Best cars for executives

Looking for a car to suit your status that doesn't cost the earth? Here are the best value luxury cars, grand SUVs and sleek coupes

Chris Rosamond
Dec 1, 2021

As you climb the corporate ladder, there are many perks to be enjoyed. As an executive you might even get your own allocated parking space with your name on it, but your reputation could be made or lost by the car you leave there.

A desirable set of wheels is important if you don’t want to raise the eyebrows of your fellow execs and, if applicable, those who work for you. In fact, the more desirable the better, which is where we come in with a range of savvy used car options that will maximise your image while minimising your expenditure.

The truth is that most cars these days should be able to last for decades, making second-hand purchases more attractive than ever. That’s even more true when talking about upmarket and luxury models, and not only because they’re built to the very highest quality standards.

Thanks to their increased value, luxury cars tend to enjoy a more cosseted existence, so the majority of used examples tend to be in very good condition and well maintained. These cars are also costly to develop, meaning that manufacturers usually have to make each generation last longer in order to maximise profitability.

That means a ‘win win’ for execs with a decent budget who are prepared to consider nearly new options or even a car that's a couple of years old. If you’re concerned about people pointing out your car not being new, you can use some of the savings that you have made on a private number plate to hide the car’s age and look a bit more exclusive.

Although the big, German saloons from Audi, BMW and Mercedes tend to dominate this market, there are plenty of other offerings out there too, including offerings from Jaguar, Alfa Romeo and, of course, Range Rover. So check out our selection of best cars for executives below, all at prices that massively undercut equivalent new models.

Best cars for executives

1. BMW 7 Series

Used deals from £26,500
Monthly finance from £0*

The largest BMW saloon is the 7 Series, which for years has been hailed as one of the most fun-to-drive luxury cars - perfect for those who want to look good behind the wheel but still enjoy the drive. This is a characteristic that pays homage to BMW’s name for creating sporty cars and one which makes the 7 Series a popular choice amongst high-salaried execs after luxury and performance.

Although the 7 Series has always been stuffed with technology as the BMW flagship, the model has usually been designed with a relatively conservative feel. However, the current sixth-generation car received a blingy update in 2019, featuring an enormous new grille that was designed to increase appeal in BMW’s Chinese showrooms. If that look doesn't appeal to you, fear not. Go for an earlier model and not only can you save yourself a bundle, but you can also get a much more handsome car in the process.

All the other BMW traditions remain, which means the 7 Series is still one of the best ways to cover long distances if you can’t borrow the company jet. There’s a selection of the latest-shape 7 Series models for sale on BuyaCar from less than £50,000 - much less than that if you're tempted by the more attractive earlier models.


2. Mercedes E-Class

Used deals from £8,490
Monthly finance from £414*

While the Mercedes S-Class may be flagship of the three-pointed-star-wearing range, the latest E-Class has developed so much that it now shares a notable amount of the luxury touches and creature comforts, but for a much more reasonable price.

Look at the E-Class from a small distance and you may even struggle to tell it apart from the pricier S-Class. The attractive, bold styling makes sure that not one person can mistake this for anything other than a Mercedes. Take a step inside, and this focus on style and an outright premium feel continues. 

Once you have sunk into the hugely comfortable driver’s seat, an array of technology is now at your disposal. A twin 12.3-inch widescreen display system stretches across the dashboard, featuring the brand’s high-tech 'MBUX' media system - operated via a touchscreen. The cabin is ergonomically laid out, too, with all controls within easy reach, helping to maintain the most important element - comfort.

With a range of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines, options are plentiful to suit your individual driving style. And with the choice of a saloon, convertible, coupe, estate, or even a hot AMG version, there really is an E-Class for everyone.


3. Jaguar XF

Used deals from £9,990
Monthly finance from £0*

The Jaguar XF was the first step in a new, modernising direction for the brand when it originally launched in 2007. Today, as the latest XF has entered the market, there are plenty of these big cats to be found second-hand for a significantly lower price.

Earlier models, while very cheap, are now starting to show their age quite badly, so we’d recommend opting for a later second-generation model. Not only will you get a much more modern-looking car, but also plenty of up-to-date tech on the inside, too. Aim for a 2-year-old XF and you can expect prices to start from around £25,000 for a lower-mileage example. 

For a large executive car, the XF can be economical, with over 55mpg claimed for some of the diesel models. The petrol models aren’t as efficient but do a better job of embodying that special Jaguar sportiness - so your choice of engine should be a question of your personal priorities. 

A good all-rounder XF could be the 2.0-litre diesel R-Sport, with its beefed-up styling and economical engine. There are a number of these to be found for under £25,000 with less than 30,000 miles on the clock.


4. Range Rover

Used deals from £27,490
Monthly finance from £1,206*

Another icon of the British establishment, the Range Rover offers levels of prestige and luxury that are fit for a queen – in fact, it’s long been a favourite of Her Majesty.

As a model that’s been around for years, there’s loads of choice with used Range Rovers. You can pick up a 2017 model with the 3.0-litre 'TDV6' diesel engine that has covered 40,000 miles for around £47,000 in luxurious Vogue SE trim. That’s not just a lot of car for your money, it’s also a model that will be virtually indistinguishable from a newer car - especially if you stick a ‘private’ registration plate on it.

Bump the budget to £60,000 or so, and you could get behind the wheel of a 2017 V8 petrol Autobiography, but if you want anything newer you’ll be looking at more than £70,000 if you're paying cash. Of course, you could always consider lowering your sights a little to the smaller Range Rover Sport.


5. Volvo XC90

Used deals from £18,750
Monthly finance from £689*

Not quite as ostentatious as a Range Rover, but nonetheless imposing, luxurious and serene to drive, the Volvo XC90 is one of the nicest ways to travel if you value comfort and luxury.

The latest version arrived in 2015, and although it’s been updated, the design has stayed largely unchanged. That’s entirely a good thing, as the XC90's clean exterior lines and swish Scandinavian style interior combine to create a truly upmarket and desirable feel.

The car is set up for relaxed cruising too, with light steering and a smooth ride, and there are petrol and diesel options as well as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) that brings significant tax benefits to company drivers thanks to its low claimed emissions. Just make sure to charge it regularly to get any economic benefit from the hybrid tech.

The hybrid T8 model is pricey as a new car, and it will take around £55,000 to get you behind the wheel of a one- or two-year-old version. If you choose the D5 diesel option, however, the entry-point for a 2018 XC90 drops to around £40,000, or you could be driving one for less than £550 per month if you opt for PCP finance.


6. Tesla Model S

Used deals from £34,495
Monthly finance from £0*

If you want to be the talk of the company car park while reducing your carbon footprint, the Tesla Model S is a hard car to beat. The first mainstream car from Tesla, the Model S has been with us for a number of years now, it still turns heads but, more importantly, there are now plenty of used examples to be found.

While it’d be understandable if you are a bit sceptical about the longevity of an older electric car, due to the relative infancy of the technology, there are a number of reports of Teslas with very high mileage still operating just fine on their original battery packs - some of which are even used as taxis. This should go towards providing some reassurance.

The best option for most executives will likely be the Long Range Model S, this will reduce the amount of time between charges and make long journeys less stressful. That said, owning a Tesla will gain you access to the ever-increasing Supercharger network, which will make finding a charger while on the move a lot easier.

Alternatively, if you’re simply desperate to get away from the office, the Performance model will go from 0-60mph in a supercar-like 2.3 seconds with Ludicrous Mode engaged.

7. Audi RS5

Used deals Limited stock

The Audi A5 may be based on the (relatively) humble A4 saloon, but there’s nothing humble about the high-performance RS5 variant. It's rapid, exciting to drive and thanks to its standard four-wheel drive, similarly capable on dry or wet roads.

If you’re looking for an executive express that’s both sporty and practical, the RS5 ticks all the boxes. Elegant, upmarket styling, amazing performance and grip from its sophisticated four-wheel-drive system, and a four-seat cabin with a decent boot - ideal for long-haul business trips.

The latest models are powered by an engine that offers bags of power but is decently economical if you’re taking it easy. While it may not have quite the sharp feel of a BMW M4 or the fun factor of an AMG C63, in the real world the RS5 is just as quick and probably easier to live with.

A new one costs around £70,000, but around £55,000 should be just about enough to get you into a two-year-old model with less than 10k on the clock. That's a hefty saving for a car that should still look practically new.


8. Jaguar F-Type

Used deals from £29,991
Monthly finance from £0*

The Porsche 911 is most often associated with super-successful business types after a sports car, largely as a result of the cult-like status it held for so-called ‘yuppies’ in the 1980s and ‘90s. The appeal of the car has only increased since then, but super-high resale prices mean that the 911 doesn't make an especially attractive used car bargain for canny execs.

Instead, we’d point you to a relative newcomer, and the gorgeously seductive curves of the Jaguar F-Type. It’s absolutely stunning to look at - whether you opt for the coupe or the roadster with its folding roof - super fun to drive, while all the engine options offer highly competitive performance.

A facelift in 2020 made the F-Type’s design a little bit sleeker to look at from the front, but few would turn their nose up at a pre-update F-Type - the differences aren't that obvious apart from a tweak to the headlight design. The F-Type is available with a more affordable and economical four-cylinder engine plus more dramatic-sounding six-cylinder and eight-cylinder motors, plus a variety of trim levels, but even the lesser-powered models look the part and are a blast to drive.

Prices start on BuyaCar at around £37,000, with monthly payments starting at around £530 on PCP finance are enough to put one of these beauties on your drive. Meanwhile, around £55,000 gets you a 2019 supercharged V6 model that has covered only a few thousand miles, for those after something newer.


*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

Buyacar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.


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