Like the struggle for business success, the battle for sales supremacy in the company car sector is fierce. In an effort to make it to the top of the office hierarchy, Audi has revealed a line-up of clean and efficient Ultra models that promises to appeal to the heart, and head, of company car buyers.

Despite their frugal running costs, these executive cars aim to deliver uncompromised refinement, performance and equipment. Powered by an upgraded 187bhp version of Audi’s established 2.0-litre TDI diesel, the A6 Ultra emits just 114g/km in SE, S line and Black Edition trims.

• Audi A6 Ultra review

• Lexus GS review

However, for really low company car tax bills, the petrol-electric hybrid Lexus GS 300h tops the lot. But is the latest generation of clean Audi diesel a better choice than Lexus’ new entry-level large executive hybrid? Or is the GS a better all-rounder?

Click the links above to read each review, then read on for our verdict.

Head-to-head

Motorway

Cars like these need to soothe away the miles on a long trip, and both are superb on the motorway.

The Audi only pulls 1,500rpm at 70mph and is very quiet, yet there’s enough flexibility in the engine to pick up speed without changing down. There’s even less wind noise in the Lexus and the CVT gearbox is at its best with a constant throttle – as this stops it sending the revs racing. You’d happily do a long journey in either of these.

Engines

The Lexus engine is smooth for a four-cylinder and the switch from EV running to petrol is seamless.

However, the Audi’s 2.0-litre diesel is refined and benefits from stop-start. It meets the upcoming Euro VI emissions standards and CO2 output is 114g/km regardless of wheel size or trim level.

Driving modes

Audi’s Drive Select system allows you to switch between Efficiency, Comfort and Dynamic modes or you can select your favourite steering, throttle and gearbox settings in Individual. The Lexus has Eco, Normal and Sport modes.

Verdict

1st place: Audi A6 Ultra

The clean, new Ultra has revitalised the A6. The 2.0-litre TDI is more powerful, yet now delivers class-leading emissions. Refined, good to drive, comfortable and classy, the Ultra makes financial sense for company buyers, and it demands no compromises in return for its efficiency.

2nd place: Lexus GS 300h

Lexus is committed to a hybrid future and the new GS 300h is a better fit for UK company car drivers than the expensive GS 450h. But while tax bills are small, a dated cabin, frustrating CVT gearbox and vague handling mean it can’t match the Ultra’s all-round appeal.

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