It’s less usual to find one in the middle of a farmer’s field in rural France, covered in dust and loaded to the gunwales with camping equipment (see right).
But that’s what happened to our S-class last month when it was called into action for a trip down to Le Mans for the 24-hour race and the stag weekend of our deputy editor Steve Moody.
The S-class swallowed five adults and all their essentials for the four-day trip, and delivered them to Le Mans in utter comfort – exactly the kind of long-distance trip for which the big Mercedes-Benz was designed.
The only real surprise was that no-one decided that sleeping in the car would have been more comfortable than slumming it in a tent on a rock-hard field.
Devouring big distances in the S-class is really so simple: brim the tank with diesel, programme in the destination on the sat-nav and select drive on the gearbox.
And thanks to being a diesel it can go an awful long way on a tank of fuel. Editor John Maslen has been driving the car since it arrived and he’s managing to eke 38mpg out of the car – hugely impressive for such a big, heavy beast.
But the satellite navigation has been playing up a little. It was faultless on the trip to and from Le Mans, but our editor has taken a dislike to the system as it has got his route wrong on three occasions.
Other than that, we’re having a problem with the nearside wing mirror, and have also been told the car is the subject of a recall. We’ll let you know more in the next report.
Model: Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI
Price (OTR): £51,632 (£55,432 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 209
Company car tax bill (2005/6) 40% tax-payer: £482 per month Insurance group: 16E
Combined mpg: 36.7
Test mpg: 34.5
CAP Monitor residual value: £18,000/35%
HSBC contract hire rate: £970
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles