What Car? Awards Two Top Trophies To Mercedes Benz Diesels | Part Two

Using an advanced array of sensors, the S-Class detects when the limits of even its "safety net" ESP and Brake Assist systems are breached. Then, the front seat belts are pre-tensioned, the passenger's seat moves to an optimum protective position, and the sunroof closes to stop things coming into, or passengers leaving, the cabin. It's an example of the attention to detail that has kept the S-Class at the top of the luxury car tree despite an influx of newer competition.

Another car that caught the eye of What Car?'s judges was the new E-Class Saloon. They awarded the prestigious Best Executive Car Award to the E 270 CDI - the first time a diesel car has ever won this sector, mirroring the success of its larger stablemate.

Packed with innovative features such as Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC™) which uses state-of-the-art electronics to brake in place of just mechanical couplings, the E-Class Saloon is a radical car in a traditionally conservative sector. Whilst its elegant lines reflect the heritage of the world's most successful executive car, under the body lies one of the most highly-developed motor cars yet launched.

Safety, comfort, refinement, performance and quality were all key targets when Mercedes Benz was developing the car, and What Car? agrees that the hard work has paid off.

Rob Aherne explained: "The E-Class's trump card is its refinement. This is a car that's both light and easy to manoeuvre in the office car park and cosseting after hundreds of miles on the motorway."

"The Mercedes' build quality is typically excellent and nowhere is the Benz DNA more apparent than in the cabin. The dashboard's swooping curves and banks of flush switches are both contemporary and functional, while front and rear passengers will have no trouble getting comfortable in the shapely seats. They'll be well insulated against any external noise, too."

"For cosseting on the move, nothing beats its combination of ride, handling and cabin ambience."

Diesel technology has been important to Mercedes Benz ever since the company introduced the world to the first-ever "oil-burning" passenger car - the 260 D - in 1936. Since then, things have moved on somewhat, and today's CDI models are among the most efficient, clean, and refined engines on the road. Precise fuel injection and clean combustion technology have put paid to the oil-burning nickname.

Published 17 January 2003 Melanie Carter

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