Luxury car winner

  • 17 categories of awards
  • All the winning models featured here
  • What Car? Car of the Year 2011 revealed
Words ByWhat Car? Staff

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What Car? Awards 2012 website

The winner
Mercedes-Benz S-Class
S350 CDI Bluetec
List price 58,440 Target Price 54,702

The Mercedes S-Class wins again. Its a result that was never really in any doubt. This car provides a fabulous way to travel, whether youre 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 cars body movement is kept well in check. If you prefer to get behind the wheel, youll enjoy steering thats 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. Itll do 41.5mpg, which is bound to keep the firms accountant happy and your bank balance healthy, if youre paying the bills while the CO2 output of 177g/km puts the Mercedes in the very respectable 27% band for company car tax.
You wont exactly be scowling if you choose an S-Class, either.

The interior is a comfortable, sumptuous place to be. Theres 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, youll have plenty of space to sprawl, and theres even a 560-litre boot, so theres 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 isnt the most intuitive.

If you feel the need to spend more, theres 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, theres also a model with a longer wheelbase, but thatll cost you an extra 4215. You dont really need the extra legroom, in our view theres 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.