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CitroŽn XM 

A reproduction of the 1991 UK brochure which comprised a reprint of Car Magazine's test of eleven executive cars

  • ALFA 164 LUSSO V6 v
  • BMW 525i-24 v
  • ClTROEN XM 3.0 SEi v
  • JAGUAR XJ6 3.2 v
  • PEUGEOT 605 3.0 SVE
  • SAAB CDS 2.3 TURBO v
  • VOLV0 960 3.0i-24

THERE ARE TWO SORTS OF mainstream luxury saloon:

thoroughbreds born to be great, and commoners that aspire to greatness. This battle of the classes is brought into sharp focus by two cars - one of humble stock, the other an aristocrat - that have become uneasy stablemates through marriage. The £23,800 Ford Granada Scorpio represents the top end of a range aimed squarely at hoi polloi; the £23,750 XJ6 3.2 is Jaguar`s introduction to upper-crust motoring. Yet the two marques are on common ground where they overlap, competing for the same sort of buyer at almost identical prices.

Can a Ford seriously cut it with a Jaguar? Or for that matter, a Vauxhall with a Mercedes, or a Rover with an up-range BMW?

In this extraordinary giant test - the biggest ever conducted by CAR - we provide the answers by comparing 11 prestige saloons, worth nearly £300,000 between them. All were tested with automatic transmission, specified by most buyers at this level; some also had expensive options that lifted their price above our £25,000 target. Even so, all compete on the same plane.

Cheapest, along with the Ford, is the Alfa Romeo 164 Lusso at £23,755 The most expensive is the Jaguar, its price increased to £27,500 by automatic transmission (£800 extra) and sports suspension (a steep £2900). Costing between £24,000 and £26,000 - and so lavishly equipped there`s little need to study the options list- come the Citroen XM 3.0SEi, its Peugeot 605 3.0SVE stablemate, Rover`s Sterling, the Saab 2.3CDS Turbo and Vauxhall‘s Senator CD flagship. The BMW 525i auto also falls in this bracket, but expensive options are likely to increase its price (the test car was £27,602). The Mercedes 260E and Volvo 960 both cost over £27,000 to put on the road.