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Executive cars: seven of the best for 2024

These are cars for people with serious drive, and will keep pace with benefit-in-kind rules

Thanks to the extension of the rules on benefit-in-kind taxes out to the end of 2024, there is a whole host of exceptional high-end and executive-level cars from which to choose, which won’t break the company budget nor your own personal tax liability.

The additional €10,000 relief that was introduced in January of this year following criticism about the new BIK regime has been extended through 2024. It means that for the first €45,000 of the cost of any new electric company car, your BIK rate will be zero. It’s worth remembering that the benefit is tapered, though, so that in 2025 the BIK reduction value will be €35,000; in 2026 it will be €20,000, and in 2027 it will be just €10,000.

So, which models will get you not just the best car but the best tax set-up? Let’s take a look.

1. BMW i5

When BMW said that it would develop a series of new petrol, hybrid, and electric models using the same basic set of mechanical parts, many in the industry said that Munich had taken a wrong turn. Well, they’re not worrying about BMW’s navigation skills now – the new i5 (the fully-electric version of the new 5 Series) proves that BMW’s strategy is at least as right as anyone else’s. The electric i5 combines a driving experience that pushes all the traditional BMW buttons, but which offers as much as 582km of range on a full charge (it’s more like 500km in real-world conditions, but that’s still decent). Not quite ready to go fully electric? Then BMW will also be bringing in new long-range (100km on EV mode) plug-in hybrid 535e and 550e models early next year, and there’s a plain old petrol-powered 520i for those who just can’t be doing with all the plugging in. A handsome estate Tourer model arrives next year too, so there’s no excuse to buy an SUV any more.


Price: 5 Series range from €70,844; i5 from €91,105

2. Mercedes-Benz EQE

If the new BMW i5 is the driver’s choice among electric executive cars, then the Mercedes EQE qualifies as the arguably more sensible choice. Low, lean, and sleek the EQE saloon has one-charge range of up to 662km, and even if you’re spending all day on the motorway, with the air conditioning going, you’ll still get an easy 500km between charges. That’s truly exceptional. In that traditional Mercedes sense, it’s also fuss-free and truly relaxing to drive, although we have some quibbles with the cabin quality and the space in the back and boot. You can fix those last two issues by going for the big and bulky EQE SUV, which is still good to drive and long-ranged, but we’re always more convinced by saloons.

Price from €85,295

3. Hyundai Ioniq 6

Can a humble Hyundai truly compete at the executive car level? Well, the Ioniq 6 can as far as we’re concerned. The incredibly sleek styling is almost a throwback to streamlined cars (and trains, and planes) of the 1930s, and there are even hints of classic Porsches about the look of the rear. It’s a Marmite car in styling terms, but we’re firmly in the “love it” category, and you will be too if you drive one. The cabin is roomy, quiet, and beautifully built and that sleek style pays large dividends on long journeys. The big-battery version of the Ioniq 6 can put 614km between charges, and that’s not an unrealistic figure. Okay, so it’s on the pricey side for a car with a Hyundai badge, but then you can flip that the other way around – in terms of capability, comfort, and technology it’s a Merc EQE for half the price.

Price from €45,395

4. Tesla Model 3

There is no conversation about electric cars that doesn’t turn, very quickly, to Tesla and it’s not hard to see why. While Elon Musk has been off taking a wrecking ball to Twitter’s finances, Tesla has been quietly racking up the sales to the point where the Model Y SUV (identical under the skin to this Model 3 saloon) is topping the sales charts around the world. Not just the electric car sales charts, either. The Model 3 is a nicer car than the Model Y, though, with better-sorted suspension, better handling and steering, and the ability to go slightly further on one charge. In fact, thanks to recent upgrades, even the most basic rear-wheel drive Model 3 can get past the 500km barrier on one charge. The four-wheel drive Long Range model is rated at 629km ... The best thing to do is order now for delivery in February, to make sure you get the version with the latest updates and upgrades. Either way, you’re still paying something of a bargain price.

Price from €42,990

5. BYD Seal

Did someone say bargain price? BYD – which is going have to start coming up with another slogan to replace the “biggest car company you’ve never heard of” catchphrase – has already scored a solid success in the Irish market with the pleasant, inoffensive Atto 3 electric crossover. The Seal saloon, though, is at another level entirely. Think of a Tesla Model 3 crossed with a Porsche Taycan and you’re getting there. The two-motor version has Porsche-like performance too (0-100km/h in 3.8 secs) but most buyers will likely be swayed by the standard rear-wheel drive model’s one-two combo of 570km range and a Tesla-beating price tag. You may have certain feelings about how Chinese car makers are aggressively targeting European buyers. The Seal is good enough to make you forget those feelings.

Price from €40,567

6. Audi Q4 e-Tron

Okay, so everyone wants an SUV. We get it. Well, this Audi is about as good an electric crossover as you’ll find with a premium badge. In fact, it’s a much better car than its significantly more expensive electric brother, the Q8 e-Tron. The secret is range – get the more aerodynamically slippery Q4 e-Tron Sportback and you’ve got a potential, and realistic, range of 519km compared with the 410km best that we were able to get out of the bigger, heavier Q8. The Q4 is also nice to drive, and pretty much as roomy inside as its more expensive brother. It really does kind of make you wonder why Audi bothers making the pricier model.

Price from €58,900

7. Volvo V60

The V60 isn’t a fully electric car, which means that you’ll not get the full BIK benefits. But it is a plug-in hybrid, and one that has teeny-tiny CO2 emissions of just 17g/km, so you’ll still end up with a pretty trim tax bill at the end of the year. It’s also an increasingly rare thing – a really good estate car. In fact, you can’t even buy one of these in the UK any more, but in Ireland, thankfully, it’s staying on the price lists. The V60 Recharge combines that minuscule CO2 figure with a potential 91km electric range on a full charge of its battery. Which means that if you’re an average commuter, this is a car which would be effectively a full EV for almost all of your journeys, but one with a petrol engine and a fuel tank for those occasional, but pressing, longer drives where you don’t want to be hassling yourself with charging stops. It’s packing a very impressive 455hp too, so this is no slow-coach estate. Oh, and it’s got a big, useful boot. Seriously – you don’t need an SUV. You need a low-slung, efficient, practical, and in this specific case devastatingly handsome, Volvo estate. Buy one while there’s still a chance.

Price from €66,500