style engineering.

Either engine is much more than as much as the work of providing decent pace and given that they achieve the same official fuel consumption the option is likely to get down to budget. It is worth noting you will want to keep to the standard 17 inch wheels for the best efficiency with larger rims resulting in a hefty penalty (approximately 10 gCO2/km).

To maintain the E-Class ahead in the competition the conventional fit automatic gearbox now packs 9 ratios which works a way to explaining the wonderful official fuel consumption figures. Left to its own devices it will shuffle up into the highest gear possible however you usually takes power over affairs if you want to press on because of 'Dynamic Select' which supplies ECO, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ as well as a combination setting.

The latest E-Class takes the very best aspects of the previous model but adds state-of-the-art engines and a contemporary interior to hold it feeling fresh. The exec Mercedes has always lagged behind the 5 Series and XF in the driving stakes but it's now closer than previously meaning there is no longer a default option. Which one you choose will get down to personal taste since they all represent executive saloons towards the top of their game.

The renaissance of Jaguar continues to be one with the most surprising stories of recent years. In 2008 Tata bought the brand from Ford, who never quite reached grips in doing what to do with Jag, generating two extremely important decisions; Jaguar needed investment, and Tata put a good amount of money on the table, but crucially it didn't need management interference.

The XF is the newest confirmation that Tata was absolutely right. Jaguar never forgot developing contemporary executive saloons, it really wasn't permitted to. The XF takes your struggle to the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, and Mercedes E-Class at once and is all of the better correctly.

Jaguar has invested heavily in integrating aluminium into its production models with fantastic results. The latest XF is really a lot lighter compared to competition and is definitely 4% heavier compared to smaller XE. Such a radical weight reduction plan gets a big thumbs up from us mainly because it benefits fuel consumption, handling and performance.

Alongside the advanced construction materials the XF also boast a new 'Ingenium' engine which finally provides Jaguar with a world class diesel engine. It also contributes towards the weight loss as a result of yet more aluminium and its compact size. At exactly the same time it really is capable of producing impressive power and torque figures which imbue the Jag with sprightly performance.

There never been much wrong with the method that the XF drives or looks, nonetheless it has never a really efficient engine. With this issue now firmly addressed the combination of proper official fuel economy, engaging dynamics, impressively low kerb weight and svelte looks make for a compelling proposition.

The Lexus GS has graced the web pages of Green Car Guide for many years, but because of the performance hybrid approach Lexus hasn't truly explored the fuel consumption potential in the system, preferring to benchmark fuel economy against petrol rivals and turn the wick up than chase after diesel figures and dilute the performance. That is as yet.

The 300h has very clearly been made to take your dream to diesel rivals with fuel economy, performance and price all mimicking the front-running German offerings. Lexus has long claimed that it is petrol/electric hybrid system are able to do exactly what a diesel can, and the repost may be 'prove it'. It appears that it lets you do pay being careful what you desire, as in writing the 300h is around the job and many surprisingly for example their email list price.

To extract better fuel economy there have been some big mechanical changes. Out goes the three.5 litre petrol engine and in comes a 2.5 direct injection unit which creates a restrained 178 bhp. This is linked with a detuned electric motor which produces yet another 140 bhp providing an extremely favourable total system creation of 220 bhp. Drive is still transmitted towards the rear wheels via a CVT gearbox which as ever is fantastic for fuel economy and frustrating in case you are pressing on.

So the Lexus can beat diesel rivals for pure grunt but think about torque? The petrol engine can't get close, with 163 lb ft at the lofty 4200 - 5400 rpm it won't see which way your competitors went. But as it ever was with hybrids, that's only half the storyline. The electric motor comes towards the rescue again, having a handy 221 lb ft available from idle it fills within the gaps excellently and keeps the GS 300h inside race.

The GS remains exquisitely finished and arguably is way better suited towards the lower output system because it is competent to drive rather than razor sharp. The 300h is not any more costly than diesel rivals, has competitive fuel economy and thanks to petrol emitting less CO2 than diesel, falls into VED band B and attracts substantially lower company car tax. It also has got the benefit from emitting no PM and intensely little NOx that diesel rivals should head for expensive exhaust after-treatment. The GS still isn't perfect nevertheless the 300h is a great enough package to make you think before ordering a diesel rival. It seems that Lexus wasn't joking in the end, petrol hybrids really will take on diesels at their unique game.

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