The rules are that blind prejudice rules. We wanted to name the top 50 cars on sale today, ranked in order of excellence, regardless of which class they sit in and how much they cost. Doing so is not an exact science. So we relied on our experience and our expertise, and we argued about it.
When several staff and contributors named their top 50 cars, we all agreed on 37 of them, leaving only 13 contentious. As for the top five, we concurred on at least three, with no more than eight in the reckoning overall. In the end, no one felt any car here had been hard done by. Which left just two things in doubt: in which order do you put the top five and what is the absolute best car on sale today? Below we run down cars 25 to six.
25 - Rolls-Royce Phantom
Big but not brash, bold but not boastful, the Phantom is modern British luxury writ large. It has been around long enough now to be considered part of the scenery – and that’s a good thing. Forget that BMW writes all the cheques and assembles the platform; the Phantom could not be built like it is anywhere else in the world.
24 - BMW 320d
The benchmark for the Jaguar XE and the standard by which most buyers still measure the segment. The 320d’s virtues – performance, handling, economy, build quality – have become the target for every volume manufacturer, and the current iteration upholds the driving machine tradition.
23 - Jaguar XE
That the XE, Jaguar’s endlessly previewed compact exec, turned out to be good was not a shock. Gaydon, after all, is in a rich vein of form. However, the fact that it is better to drive than the BMW 320d shows just how extraordinary the firm’s progress has been in the past decade.