TITLE: 2008 Mercedes C Drive
DATE: 08/08/2007 16:10:01
PRIMARY CATEGORY: Personal
ALLOW COMMENTS: 1
In recent years, automobile manufacturers have been promoting their new products with a new kind test drive experience, the kind of test drive events with no sales pressure, freedom to push the cars hard on the track, and party like ambience and food. Lexus has been sponsoring "Taste of Lexus" and Mercedes has "The C Drive" and various other events.
This year, I have been invited back to the Mercedes event, the "C Drive". The event is a little bit different this time. Mercedes used to host test drive events at the Alameda Point where there is space for multiple track courses, and this time, it's at the "Left Space Studios" in San Francisco. It has a "Street drive" and a "Close-course performance drive". Unfortunately, I attended the first day of the event, and they were not ready for the "Close-course performance drive", blaming the traffic between the Studio and the AT&T Park.
After checking in and signing a waiver, we were given a badge to wear around the neck. It was made with JavaCard technology for data storage. It was later used for accessing the survey and claiming of the gift pack.
Unsurprisingly, the event attracted a crowd of young attendees, who are the main customers of the entry level C class models.
Most people went for the food as they enter the studio. There wasn't a lot to choose from this year :(
Then, we stayed for a brief presentation of the features of the new models.
This year, besides the 2 different engine options (C350 and C300), there are also 2 distinct models "Luxury" and "Sport". The model on stage is the "Sport" model. It features the bold AMG aerodynamic package and AMG wheels (optional). There are C300 Sport and C350 Sport models available to choose from.
The most distinctive feature is in the front end. The grill has been replaced with the style that's found on other Mercedes coupes. It has a big Mercedes star and a flat emblem atop the hood instead of a standing star.
The other model is the "Luxury" mode (the silver car in the photo below)l. It features the traditional sedan grill and standing star. The Luxury model is only available in C300 engine size.
Now the "Street Drive" began. The attendees got into the test cars (pre-production cars, as pointed out by my friend's friend who works for Mercedes as regional manager). Each fleet of five cars were led by a pacer in the front, communicated with walkie talkie. The pacer ensures that the cars following him knew the next turn ahead of time.
Two drivers were assigned to each car. They switch seats in the middle of the course. My co-driver was cut off by a big rig toward the end of the street drive. We couldn't see the car in front of us and missed a turn. We used the walkie talkie to communicate our location with the pacer and he found us quickly and took us back to the finishing point.
We went back into the studio and hanged around for a little while. Guess what's going on inside this booth?
My guess was a massaging stand. Last year, Ritz Carlton Spa was providing massages on site :)
Here's the correct answer.
It's a photo booth provided by Nokia. The face of the person has been blurred intentionally to protect his identity.
Will I trade in my current model for the new model? Probably not. I need a bigger car :)
DATE: 09/13/2007 13:30:37
DATE: 10/07/2007 14:32:43
I like the C-drive but I like Lexus more this year.