December 07, 2018 at 8:56 AM
The executive car class is designed to be comfortable, refined and pleasurable to drive with quality and economy at the forefront of every model.
After all, most people buying an executive car spend hours of their time on the road and behind the wheel of their vehicle.
So, why not buy a car that's fun to drive with a sportier design and a bit more bite under the bonnet.
We've put together a list of our favourite executive sports cars that are available on the used car market for less than £20,000.
BMW 5 SERIES
With over 40 years of development behind it, the BMW 5 Series is the benchmark for any car in this class.
Now in its seventh generation which was released in 2017, there are a huge range of 5 Series models available on the used market.
The fourth generation (E39) was considered the best car in the world at the time of its release and it has only become more refined since.
It's exceptionally comfortable when travelling long distances and sets the standard in terms of interior quality.
The 530d M Sport version provides a smooth and responsive drive as well as impressive fuel economy up to 51mpg.
It also has 520 litres of boot space and enough space for four adults to stretch out in comfort.
The Mercedes CLS genuinely started a new trend in the executive class with its coupé-style design originally released in 2004.
The German manufacturer updated the model in 2011 with the second generation getting much of its running gear from the E-Class saloon.
Although the design was revolutionary, it does have its disadvantages, mainly for the passengers in the rear who will have limited head room.
However, there is plenty of leg room to compensate for the slightly slouched position they'll need to adopt.
The 250 CDI AMG Sport model has a four-cylinder motor that can reach 62mph in just 7.5 seconds. More surprisingly, it's also capable of returning as much as 53mpg.
The boot is compact, but it still has enough space to swallow suitcases with ease. There's additional storage throughout the cabin including a central bin and large glovebox.
The Jaguar XF provides serious competition for its German counterparts when it comes to best-in-class honours.
It combines deft road handling and responsive steering with a comfortable ride that stands firm when speed builds.
The interior features a gimicky rotary controller for the gearbox that rises from the centre console which is sure to impress passengers the first time they see it.
The 3.0 D R-Sport version is a 3-litre V6 that is able to return up to 47mpg with an effortless performance.
In the back, passengers might be a little bit cosy compared to other models, but the boot can still carry 540 litres of luggage.
Around 20 years ago, Audi recognised that most people's perception of quality was in the interior. Since then, they have produced a series of world-class cabins using materials that are second to none in the executive class.
Where the A6 has traditionally fallen behind its rivals is in terms of performance; however, the fourth generation A6 is something for the German manufacturer to be proud of.
As standard, every A6 from 2011 onwards received a built in satellite navigation system to compliment the comfortable interior.
The 3.0 BiTDI S Line model packs a 309bhp 3.0-litre diesel V6 with two turbochargers under the bonnet posting a 0-62mph time of just 5.1 seconds.
The boot has 535 litres of space and the interior is a spacious, classy and comfortable place to be on long journeys.
ALFA ROMEO GIULIA
Good looking, refined and economically efficient, the Alfa Romeo Giulia has it all with a great range of engines to choose from.
It's built with a 50:50 weight distribution thanks to aluminium in the chassis and carbon fibre drivershafts.
Drivers can look forward to an exciting driving experience at the hands of the double wishbone suspension at the front and multi-link suspension at the rear.
The manual gearbox isn't on offer in the UK, so you'll have to settle with the automatic version. The pick of the engine range is the 2.2 JTDM-2 Super which is capable of up to 67.3mpg.
There's a certain premium appeal in the Giulia which has a stylish and sporty interior with some beautiful dials and a great steering wheel.
Some people might question what the Volkswagen Passat is doing amongst such illustrious company when it is typically pitched against the Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo.
Quite simply, it offers exceptional value for money, as well as an enjoyable driving experience from its R-Line model.
It might not have the same levels of refinement as the BMW, Audi or Mercedes, but it is still impressively well made.
The 2.0 BiTDI R-Line 4 Motion version is a four-wheel drive machine that is capable of 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds.
It has a spacious and accommodating interior that extends to the boot which has a capacity of 586 litres so you can carry everything you need.