We help choose the ideal car for your needs and your budget: this time, a left-field six-cylinder sedan...

Age: 55
Budget: R300 000
Status: Business manager
Vehicle type: left-field six-cylinder sedan

Requirements:

The vehicle must have enough space for a family, look the part in the executive car park and have the performance and handling the ubiquitous SUV can’t offer.

The vehicle:

Looking for something a little more affordable than the usual German trio, this exec wants the sound, feel and smooth torque flow of a six-cylinder, without breaking the bank.

Our choice: Volkswagen CC 3,6 V6 4Motion DSG

0 to 100 km/h: 5,5 seconds
Top speed: 250 km/h  
Power: 220 kW
Torque: 350 N.m  
CO2: 215 g/km  
CAR fuel index: 11,2 L/100 km

Volkswagen CC

This exotic-looking sedan, with a name that can be confusing (coupé/cabriolet?), is a four/five-seater with just about everything the executive could desire, including a 3,6-litre, naturally aspirated V6, six-speed auto ‘box and four-wheel drive (or 4Motion, as VW calls it).

Styling-wise, the CC (which has since been replaced by the Arteon) is sleek and elegant; it’s longer, wider and sits lower than the Passat, and has respectable space in the rear. Another neat cue made popular by the American cars of the 1960s is frameless doors.

Earlier models were tailored to seat four, but a facelift in 2012 saw refreshed styling and seating upped to five. The rear backrests fold down for extra utility space and one option offered was a towbar that could be swung out when required.

The fuel consumption index of just north of 11,0 L/100 km is not bad for a car that accelerates to 100 km/h in a claimed 5,5 seconds. This is the best of the three here, helped by the grippy four-wheel-drive system that uses an electro-hydraulic clutch to send more torque to the rear as needed.

As VW diesel engines are so economical (and remember that Dieselgate issues do not apply to VWs in our market), most buyers opted for TDI models. In other words, there aren’t many petrols around and that means you may have to put out some feelers to find a V6. The CC was sold new with a five-year maintenance plan, so a 2013 model will soon be coming to the end of inclusive upkeep.

Space: 5 seats, 392/1 016 L
Safety and aids: 6 airbags, stability control
Cost of 4 tyres: R10 000
Road test: November 2009 (2,0 TDI DSG)

Volvo S60 T6 AWD Geartronic

0 to 100 km/h: 5,7 seconds
Top speed: 250 km/h  
Power: 242 kW
Torque: 480 N.m  
CO2: 231 g/km  
CAR fuel index: 11,9 L/100 km

Volvo S60

Volvos have always offered something a bit different to the norm, with a touch of Scandinavian appeal and minimalistic design flair. Another hallmark of the brand is its innovative safety features and the S60 sedan offers most of them as standard, including BLIS (blind-spot information system), active high beam, cornering lights, pedestrian and cyclist detection technology, and auto-dimming exterior mirrors.

The top-of-the-line model employs a T6 engine that, unusually, is a straight-six mounted transversely instead of the more common longitudinal arrangement. This unit was an evolution of the modular engine family that started with four- and five-cylinder units. Known as the Si6, meaning “short inline-six”, it was dropped from the range in 2016 and replaced with a turbo- and supercharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing somewhat less power but with lower fuel consumption. The Si6 also featured a low-pressure turbo.

Volvo seating has always been comfy and this is especially true for the larger cars such as the S60 and S80. The six-speed automatic transmission is a pleasure to use and paddle shifters are provided for a sporty touch.

It is surprising how closely these three cars are matched, from acceleration to fuel economy. As is the case with the VW CC, most purchasers went for the diesel engine models, so finding a six might not be easy. For some added interior space, there is also the V60 station wagon.

Space: 4/5 seats, 320/920 L
Safety and aids: 6 airbags, stability control
Cost of 4 tyres: R9 800
Road test: April 2011 (2,0T)

Lexus GS350 EX

0 to 100 km/h: 6,0 seconds
Top speed: 232 km/h  
Power: 233 kW
Torque: 378 N.m  
CO2: 232 g/km  
CAR fuel index: 12,0 L/100 km

Lexus GS

The styling of this GS range was rather controversial in its day, especially the frontal treatment. Now, however, its impact has softened and it looks rather understated.

That continues inside, too. While the brand is owned by Toyota, on the left-field GS a lot of the usual low-budget accessories often shared with Toyota products were replaced with classier versions. One example is the analogue clock sitting just beneath the display screen.

It’s not all good news, though. As a CAR reader, you’ll know we’ve never been a fan of Lexus’ mouse-style infotainment controller. It’s nowhere near as intuitive and easy to use as its competitors’.

The engine is a creamy 3,5-litre V6. Mounted longitudinally to suit the rear-wheel-drive layout means that it is much easier to service than is the case with a transverse V6. Not that you should have to do much, mind, as Lexus quality is stellar.

This is a rear-wheel-drive sedan, a layout that impinges on interior space, but makes for a satisfying drive and less wheelspin when you have all that power at hand. Not that there is a shortage of rear legroom, however. The GS offers a full 735 mm to accommodate long legs and the boot is large, at 350 litres, but there are no folding rear-seat backrests.

When buying a new GS, buyers did not have to choose from a long list of options that added a small fortune to the ticket. It all came as standard and this means your used car will be generously outfitted.

Space: 4/5 seats, 200/760 L
Safety and aids: 10 airbags, stability control
Cost of 4 tyres: R13 064
Road test: May 2016 (GS300)