combined average fuel economy figure of just over 50 mpg and its CO2 output is 148 g/km...
Mercedes-Benz is the oldest name in the car business, with a lineage dating back to 1886. It is very well known for its upper-crust, beautifully engineered cars wearing one of the most instantly recognisable brand badges in the world: the three-pointed star. At the pinnacle of the Mercedes saloon range is the S-Class, an opulent limousine of a car.
This is Mercedes’ flagship model, now in its sixth generation. Traditionally this is the car in which the German manufacturer pioneers its latest technology features, which will later percolate down the range into other, less extravagantly priced models.
The S is designed to be both excellent to drive and cosseting to ride in, intended for owners who may either want to drive it or be wafted around in it by a chauffeur. Managing both those expectations is a tall order, but it is one that the car rises to pretty convincingly.
The S-Class range starts with the S350 BlueTEC SE Line, with a standard-length wheelbase, at £62,905, and rises to the top model S65 AMG L 30, with a long wheelbase and a six-litre engine, at a whopping £179,985. The range includes diesel-electric hybrid models starting from £72,260. A plug-in hybrid model is also on the way.
The diesel-engined S350 is the best-seller of the range, with very adequate performance but a little less lavishly priced than its bigger-engined stablemates. This is the model we tested.
All versions of the S-Class are very strong performers, with some of the top models delivering pace and acceleration in the supercar league. This S350 diesel is certainly no slouch, it has a top speed of 155 mph and a 0-62 mph acceleration time of sub-seven seconds.
The engine is a three-litre V6, 24-valve turbodiesel with stop-start and selective catalyst reduction to aid economy and emissions. The power output is 255 bhp, peaking at 3,600 rpm. The engine is very torquey with an impressive 457 lb ft sustained over a wide rev band from 1,600 to 2,400 rpm. The engine certainly feels powerful and has exceptional mid-range thrust for rapid overtaking manoeuvres.
The car has a combined average fuel economy figure of just over 50 mpg and its CO2 output is 148 g/km, putting it in band F for road tax. The engine is rated at the current benchmark Euro 6 for emissions compliance.