From £60,595
Fine car, but this entry-level petrol version could do with more torque.

Our Verdict

The S-class is a benchmark in comfort and equipment. XJ is better to drive though

The Mercedes S-Class is a fine luxury car and a technological masterstroke. It is calm but rewarding

12 January 2006

What’s new?

All of it. Mercedes’ long-awaited flagship finally arrives on UK roads.

As you’d expect, this car a technological feast even though this model is not a range-topper. A seven-speed auto, Airmatic suspension, Pre-Safe ‘intelligent, anticipatory’ safety system and a very comprehensive dashboard infotainment set-up are all standard.

What’s it like?

The initial overwhelming sensation is one of immense rigidity and solidity. The new S-class feels like it has been milled from a solid steel ingot. Perhaps this is also the reason that the 3.5-litre motor needs a fair amount of stoking to get the car to really shift.

Still, that might improve with a few more thousand miles under the wheels. On very fast, sweeping bends it hangs on with a remarkable combination of calm and grip.

On the motorway is also very quiet indeed, although our example had the optional noise-insulating glass. On broken roads it rides very well, although deep dips can have the whole body tilting in sympathy.

Should I buy one?

Aesthetic questions hang over the S-Class for some. Personally I didn’t like the dash styling or the odd ‘rocker’ switchgear. Overall, with a bit more torque, the S-class will make a superb long-distance runner.

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