AWARDS can mean all or nothing to a car maker.

Winning a prestigious gong – as opposed to being praised by some blogger with a laptop - will be cherished and promoted. So my eyebrows were raised when the same car won not only the top honour at the UK Car of the Year Awards but also best new car in the Fleet World Honours. Both sets of judges also named it their best executive car, too.

We are talking about the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, posh stalwart of the business community and with levels of luxury and technology to make you purr.

The 2017 version of this Merc uber-cruiser certainly exudes quality with its attention to detail and level of refinement and style.

Showcasing a host of innovative technologies, this is undoubtedly one of the most advanced cars in its segment, wrapped in a very desirable package.

I tried out the estate version – certain to be on the shopping list of anyone with big load-carrying needs and who is looking for a sublime motoring experience.

With a techno-fest at your fingertips and the trusted 220d creamy diesel engine to carry you along quietly, quickly and in comfort, the E-Class soon seduces both driver and passenger with its star quality.

There’s a choice of driving dynamics to suit your needs too, from eco to comfort to sport or even sport-plus if the mood takes you. Or you can play with the paddles.

Featuring new-generation diesel engines, nine-speed automatic transmission and the latest connectivity and driver assistance features, the E-Class is nothing less than a downsized S-Class.

Whether you opt for the estate, saloon or the newly introduced coupe, the E-Class

is one of the safest cars in its segment, with systems such as active bonnet, active brake assist; attention assist and adaptive brake lights as standard.

Customers can also opt for the driving assistance plus package, which means the vehicle can maintain a set distance behind other vehicles – with new functionality that allows it to follow the car in front. In combination with Comand Online navigation, the system also has a speed limit pilot feature, which can adjust the vehicle’s speed to camera-detected limits or those logged in the navigation.

The 220d is now available with 4matic all-wheel-drive in both saloon and estate bodystyles and uses the same all-new four-cylinder 2.0-litre bi-turbo engine as the standard rear-wheel-drive E 220 d.

It produces 194 hp and 400 Nm and, as with all new E-Class models, comes with the superb nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox. As well as helping to create seamlessly smooth shifts, the 9G-Tronic gearbox also contributes to the E 220 d 4matic saloon’s low 117 g/km CO2 rating and high 62.8 mpg economy (126 g/km and 57.7 mpg for the estate).

In terms of the space on offer, the E-Class Estate continues to be one of the favourites in its segment: it has a cargo volume of up to 1820 litres and, in spite of a much sportier roof line, headroom and elbowroom in the rear are in turn the best in this class.

Standard specification includes a navigation system with 8.4-inch display, parking sensors with reversing camera and self-parking system, collision prevention assist and autonomous emergency braking system. Other features include 64-colour selectable LED interior lighting; two-zone automatic climate control; three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with dual touchpads; leather upholstery with heated front seats; LED headlights and tail lights; electrically folding mirrors and 17-inch wheels.

AMG Line models add to this with AMG exterior styling including unique bumpers and side skirts; 19-inch alloy wheels; perforated front brake discs; three-spoke AMG steering wheel; and leather and microfibre upholstery.