EXECUTIVE expresses usually have an excellent reputation for reliability and the Mercedes S-Class is not least among them.
But cars that were originally so expensive are not for the faint hearted. They are thirsty, expensive to insure and expensive to fix.
However, few cars are more superbly comfortable and capable than the S-Class, which put it at the top of the luxury car list for years.
If this is your kind of car, you'll get marvellous comfort, excellent handling and surprisingly good road holding.
Since 2006 there is a wide range of engines. Petrols go from a 3.0-litre with 227bhp to a twin turbo AMG 6.0-litre with 603bhp. Diesels are all 3.0-litres with power from 227 to 254bhp.
All have an automatic gearbox and high specification as standard. Refinement is marvellous and, even with the smaller engines, performance is more than enough for most people.
But never buy without full service history. You need to know it has all been done so that high mileage is not usually a problem.
Most will have leather, electric seats, climate and many other luxuries. All are very safe and have loads of electronic wizardry to keep you on the straight and narrow.
The inside is not as special as a Jaguar, often rather sombre and dark, or occasionally with a very odd, almost orange leather.
Price: Pay around £15,400 for an ’06 06-reg, or £25,800 for an ’09 09-reg
Mechanical: 227bhp, 2,987cc, 6cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox
Max speed: 148mph
0-62mph: 7.7 seconds
Combined mpg: 33
Insurance group: 16
CO2 emissions: 223g/km
Main rival: Audi A8
Motors.co.uk value verdict: