For this budget you can have six-cylinder versions of the BMW 3 and 5 Series - not to mention Audi's A6 and Mercedes' E-Class - but our money would still go on the Jaguar.
The XF appeals to the heart thanks to its stunning handling and sleek styling, but also to the head, because there have been no compromises on practicality, refinement or comfort, and running costs are reasonable.
Since last year's awards, the XF's 2.2-litre diesel engine has undergone an upgrade, but our favourite model remains the strong and silky-smooth 237bhp 3.0 diesel.
We'd also stick with the cheapest trim, Luxury, because even this gives you powered leather seats, an automatic gearbox and sat-nav.
It's only in the cabin where the XF looks its age, with the feeling of quality falling well short of that of newer German rivals. Still, there's no denying the drama that comes from thumbing the starter button and watching as the vents open and the gear selector rises slowly from the centre console.