Corporate cachet: Top five cars of the company ladder

The company car. It’s a very British concept, and still a hugely popular one. Around half of all new cars in the UK end up in fleets. In fact, a recent study by Skoda also confirmed that a company car is still one of the most sought-after job perks.

Top left clockwise: Audi A3 saloon, Mercedes C-Class, BMW 6 Series, Bentley Continental GT.

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It can be more than a means of transport though. For some, it represents your success and how far you’ve climbed up the corporate ladder. Rightly or wrongly, the company car park is a place you are often judged.

So, who drives what? We had a look at five cars commonly sighted in the corporate car park and considered who you might find behind the wheel…

Ford Fiesta: The graduate schemer

The Ford Fiesta is a great company car, as demonstrated by its popularity in salary sacrifice schemes.

Ford Fiesta lease deals here: business / personal

Ok, it’s not the flashiest set of wheels, but everyone has to start somewhere. It’d be wrong of us to discount the humble Ford Fiesta, which is not only the UK’s best-selling car, but also the most popular salary sacrifice vehicle too.

Its ceaseless popularity should come as no surprise. As fun to drive as it is practical, from the fuel-sipping Ecoboost to the hot hatch ST, there is really something in the Fiesta’s line-up for everyone. The sheer volume of Fiestas on UK roads mean it’s probably the closest thing we have to a classless car too, so don’t fret about your work wheels missing out on a German badge. It’ll blend in just fine…

Audi A3: The junior executive

The Audi A3 is one of the more attainable premium cars on the market.

Audi A3 lease deals here: business / personal

Only a hatchback it may be, but the Audi A3 is still one of the classiest small cars available and, for executive upstarts, it’s one of the first premium company cars that will come within reach. There’s no doubt that the four-ringed badge brings with it prestige that more mainstream brands just can’t muster.

It’s not just the badge that makes a hatchback premium however, and the A3 doesn’t disappoint. Its cabin is a supremely comfortable place to be and is uses only the plushest of materials. The range of efficient punchy petrols and diesels make it a breeze to use if you do high miles too – it’s certainly a step up from the supermini-sized Ford.

Mercedes C-Class: The middle manager

Does the Mercedes C-Class epitomise the company car? We think so...

Mercedes C-Class lease deals here: business / personal

Sitting slap bang in the middle of this line-up we find the stylish and sophisticated Mercedes C-Class. We’d go as far as saying this is the ultimate business lease car. In fact, we did. But what makes it such a contender for a spot in the company car park?

Well, aside from the fact it befits the stature of your management title, it’s actually a more reasonably priced prospect than you might expect. For what looks and feels like a miniature S-Class, attractive personal and business lease prices make it one of more affordable executive saloons. Its handsome looks and supreme comfort really do bely its affordability.

BMW 6 Series: The consultant

Available in two or four-door form, the BMW 6 Series ticks both the practical and efficiency boxes, but remains a highly desirable luxury car.

BMW 6 Series lease deals here: business / personal

So, you’ve had a C-Class. It was a lovely car, but you’re a consultant now. You want something that eats up motorway miles with ease, on the way to your increasingly frequent meetings. What better than BMW’s 6 Series? It’s got sporting aspirations the Mercedes did not, but it’s more refined too.

The 640d in M Sport trim is really all you’ll ever need from a car. Its 313bhp gets it to 62mph from rest in 5.3 seconds, but you can still expect to return between 40 and 50mpg. Park up in this, and people will be in no doubt that you’re doing well. What’s more, if you really do need to keep the practicality of a saloon, there’s a four-door version too.

Bentley Continental GT: The managing director

The Bentley Continental GT; whether it's the V8 or W16, it will always be King of the corporate car park.

Bentley Continental lease deals here: business / personal

When you’ve finally made it to the top and you’ve nothing left to prove, what’s the car for you? We think there’s only one car up to the job, and a quick look around a business park confirms we’re correct – it’s the Bentley Continental GT.

Whether you opt for the 6.0-litre V12 or the 4.0-litre V8, the Continental is the ultimate blend of power and luxury. This car isn’t just one step above the 6 Series, but several, and until its replacement appears in 2018, we reckon it’ll remain king of the corporate car park.

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