Cars that have their reputations built around performance can turn out to be a bit of a compromise when there’s a long journey to be made.
Seats can be a little too firm, suspension a little too harsh, steering a little too direct, the noise too intrusive, and as for changing gear… who needs it?
So here I am, someone who tries to behave a lot younger than his 46 years, relatively successful and, dare I say it, comfortably-off.
And I think Mercedes-Benz might have created the ideal car for me. Because the C-Class Sport, with its AMG wheels and body-styling, feels just right.
And now it has to go back and I’m not as comfortably-off anymore. It was just how the car was making me feel.
It isn’t the fastest diesel saloon I’ve driven this year, but it is fast enough (the carbon copy of my Christmas speeding ticket is on the office wall).
It isn’t the slickest automatic gearbox I’ve used, but with the wheel-mounted paddle shift, it’s as slick as me.
The steering is beautifully-weighted and although I would never describe the C-Class as being light on its feet, it’s agile enough.
Does it excel at anything?
Yes, it does – it has sheer class.
The amazing front seats, controlled via diagramatic buttons on the doors, can provide a position to suit any shape and size – with a programmable memory setting to facilitate driver swapping.
It no longer matters that my wife is short and I’m fat.
Not for most things, anyway, and sharing the Mercedes-Benz is one of them.
The seat position memory is essential when you have the most desirable car on the test fleet, too.
Other members of staff come up with spurious reasons for wanting to borrow it.
“Oh, I need a car with sat-nav,” said one.
“Oh, I need a bigger boot this weekend,” said another.
“Oh, I’ve told a new girlfriend I’m a venture capitalist… ”
Actually, I made that last one up.
So, when it comes back to me, usually dirty and with a lot less fuel in the tank, all I have to do is press button ‘1’ on the seat and it’s like coming home again.
Over the last few months I’ve praised just about everything and criticised almost nothing about this C-Class Sport.
If you really do value pure driver appeal, you might be tempted to get a BMW 3 Series and Efficient-Dynamics could save you some money and a very small bit of the planet.
But if you value other things in life: real comfort, a quality sound system, an environment to savour, somewhere to think and, yes, I’ve already said it, sheer class, you must look long and hard at the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.