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Old 25th October 2011, 23:26   #16
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Default re: Fascination Mercedes Leh, Ladakh with a Merc GL350 and an AMG G55

There are some benefits of getting up early -

You see the sun rise and the mountain view

You get the fresh stuff for breakfast

You get to see Jay taking the G 55 for an errand.....I ran after the car (despite the thin air), luckily a Scorpio blocked it at the gate and asked for the opportunity to drive it around Leh.

The roads were empty, I managed to take it for a couple of quick dashes around the airport area and enjoy it for what it is, a Bangalore Boulevard Cruiser - it can tackle the potholes, it will scare everyone off the road, hooo boy, it is fun - but it is not one for treacherous roads. It is best for fast wide corners, understeer does get the better of it! Driving it, I realised that it engages you - its message "You cannot be thinking about anything else except me, the G!"
For off-roading etc, a G 500 even a 350CDI will do everything

SMS'd GTO, he sms'd that he was spending his morning with something with 10% of the power. Returned back and was forced into a GL to get to the airport in time- Security is tight, three sets of security checks. Despite the onerous security procedures, I boarded the with a permanent silly smile, the thunder in my ears, the many new friends that I made. It was a fascinating trip.



Team-Bhp was invited by Mercedes Benz India to participate in the the Mercedes Fascination - Leh event. All trip expenses were borne by Mercedes Benz India
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Last edited by ajmat : 27th October 2011 at 10:10.
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Old 26th October 2011, 00:06   #17
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Default re: Fascination Mercedes Leh, Ladakh with a Merc GL350 and an AMG G55

A final conclusion on the cars

GL - highly underrated and let down by its "yanky tank" looks. On the other hand, the looks grow on you and it looks way better than a Land Cruiser. Relatively well priced and needs to be marketed more aggressively. The bulk belies its ability. A GL400 V8 diesel option would be nice. They should aggressively target the construction segment, the plantation owners who need the blend of mile eater, rough road beater. coupleed with a good service network

Would I buy one? I don't need the bulk, I would prefer the ML, I never drove it, but it shares everything else except the length and weight, making it more agile. It did a lot of what the GL did without the off road package

The X5 which I have driven extensively might be faster and have a better steering but in terms of bump absorption and rough road optimisation (relevant to India), things could tilt to the Merc. The Cayenne is also able but it costs and lacks space comparatively. The Discovery/ Range Rover - worth a look but long term quality niggles are still there along with a fledgling dealership.

A point to note, we had full size spares on hand. Imagine if we had runflats and suffered a puncture in Pangong

G55
- oozes character, there is the sense of ocassion in driving it. You need to spend time in understanding it and it is great on smooth highways. In its AMG avatar, it is limited on off-road ability. The old Mercedes values shine through. I'd buy one if I had the money as a plaything!!

All the cars each completed about 2000km of hard driving and will complete another 2000km by the time they are be handed over for F1 duty.

If they survive this, it is a terrific return to form, the old Mercedes values of build quality and reliability.

Last edited by ajmat : 26th October 2011 at 13:27.
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Old 26th October 2011, 13:34   #18
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Default Re: Fascination Mercedes Leh, Ladakh with a Merc GL350 and an AMG G55

Moved into the main forum.....going live!!!
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Old 26th October 2011, 13:45   #19
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Default Re: Fascination Mercedes Leh, Ladakh with a Merc GL350 and an AMG G55

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
While you are gasping for breath
  • The G55 - costs about Rs 1.35Crs upwards. Each car is handbuilt and customised
  • 507 PS, 700 NM of torque
  • 5 speed gear box
  • 36 sold in India by those in the know and do not show off
  • Handbuilt in Austria
  • No height adjust, normal models are high enough, this was lowered and stiffer
  • 50 lbs of wax injected - to protect against corrosion

[

All the other hotel drivers rushed over and started examining it

"Kithna rupaya"

"Kya engine"

I rattle off the " Ek crore, and panch sow" in my faltering hindi and they shut up.

It was not me, it was the numbers!! (I think!)
I had an opportunity to drive one from bangalore to Pondicherry in the last week .The owner who is my cousin's friend asked me not to take pics as he wasnt okay with it being shared on a public forum .

It was a G55 AMG and i too was asked the same question when we stopped enroute to Pondicherry .

"Kaast kitna " , I said "1.4" ...

"Buss!! ...sumo hai kya ? " I said " nahi trax ka caapy"


Then when I told them it is 1.4 Cr. They were :O
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Old 26th October 2011, 14:11   #20
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Default Re: Fascination Mercedes Leh, Ladakh with a Merc GL350 and an AMG G55

Awesome Experience that was Ajmat sir!

Such a ride, through such a serene, peacefull, beautifull place!

And so many thanks for the photographs and write-up. Loved it!!!
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Old 26th October 2011, 16:38   #21
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Default Re: Fascination Mercedes Leh, Ladakh with a Merc GL350 and an AMG G55

Wow.. Wow..

Ajit this must have been a very unique experience. Beautiful locale and pretty machines you definitely had your hands full

Thanks for sharing

Cheers
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Old 26th October 2011, 19:21   #22
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Default Re: Fascination Mercedes Leh, Ladakh with a Merc GL350 and an AMG G55

Lucky you man! You just lived my long time dream, the Mercs simply were the cherries on the top.

I've told the same to Hani, I was astounded to see the pics he posted and now your detailed TL made it much more harder for me to hold on to my chair and I so wanna drive up there.

Sigh! Sometime soon, my time will come

Rated Panchanakshatra!
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Old 26th October 2011, 21:24   #23
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Default Re: Fascination Mercedes Leh, Ladakh with a Merc GL350 and an AMG G55

Lucky you. I am really envious. Awesome thread, 5* again.
The snaps were truly breathtaking.Thanks for sharing
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Old 26th October 2011, 23:51   #24
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Default Re: Fascination Mercedes Leh, Ladakh with a Merc GL350 and an AMG G55

Lucky you guys. Awesome pictures of the cars and the sights.
On a more automotive note:
G55. THE DREAM in the UAE for us residents.Especially the youngsters. Its a car that, correctly said "oozes character" and of course, shows that the person driving it is someone.
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Old 27th October 2011, 08:48   #25
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Default Re: Off-roading around Sangam

Wow! That is some experience and a great write-up! The combination of the cars and the location makes it very special!
This one is a keeper!!
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Last edited by androdev : 27th October 2011 at 08:51.
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Old 27th October 2011, 08:54   #26
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Default Re: Fascination Mercedes Leh, Ladakh with a Merc GL350 and an AMG G55

Ajmat, you lucky guy. What a location and what a fleet of cars. So now you have up the ante, from 6 cylinders you have moved onto 8.

Looking at the pics and comparing with Tsk's pics of the BMW off-road challenge. It looks like the GL and ML are more capable off roaders than the X3 and X5. I can see more articulation, more travel and going by your review a much better ride quality than the Beemers.

ps: How did it feel to drive your RS after these monstrous V8's which give you the feeling of being the king of the roads.
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Old 27th October 2011, 11:16   #27
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Default Re: Fascination Mercedes Leh, Ladakh with a Merc GL350 and an AMG G55

Excellent compilation of experiences garnered during your stint. It very well highlighted the capabilities of the vehicles. I really liked the "automotive" overtone to your essay. I am sure if given an opportunity, lesser mortals like me could have lost focus and would have inadvertently been drawn to write -more- about the environs that envelope Leh and Ladhakh than the machinery at hand. Hence, it was less of a travelogue and more of an autologue. Needless, to say that's the way we readers prefer it. Thanks.

You have mentioned that

“On entry, our licences were collected and copied and various non disclosure forms were signed.”

Just some question(s):

1. Since Moderators from Team-bhp are often invited for test drives and automotive promotional/image building events, I wonder if such non-disclosure agreements are commonplace?

2. What do these companies seek to protect vide the non-disclosure agreements? For example – cost break-ups etc.? I ask this because most of the reports submitted by you guys are so detailed that barely any technical/mechanical nuance remains un-disclosed. So just curious, what are the trade-secrets they intend to protect.

P.S.: My apologies for an errant question. I was intrigued since I am a corporate lawyer (and my routine involves many non-disclosure agreements. But of course, they are to protect/cover pre-production negotiations and not the likes you have mentioned).

Last edited by Samridh : 27th October 2011 at 11:18.
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Old 27th October 2011, 11:57   #28
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Default Re: Fascination Mercedes Leh, Ladakh with a Merc GL350 and an AMG G55

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
Ajmat, you lucky guy. What a location and what a fleet of cars. So now you have up the ante, from 6 cylinders you have moved onto 8.

I can see more articulation, more travel and going by your review a much better ride quality than the Beemers.

ps: How did it feel to drive your RS after these monstrous V8's which give you the feeling of being the king of the roads.
Wheel articulation is amazing although the Range Rover is much better. If I look on the scale from onroad to off road, it would be


BMW X5
Audi Q7
Merc GL/M
Toyota Land Cruiser
Land Rover


Quote:
Originally Posted by Samridh View Post
Excellent compilation of experiences garnered during your stint. It very well highlighted the capabilities of the vehicles. I really liked the "automotive" overtone to your essay. Hence, it was less of a travelogue and more of an autologue. Needless, to say that's the way we readers prefer it. Thanks.

You have mentioned that

“On entry, our licences were collected and copied and various non disclosure forms were signed.”

Just some question(s).........................

.
Samrudh - It took me a week to figure out on what to talk about - cars or Ladhakh, it had to be a blend. I mapped out the photos, got the overall all story structure and the words flew !!!

Non disclosure - some of the pictures - mainly the off roading were taking by the Mercedes phtographer. They did not want us selling those pics off to a travel mag etc. Actually, most of the forms were to do with liability. We heard a whole lot of tales about some unfortunate press fleet mishaps.

Last edited by ajmat : 28th October 2011 at 09:32.
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Old 28th October 2011, 05:24   #29
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Default Re: Fascination Mercedes Leh, Ladakh with a Merc GL350 and an AMG G55

Wonderful is the word, its 5:20 in the morning and i have read the TL cover to cover, even though its just two pages. Lovely pictures and i am sure you had fun driving the Mercs in Leh. The pictures are very cool.

You are one lucky soul to have had driven mercs in such beautiful surroundings.
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Old 28th October 2011, 12:13   #30
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Default Re: Fascination Mercedes Leh, Ladakh with a Merc GL350 and an AMG G55

WOW !

Now that is testing at it's best.

Great one Mr. Ajmat Sir !

Seriously - what an experience.

& Indeed - constant confusion whether to focus on the scenery or the cars.

Your clear cut definitions well appreciated :

Once again - I feel the ML sells more in the 'City' owing to it's looks, not it's real capabilities.

Still - no clear winner crowned as the king for off-roading ?
Or would you say the X5 does it all ?

The G wagen - WOW.
I have always wondered what makes it tick.
Turns out its a hardcore bad-boy. Built for a very specific purpose in mind.
& not to be confused for anything else.
You must need it more than you want it.
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