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Old 12th August 2006, 11:43   #1
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Default Test Drive: New S500 & Actros

Last month I had been to Mumbai for a business visit along with one of my best friends and my cousin, who is also my business partner in one of our concerns. We visited DaimlerChrysler India Ltd (DCIL), Pune as I had an appointment, which I took at the Chennai brand show last March. It was one of the best days in my ‘automotive-life’ as I test-drive the new S that & also had a great opportunity to drive the mammoth Actros heavy-duty truck too.

It was a rainy day. We started from Mumbai in a Volvo intercity bus. It was heavily raining all the way, hence it took more than 2hrs to reach Wakkad and from there we took taxi to Pimpri were the DCIL plant is situated. It’s my second visit; first one was on Feb ’04 along with my wife and enjoyed the whole plant & assembling line. I meet Mr.X (as he don’t like to disclose his name), manager (sales) who is a good friend mine. At first he presented me a full fledge brochure, which is from Germany (has details of whole range), and an Indian brochure that include only the details of S350 L which is assembled here. He explained about the car costing and other details as it was raining heavily.

As soon as the rain reduced its pace he went and bought the car to customer lounge. When I saw the car I was excited. I expected S350 L for the test, but surprisingly, knowing my interest he arranged me a S500 L. It is powered by 388 hp new V8 motor & 7-Gtronic auto box.. It was a fully loaded car, except Panoramic roof, Distronic Plus and ABC. All other gizmos like the Night Vision, Rear-seat entertainment, Parktronic & reverse camera, Pro-safe, foldable table in the rear, dynamic seats, bi-xenon, 18” 5-spoke alloys and what no, the list goes on. It was over coated by the anti-scratch stickers, hence couldn’t enjoy the royal look in obsidian black colour. But I was surprised with the sound level of the engine even from the out, there was hardly any sound. Mr. X demonstrated whole the systems. Everything was controlled through Command II system & it is very easy to use compare to i-drive. Night vision was not working as it was day, so he covered the light sensor on top of the front glass & showed me how it function. It’ll be a very useful item on our road, but sadly its not available on Indian version

My excitement began as soon as I selected the drive mode on the steering mounded gear lever of the mighty S500 and started to drive my most favorite car. I took the new S to the test track on the west side of the plant. The V8 was silky smooth & also very powerful & torqy. 0-100kph came in just around 6sec & I was able to catch 140kph effortlessly. I couldn’t speed up over that as its not a full fledge test track. DCIL has only a mini test track & for major test they use Tata Motor’s track, which is next compound. I droved in both sporty & normal mode, in sporty we can use pedal shift for manually changing d gears. The Dynamic seats adjust the according to our body roll on cornering. The massagers and cooling are a great relief for the back during a long drive. TV on front screen will automatically shut down as soon as the car start rolling. It’s very dynamic to drive & in my opinion the back seat owners are really missing a great part of the car, the driving comfort. I also experienced the most preferred part of the car, the back seats. It’s really a luxury; you can adjust the rear seat too to any level. Overall it’s a king’s chariot. I loved it.

After that the unexpected happened. I got a chance to drive the new Actros heavy-duty multi axle tipper truck, the most powerful on to offer in the sub-continent. My most interesting category in automobiles is the heavy segment & am a great fan of Actros, especially the SLT version which is used to transport the super heavy loads like the plant, generators, etc. and it has a GVW of 250 tons. I drove the 4040K, which is 6x4. It was a very different experience to drive the Actros. I climbed 4 steps to enter the fully tiltable cabin & sat above 8’ from the ground, I felt as if I’m sitting on the top of a tree. The pneumatic seats first gone down, but detecting my weight it compressed & automatically adjusted the level. The steering could be tilted to most convenient position. The 400hp V8 sound tough, but in the a/c cabin very low sound even at high rpm. The 16 forward + 2 reverse gear is selected through a joystick like lever mounted to the left side of driver seat. The telligent system helps to pre-select the gear early & apply the clutch when need to change the gears. I took a full round of the plant & selected upto 7 gears. The pneumatic seats absorb all the bumps on rough roads. I felt very comfortable more than some luxury car & didn’t felt that it was such a big truck. For me it was dream come true.

Sorry, there is no foto & video of Actros driving. It was heavy raining & myself and company driver were only there in the truck

Photos






Videos


Last edited by hanmust : 12th August 2006 at 12:01.
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Old 12th August 2006, 12:51   #2
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Wow, nice trip

Sorry to sound anal but why do you never use both hands to steer. YOu'll have more control and more fun!
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Old 12th August 2006, 13:04   #3
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a writeup straight frm the heart of a car lover. Good one. And lucky dude!
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Old 12th August 2006, 13:13   #4
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Fantastic experience!!

For me Actros sounds more fun.
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Old 12th August 2006, 14:59   #5
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Hey hanmust thats a good writeup of your experience, i am much more interested in driving the Actros once even more than the S
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Old 12th August 2006, 16:14   #6
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Has the Actross launched?? If yes, is it only available as tipper?? I can see from the pics that the body shape is of a tipper, used basically in the mining industry.
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Old 12th August 2006, 16:50   #7
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nice trip buddy
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Old 12th August 2006, 19:06   #8
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Smile Thanx to all

Thanx dudes for ur nice & encouraging words . Its all Almighty's grace.

Mr.Ajmat, thank u for ur tips & u r right, i use in both ways (using single & both hands) depending on the mood. On a relaxed drive I used one hand and on a sporty mood I use both.

Mr.Sumitkalindi, for the time bieng Actros comes in only tipper varient. DCIL hsa got their main orders for mine purpose. But they have supplied Actros truck for Mumbai fire brigade (very tall crane mounded trucks) & Indian Railways (6x6, off road). DCIL is considering a trctor varient too, but its on ARAI's test.

Regarding the buses, the officer from CV told me that they have not yet decided yet, anyway they are not going to bring the Travego to India as the pricing doesn't suit the market. They may also consider bring Setra coach for our market.

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Old 13th August 2006, 00:55   #9
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That would have been some experience!!! Congrats and thank you for sharing the experience with us.
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Old 17th August 2006, 13:42   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanmust
Regarding the buses, the officer from CV told me that they have not yet decided yet, anyway they are not going to bring the Travego to India as the pricing doesn't suit the market. They may also consider bring Setra coach for our market.
I heard from a source that DCIL may develop a part of the chassis for the bus in India. May be it reduces the costs significantly...
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Old 17th August 2006, 14:20   #11
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They may!..not finalised yet. If so they need to set-up another plant for it. The present plant is only ment for the assembling of cars. They also consider to import chassis from Brazil & build body from in tie-up with any local coach builders like Sutleg as Volvo does with Azad.

Anyway a fully build bus will not work out. A Travego with toilets & all gzmos will cost around Rs.3 crores (from a reliable source).

Mercedes Benz Travego

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Old 17th August 2006, 16:34   #12
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Wat a luky guy..S500 & Actros, both driven! ..it'll b a amazing experiance, both are at the 2 ends.. one dectator car & other the most powerful slave truck.. Congrats dude..S-class is my favorite car..

You drive very decently, how exactly a luxury car to be driven..

Don't u have any video of Actros?..Keep posting..

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Old 17th August 2006, 17:44   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanmust
They also consider to import chassis from Brazil & build body from in tie-up with any local coach builders like Sutleg as Volvo does with Azad.

Anyway a fully build bus will not work out. A Travego with toilets & all gzmos will cost around Rs.3 crores (from a reliable source).
Very true! But the one that will most probably hit the roads could be from the Setra range, rebadged as a Mercedes as not many would have heard of Setra in India!
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Old 17th August 2006, 19:05   #14
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Thanx Mr.Vino, the S has the supreme comfort level as well as power. It felt like a tank, not by weight, but by the safety feeling. Regrading Actros, even though its hercules, it felt like driving a flexible gymnastist to drive. Its very easy & effortless to drive. S-class has improved, but Actros is a novel experiance. I've drived Ashok leyland & Eicher trucks with 15ton load. So I were able to unsderstand the heavenly change our drivers going to get in Actros.

Ya, as I mentioned earlier, DCIL is also considering the Setra for India. But I'm not sure whether they'll rebadge it. I asked whether they will bring the Tourismo (the next range after Tourage), but the answer was 'NO'. In my opinion they must atleast bring some thing above the Volvo B7R, because the traveller willexpect more from Merc.

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Old 17th August 2006, 19:22   #15
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Default Patent Car

Myself with the replica of 'Benz Patent Car' at the customer care centre at DCIL. Mercedes Benz made some replica of it exactly as the Karl Benz made the first car in the year 1886. Its for sale, anyone interested?

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