Grow Up. Drive.
That is what Mercedes commands a generation of soon to be adults and therefore potential customers. Following in the footsteps of Mercedes-Benz’s previous roadshows, numerous driving events are being held all over Germany under the title ‘Grow Up Events’ this year. It is where the up-growing may experience their first drives in a Mercedes-Benz. We’ve been invited to witness one of said events first hand at the ePrix in Berlin. Located between the racetrack, food area, and the pitlane, Mercedes set up a well-hedged lounge in the main hangar of the Berlin Tempelhof Airport (closed since 10/2008). To appropriately promote the products at this event, MB decided to limit its range of vehicles at the Formula e race to those that either feature a hybrid or fully-electric drive. The list of vehicles reads as follows: smart Electric Drive, B-Class Electric Drive, C 350 e Station Wagon, E 350 e Saloon, GLC 350 e and GLC 350 e Coupé, complete with a GLE 500 e. However, because of insurance restrictions, we were only able to choose between the smart ED and the B 250 e, which is the fully-electric version of the current B-Class. Btw. Mercedes-Benz announced to stop production of the B 250 e in Q3 2017. More on mbpassion.de.
Since we will be testing the all new smart Cabrio with an all electric drive by the end of this week, the B-Class is the obvious choice for this short test drive. Before we can begin, we must get registered on the event’s website groupevents.de with our name and date of birth. Following we can pick from the list of cars that are available for this exact events and look up the vehicles on display. Once our car is ready, we are being guided to the vehicle and accompanied for a drive on the predesigned loop by a car expert from Mercedes-Benz. This accompanied driving may seem simply unnecessary for someone who has practically driven every current Mercedes model on the market. But the precautionary measure makes much sense – not only from the insurer’s point of view. Because many of the participants at the driving event have little to no experience with Mercedes-Benz cars, it can help to focus on the road and have someone check your surrounding and assist in operating the vehicle.
Sadly, there was no time for a quick photo shoot during this 20 minutes drive in crowded Berlin Tempelhof. The B-Class allowed for some leisure driving but was also able to quickly reach 80km/h on the city highway with no efforts. With a maximum output of 132 kW (179 hp) and a weight of 1.8 tons, the car’s Vmax is specified as 160 km/h. Besides tires scratching on the road after kicking down the gas pedal, there are no wind noises inside the vehicle, despite its rather robust shape.
Like the predecessors, this year’s roadshow is an attractive opportunity to get a first and personal encounter with the brand and its products. However, the brief and very linear experience is not sufficient enough to form an opinion on the car. At this point, a local dealer will presumably take over and arrange an additional test drive if someone was truly interested. On the plus side, there is the smooth transition from registration to the test drive thanks to all the activities offered at the MB lounge. Contrary to that, the straightforwardness of the drive was less enjoyable and didn’t allow for much creativity and experimenting with the car. But that is of course due to the many other participants waiting for the next test drive.
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Thanks to Mercedes-Benz for having us.
Photos and text by Simon Laslo | @simonlaslo