You might have thought picking the winner in this segment was an easy task because there’s an M5 in the mix. Well, it won but it sure was pushed all the way by a brilliant Alfa and an awesome Merc.

Starting with the Giulia QV (which came at a time when the legendary brand had lost its way and was neglecting its sporting values that made it what it is — it’s been over two decades since it had a rear-wheel drive saloon in the lineup...) the Alfa is as close as you’ll get to a four-door Ferrari. It isn’t just ever so fast, it is remarkably agile, and blessed with fabulous looks too.

The new E 63 represent the biggest step forward Mercedes has ever taken from one generation to the next. Vehicle dynamics were clearly especially important and at the start of the development process, they opted for a fully variable all-wheel drive system combined with a 4.0-litre V8 biturbo. This was a great move as it helped reaffirm the brand’s “Driving Performance” claim — however, as good as both these cars are, the BMW is still better.

Among the many race-y flourishes on the M5 the best have to be the two red M1 and M2 buttons on the steering and with a mere push you can change the setup of the suspension, steering and drivetrain. The blacked-out 20in wheels, quad exhaust tips (with a loud mode) bare carbon-fibre roof and a subtle spoiler on the boot lid look great and overall this is a practical family saloon that can rip a hole in spacetime.

Not many cars can make a mundane trip to the grocery store feel like a roller-coaster ride. This is one brilliantly bad Bavarian.