What is it?
This is the facelifted version of the sixth generation of Mercedes-Benz S-Class, seen here in the UK for the first time.
Most notable is the replacement of the V8 petrol engine in the old S500 and the V6 diesel in the S350 with a new 2.9-litre straight-six engine, producing 282bhp in diesel form (up by 28bhp) and 429bhp with petrol in the combustion chambers (down 20bhp).
The petrol car actually produces the same performance stats as its predecessor but improves claimed fuel consumption from 31.7mpg to 40.9mpg, with a commensurate fall in CO2 and therefore company car tax, so you can see why Mercedes did it.
The diesel tested here orders its priorities slightly differently, providing a slight fuel consumption improvement from 50.4mpg to 52.3mpg but knocking 0.8sec off the 0-62mph time, which is now reached in six seconds flat.
For a 2.9-litre diesel in a two-tonne limo, that’s ridiculous, although not as ridiculous as the 335bhp version that goes on sale next summer. That one, albeit with the aid of four-wheel drive, knocks that figure to 5.2sec. When I started in this business, the only Ferrari on sale that could beat that figure was an F40.