From £69,9557

Price, fuel economy and range, finance and depreciation

For company car drivers, the A8 60 TFSIe’s 15% benefit-in-kind rate makes it the standout option in the line-up, although the picture is less clear when you consider its rivals.

The S560e is fundamentally superior to the Audi, and this is reflected in its higher asking price, which nudges £100,000 in long-wheelbase form compared with the sub-£88,000 of this similarly stretched-out A8.

Our lightly optioned test car was impressive in its stature but lacked elegance. We’d go for lighter leather upholstery with eucalyptus inlays, and also the panoramic glass roof.

Residual values for the two cars are broadly similar, each retaining 30% of its original value after three years and 36,000 miles. However, the 745Le undercuts the Audi on list price and is also predicted to retain 38% of its value over the same period. We’ve yet to test this particular BMW in the UK but, from driving the car abroad, we expect it to expose the Audi in both ride quality and driver appeal. A tough group test awaits.