Mercedes Benz has kicked off 2003 in style, and already its trophy cabinet is full of new honours – earlier this week the company was presented with three Fleet Excellence Awards.
The E-Class Saloon was lauded as New User-Chooser Car of the Year, while readers of Fleet Week and Fleet Management magazines voted E-Class Executive Car of the Year, and S-Class as Luxury Car of the Year.
Tristan Young, Fleet Week's Editor, said: "The Mercedes E-Class is a breathtakingly good car in a class where being very good is just the minimum requirement. Alongside a brilliant diesel engine range, the all-new E-Class bristles with hi-technology. Adaptive airbags that weigh the passenger so that in the event of an accident they can deploy in the safest way is just one example, as are the seats that literally hug your back to grip and hold occupants in place on tight corners. As a result of such features the E-Class was recently awarded a top five-star Euro NCAP rating."
Launched in the summer of 2002, the new E-Class Saloon range adds value-for-money, engineering excellence and style to its list of attributes. According to the magazines' readers, new benefit in kind taxation rules have seen an increase in the user-chooser market, and carbon dioxide emissions are now more important in determining car choice than ever.
Tristan Young continued: "Mercedes has been helped on this front because it offers a good range of engines and in particular a good range of diesel engines. The result is that a perk driver could see a drop from a maximum weighting of 35 per cent tax liability to as low as 21 per cent. This means on a 2.2-litre diesel E-Class the tax bill this year would be some £1500 less than last year."
Nick Ratcliffe, DaimlerChrysler's Head of Corporate Sales commented: "We're delighted that the readers – all fleet operators – have voted our cars as the best in the business. The appeal of the S-Class is enduring, and it is heartening to know that in a sector festooned with newer models, our luxury champion is still leagues ahead. The immediate success of the new E-Class is also great, as it brings home the message that with Mercedes Benz, cost-effective business motoring is easily attainable."
In addition to the new E-Class Saloon, the S-Class was revised last year with added style, new engines, and world-first safety features. Top amongst these is Pre-Safe, the new accident prediction system. Using an array of sensors, the car detects when the limits of its Electronic Stability Program and Brake Assist are breached, and pre-tensions the front seatbelts as well as moving the passenger seats and sunroof into positions which offer greater occupant protection.
The three Fleet Excellence Awards add to the two What Car? Awards already won by the E-Class and S-Class in 2003.Published 22 January 2003