What do you want from your car? Do you want something that is a joy to drive, with a bit of power and performance that can give you goosebumps? Do you want the style and thrill of a sportscar but don’t want the insurance premiums to match? And do you want a car that will impress everyone and not just those at the office car park? If you are bored of driving your mundane motor vehicle then the answer is a saloon.
The perfect combination of performance, style and prestige, saloon cars are ideal for those who are moving on from their first starter car, don’t have a family and want something a bit special yet affordable, or if you and your partner have two cars – one for ferrying the family around and one for work/me time.
So, with bonfire night just around the corner, we’ve put together our choice of top five saloons that will put the spark back into driving.
No, it’s not somewhere in the wild west with a set of double swing doors and a group of rowdy cowboys drinking whiskey, throwing punches and having gunfights in the street outside. A saloon is a type of car, such as hatchback, supermini or estate.
A saloon is normally a four door car, sleek in design, longer than a hatchback and with a boot that lifts like a lid, not another door as you would find in an estate. The name comes from the wealthy, luxurious carriages you would find on trains that were a class above the standard carriage. An apt metaphor for how these cars relate to normal models.
One of the best saloons of this generation and many more in the past is the BMW 3 Series. Now in its seventh generation, it regularly tops the list of best saloon cars and outsells many more similar models by quite some way.
So what makes it so good? Well BMW has learned plenty of lessons across the years. But the main thing is the balance between all the different aspects you want from your car. It’s fun to drive, meaning you can attack corners confident in the knowledge that the responsive handling won’t leave you struggling. A range of powerful engine options mean you can go for economy and efficiency or power.
The interior epitomises what’s meant by saloon, with a refined, polished finish that has been ergonomically designed so that if you do spend large periods of time behind the wheel, you won’t be shifting too uncomfortably in your seat. You can also find a range of entertainment options and technologies on offer, so you can tailor the car to match your desires.
Not content to sit in second place, Audi are often battling BMW to create the car of choice for the modern professional. The Audi A4 is one of their stalwarts, a car that’s beloved by both fleet hire companies and individuals alike.
You’ll feel the quality the most in the cabin, where the exquisite finish of the seats and the well-designed control systems, such as the touch screen infotainment screens, mean you feel you are in complete control.
Where the Audi A4 really excels is on the motorway. Put your foot down and you can cruise along at high speed without worrying about losing control.
Stylistically, the Audi has a more angular styling to the BMW, making it look a bit futuristic, like a car from the future rather than a boring run-of-the-mill saloon car.
Another German car, another excellent saloon. It seems life in the autobahn is a top priority for German car companies and so they have put a great deal of thought and effort into perfecting the experience. For one of the most prestigious examples, the Mercedes E Class is a beautiful car that has the distinctive Mercedes front grille and puts a helluva lot of goodness behind it.
The cabin feels like it’s had an interior design from a specialist, not cookie cutter straight off the factory production-line. You can feel the quality in the materials used for everything, from the indicator switch to the seats and headrests.
Performance wise, it’s no slouch. It might not get your heart racing like the Audi or BMW, but you will feel the miles pass easily as you sit comfortably behind the wheel. A smooth and stylish ride.
It’s not just the German car companies that excel at the saloon. Jaguar has been known for its high class, high quality cars since it was first established. The Jaguar XE is their latest entry into the prestigious saloon market and it continues in the tradition of their famous cars from the past.
It’s quite possibly one of the most fun cars to drive on the market, with powerful, responsive acceleration and light handling. There are a wide-range of engines to choose from, which means you can tailor it to your usage.
Another plus is the sheer range of accessories and optional extras to choose from when it comes to the car’s interior. Heated seats? Climate control for different sections of the car? Self-parking technology? Lane control? Whether its comfort, safety or entertainment that appeals to you the most, or a combination of the three, then the Jaguar comes with enough options to make the car truly a home away from home. Ideal if you spend a lot of your time on the road.
It’s also a beautiful car to look at. From the fearsome Jaguar badge on the grille, to the sleek aerodynamic curves that call to mind the E-type and other ancestors. A real beauty.
For an all-rounder that’s slightly more affordable than the high-level German and British cars on this list, the Mazda 6 Saloon is a perfect alternative. Performing well in every area, while it doesn’t hit the heights of the other entries on this list, it has everything you want from a saloon.
Smartly designed interior? Check. Fun to drive? Check. Has the look and feel that takes it a class above other makes of cars? Double check. It’s a great car that won’t break the bank like the others. And it’s nowhere near as common as the others, so you have a good-looking car with a sense of freshness missing from the other cars on this list. Perfect!