What Car? Awards 2012 website
S350 CDI Bluetec
List price £58,440 Target Price £54,702
The Mercedes S-Class wins again. It’s a result that was never really in any doubt. This car provides a fabulous way to travel, whether you’re driving yourself, or taking it easy in the rear while the chauffeur does his job.
The air suspension constantly monitors the road surface and your driving style to give you the best blend of ride quality and handling, while the car’s body movement is kept well in check. If you prefer to get behind the wheel, you’ll enjoy steering that’s accurate and offers plenty of feedback, while the brakes are sturdy and smooth.
The 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine gives the car enough performance to keep you interested, but is never anything more than a background companion. It’ll do 41.5mpg, which is bound to keep the firm’s accountant happy – and your bank balance healthy, if you’re paying the bills – while the CO2 output of 177g/km puts the Mercedes in the very respectable 27% band for company car tax.
You won’t exactly be scowling if you choose an S-Class, either.
The interior is a comfortable, sumptuous place to be. There’s very little wind noise to disturb your reverie, while road noise is impressively muted.
No matter which of the five available leather-covered seats you choose to sit in, you’ll have plenty of space to sprawl, and there’s even a 560-litre boot, so there’s no shortage of luggage space for business trips or holidays.
The standard specification is lavish, including cruise and climate controls, satellite-navigation and a top-notch audio system, with many of these being operated through a single rotary dial between the front seats. However, the system isn’t the most intuitive.
If you feel the need to spend more, there’s a vast array of high-tech options, including radar-guided cruise control and even infra-red headlights to boost night-time vision. If you want more space, there’s also a model with a longer wheelbase, but that’ll cost you an extra £4215. You don’t really need the extra legroom, in our view – there’s more than enough in the standard car.
Given everything the big Merc has in its arsenal, the £58,440 list price actually makes it seem something of a bargain.