A 320-mile round trip in a day isn£€™t something to look forward to or enjoy unless you are driving something like the latest Mercedes-Benz E-Class saloon which brings first-class comfort to long distance travel.
Mercedes styling in the past has varied from ho-hum to they must be kidding but the new E-Class hits the sweet spot by not shouting too much but still attracting an appreciating eye.
Optionally rear lights are like stardust, the Milky Way or the glow of a jet engine. Bet you didn£€™t know you needed that? The interior is fabulous at any price. Open-pore woods with a yachting look and an unusual metal £€˜fabric£€™ make it interesting.
LEDs provide ambient lighting in 64 colours and even the armrests are heated. The rear seat has optional 40/20/40 split. The centre armrest has a stowage box and two drinks holders. There is an optional tablet PC hold for rear passengers.
Even friends with scarily expensive cars were impressed by the seats and cabin which raises its game with the design of the 13 speaker Burmester sound system which backs up its looks with its nine-channel 590-watt amplifier.
By today£€™s price standards, even with extras pushing the price to £51,130 the E220d in sporty AMG line specification seemed good value. At £38,430 without them it looks a positive steal, so decide what you need and want but also consider what the next owner might like to help the car£€™s resale value when you move on.
Air suspension (£1,495) lets you choose between a limousine ride or sportier ones via four preset modes, while the 12.3in dashboard screen (£495) allows amazingly detailed 3D navigation maps with Toy Town like buildings and other functions.
Sensibly, the screen is worked via a touchpad, which can recognise handwriting, and controls under your left hand rather than having to prod the screen which can be dangerously distracting.
Touch controls on the steering wheel spokes respond to swiping movements, so you can work infotainment system without having to take their hands off the steering wheel.
What I really hated though was the variable assistance steering and even after a week I was never sure exactly how much turning I was going to get, resulting in cornering lines resembling the edges of a 50p piece.
This is part of the driving assistance (ahem) plus package (£1,695) which not only wants to keep you in between lane markings but will start to brake or even swerve the car if the systems think you haven£€™t seen something.
Whether one day these systems will decide to hit one person rather than a bus queue remains to be seen but there were times when I felt I was having to £€˜fight£€™ to impose my will on the car.
At our low motorway speeds compared to Germany the E-Class is wonderfully quiet with the engine barely turning over thanks to a blissfully smooth changing nine-speed automatic transmission.
The new 2-litre engine produces 191bhp and a more important 295 lbs ft of torque so it will sprint to 62mph in a brisk enough 7.3 seconds and given the space could wind up to 150mph.
It£€™s a very efficient engine that delivers 72mpg on the official tests and in day to day use returned 48.7mpg to 53.4mpg even though I was always £€˜against the clock.£€™
With a 14.5-gallon fuel tank there£€™s a range of at least 730 miles. Helping cope with the noxious effects of diesel is a 23-litre tank of AdBlue. The car was even fitted with a fold-away tow bar (£695) but I wouldn£€™t have taken Nick£€™s trailer to the tip even so.
Also consider Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Jaguar XF.
Verdict Super cosseting luxury travel