Saturday, 5 June 2010

Are You Experienced? The Mercedes Benz Driving Experience in Singapore... Pedal to the Metal ;)

So Oh Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ;)

i got me some new wheels :) first merc purchased after my marriage. my son likes playing with the star and it reminds me of when i was young playing with my dad's e-class star long long time ago (early 80s model, the W123 model in a light green color)... brings back a lot of childhood memories. i loved mercedes from then and am happy to get the latest version of the E sedan (the W212 model), i am a family man after all.

such a sweeeeet car (i am biased of course :) at changi exhibition centre today... i drove many variants of the E today [E200, E300, E350 Coupe, E350 Cabriolet] and the good thing is i could drive 'em like i stole em ;)

one of the perks of owning a luxury marque is that they often have driving programs and me and a mate of mine made it down to one this weekend... so some fun photos from it to share then, the excellent Merc Benz Driving Experience :)

some of the cars we could thrash around [other than these and the Es i mentioned, we also drove a range of C Classes and a S300 too]

and one we had the pleasure of having our spleens crushed in... as we were driven round the course by peter, one of the instructors for the day... the C63 AMG is such a sweet crazy drive... a lot of fun...

the e-cabrio was also on hand for some fun with the top down...

and one we couldn't thrash about... the SL300...

[ click to read the rest of the post... expand or collapse ]

peter and nathan (hope i got the names right boyz) givin us some instructions for the final excercise...

my excellent driving group... the red warriors wif one michael 'schumacher' teo at the end...

one of the ones that was a lot of fun the SLK AMG

wicked instructors who have loadsa racing experience and championships in some series under their belt got the raphmeister thru the course...

& finally a quick take then on the Mercedes Benz E200 aka The Executive Saloon That Could...

both the E200 and E250 models have the same in-line 4 pot, 5 speed auto gearbox and a 1.8litre Turbocharged engine. the 5 speed is the old one they have been using and they should have done a new 6 speed if not thrown in the 7G-Tronic even into the entry Es. the E200 gives u 184bhp @5250rpm, max torque of 270 Nm @ 4600 rpm and does the 0-100 sprint in 8.7sec with max speed of 236km/h.

In the price range we have the following competitors:
  • 2011 BMW 523i F10 (2.5litre in-line 6, 8 speed auto) which probably handles better but looks pretty bland to me (more boring than the one it replaces)
  • Audi A6 2.8 FSI (2.8litre V6, 6 speed auto) kinda boring
  • Jaguar XF 3.0 (3litre V6, 6 speed auto) which is a great looking car and well appointed
  • Lexus GS300 3.0 Luxury which is pug ugly
The BMW has the same bhp as the E250 but the E is more torquey. The GS has the most power of the bunch to make up for its other shortcomings. the E250 has the fastest 0-100 sprint of the lot and also the best fuel consumption of the lot which is most impressive.

Conclusion: Overall i find the Merc to be the best looking amongst them and has the right balance of class/prestige, comfort, tech, price and performance... and is the overall winner in its class followed by the Jag... which is why i bought it :)

[ Just so you know that i am no BMW hater ;) the M3 (420hp 4litre V8, balanced and the benchmark) is still probably the best lux sports saloon from the marques i noted above on track, pipping the C63 AMG (6.2litre V8 451 bhp, more power+less control=axe murderer) and the Audi RS5 (444bhp 4.2litre V8 Quattro, the good looking sensible one), Lexus ISF (416bhp 5litre V8, M3 wannabe) in that range.

yup i wouldn't mind one in white with a drop top... yummy

If you went up one rung for sports coupe to around the half a buck range, the Audi R8 4.2 FSI, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, the 911 GT3 RS and perhaps the Maserati Gran Turismo 4.7 (no Jags) will beckon and i liketh the R8 (yup Tony Stark drives one ok ;) & the Aston (4.7l v8 in white and preferably the roadster :) and for the top top end... the Ferrari 458 Italia & Rolls Royce Ghost please ;) ]

a lot of hand work... just like some real independent's watches :)

oh and to note something imbetween... in terms of the ultimate supercar killer though the Nissan GTR is without a doubt the "well priced" winner... the fastest mean machine u can get if you're not a gajillionaire ;) Singapore pricing is around S$300+k... it can beat many supercars that cost 2-3+ times more than it (yes it beats the 911 Turbo, the Gallardos, the R8s, )... so there u have it... the best reasonably priced Japanese Rice Rocket! You've come a LONG way Datsun :)

just in case u're a doubter... The Top Gear Power Board (Stiggie's times as of Jun 2010)
15. 1:19.7 - Nissan GT-R [it has ever been timed to do 0-60 in 3.3secs and driven 310+km/h] [Price S$330k]
16. 1:19.7 - Ferrari 430 Scuderia
17. 1:19.8 - Lamborghini MurciƩlago LP640 [Price should be over a buck]
18. 1:19.8 - Porsche Carrera GT
22. 1:20.9 - Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
23. 1:21.2 - Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano [Price S$1,150,000]
27. 1:22.3 - Porsche 911 GT3 RS (996 mk.II / it beat the 997 in another test) [Price S$488,888]
50. 1:25.3 - BMW M3 (E90)
[Price ~S$320k. parallel importers price as performance motors is not the authorised dealer for M cars... i wonder why ;)]

i don't need fast or flashy though, so for me... i have found that this is just right ;)

Some nuggets: to own a car in Singapore you need to buy wats called a certificate of entitlement(COE). the rise in COE prices has seen the upward movement of both new and second hand cars. the thing is Singapore new car prices are determined by the sellers before they have secured the COE for the buyer. So it goes something like this:

-> Selling Price of the Car = Cost of the car the Dealer Paid + Import Taxes, duties and the like (i believe this is typically 1.2 times the cost of the car) + Actual COE price (which the dealer will only know after they secure the COE for the car) +Profit Margin (Variable depending on COE price)
-> SP = C + T + COE + P
-> So an example of what the numbers could be are these => 200k = 50k + 60k + 40k + 50k
The dealer can't control C, T and COE so they have to control SP to help their P. Got it? :) Of course the dealers do put in safeguards and do not have to secure the COE for you at the first go but they will have to eventually or u may cancel your order if u get tired of waiting...

& thats it. hope u enjoyed the post :) cheers, raph


Kevin said...

Man that C63 is badass. I also really like the new E class coupe, but you have to see one in person, the pictures do them no justice.

raphmeister said...

u b right the C63 is totally badass :) and the E-Coupe is a real nice lookin car in the metal.

cheers, raph

Michael said...

One of your best write-ups yet.. :)

raphmeister said...

thanks Mike :)

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