These are the cars that we all desire – the tightly-styled, sporting but still practical saloons and estates (usually, but not exclusively German) that trigger pangs of jealousy in others. Nothing cheap here, but some surprisingly good value all the same...
1 - Audi A4
Yes, it does look pretty much exactly like every other A4 ever made, but the current Audi four-door is smooth and soothing to drive, solidly made and practical and useful in Avant estate form.
2 - Mercedes C-Class
Is this Mercedes' handsomest car? Probably, yes, and it does a good enough impression of a shrunken E-Class to make you doubt the need to upgrade. Diesel engines a bit grumbly, but the cabin is gorgeous. All subtly enhanced by a 2018 facelift.
3 - BMW 3 Series
Once the king of this segment, BMW's evergreen 3 has fallen back a touch from the competition, but it's still a terrific car with the best handling here and a deeply ingrained sense of quality. A brand new one arrives in 2018, and don’t bet against it regaining its crown.
4 - Audi A5 Sportback
Take an A4, make it (slightly) less practical, but also (slightly) more beautiful, give it (fractionally) sharper handling and watch the profits roll in.
5 - Alfa Romeo Giulia
It's not perfect, and Alfa's new saloon isn't good enough to beat the A4 or 3 Series, but it's good enough to stand the comparison and that's huge. Cracking rear-drive chassis and busting with character.