Talking dream cars with national racer Nabil Jeffri and Mark Raine of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia
Cars of desire
There is no denying the desirability of Mercedes-Benz's Dream Cars range. Defined by the powerful Mercedes-AMGs, the opulent Maybachs, and the elegant coupes and cabriolets, the Dream Cars sit at the peak of performance, design, engineering and luxury, making them the ultimate brand shapers for the German marque.
2018 saw three new models joining the distinguished fleet, namely the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Coupe, the Mercedes-AMG GT C and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet.
"From the seductive design of the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, which was the original four-door coupe, to the AMG GT C, which adds yet another thrilling facet to the AMG GT family, and the E-Class Cabriolet, a masterpiece of intelligence now with the liberation of topless motoring, the Dream Cars offer the utmost indulgence for each kind of driver. In other words, we invite you to Risk an Affair," said Mark Raine, Vice President of Sales & Marketing Passenger Cars, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia.
To let us experience the prowess of the Dream Cars, the kind folks of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia whisked us off on a road trip to Cherating, where we got to test drive the latest and existing models from the lineup. The highlight of the trip for Buro Malaysia? A spin in the new CLS 450 Edition with Mark Raine and Nabil Jeffri, national racer and Mercedes AMG ambassador, talking Dream Cars:
Let's start with the car we're in right now, the CLS 450 Edition 1.
Mark: "As you mentioned the car we're in today is the CLS 450 edition 1. It is enormously powerful. It's got an acceleration of 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds thanks to a powerful engine combined with the 4Matic all-wheel drive. The cool thing about this car is, since it's an Edition 1, it's got very nice instalments, like the copper coloured accents, the diamond stitching on the seats, and a unique diamond grille with matt chrome pins."
Nabil: "Yeah those are definitely nice touches—it's the little details that make a difference."
Moving on to the Dream Cars range as a whole, what makes them the brand shapers for Mercedes-Benz?
Mark: "The Dream Cars range is a segment that we invented, and it consists of the coupes, the cabriolets, and the roadsters—all these performance cars that are our ultimate icons of luxury. What makes them all so unique? They are the emotional cars; they are the desirable cars; they are the cars which are not purely about practicality, but they are much, much more.
"You've got the coupes or the cabriolets which are very design-oriented with their sleek bodylines and frameless doors, but they are also about performance, exclusivity and luxury in terms of the fact that they are really designed around the driver—meaning these cars are mostly cars driven by the owners themselves, as opposed to the S-class for instance, that is usually a chauffeur driven car."
Driving a Dream Car is an experience, essentially.
Mark: "Yes, it's not only factually commuting from A to B, it's about how you get there, and you get there in comfort and style."
You probably saw this coming—what's your favourite from the Dream Cars range?
Mark: "That's always a difficult question. I don't struggle to answer it but I can't lock it down to one car either. I like to say I have three favourite cars. My ultimate favourite is the S Class Coupe or S Class Cabriolet—it is the ultimate symbiosis between luxury and having the performance and lifestyle elements to it. But as I've got limited pocket money, my car of choice is the CLS. Here's a true story: In between 2008-2011 I was based in Dubai, and at the early stages I said to my boss: "If you ever want to reward me for good performance, I would love to have the CLS for half a year". That dream came true and in 2009 I had the CLS for half a year while I was in Dubai. So that model will always have a special spot in my heart. The third of my favourites is not in the Dream Cars range, but it is the GLE Coupe, because that is the perfect combination of having the space and height and the roominess of an SUV coupled with the sleek lines of a coupe."
What about you, Nabil?
Nabil: "I'm driving the Mercedes-AMG C 43 now, but after driving the GT C... that was really something."
Mark: "You can easily see the difference in answers between a family man/corporate guy and the hotshot race car driver (laughs)."
Nabil: "The C 43 is still in my heart (laughs), but I guess the race car driver in me just can't resist a car like the GT C. It is muscular yet aerodynamic in design, and so powerful—it was a real pleasure to drive."
How does it compare to the cars you're used to racing in?
Nabil: "To be honest the GT C really impressed me—especially when it's on Race mode I was surprised because I thought the Sport+ mode was the best, then I found out there was another mode I could go on. The power and the acceleration of the Race mode just blew me away. It is actually comparable to what I raced in before for Formula 2—in terms of the feeling that I get in the car, as well as the power-to-weight ratio."
Then Mark threw me a question in turn, asking about my favourite from the lineup of Dream Cars. It was an easy choice for me—the S Class Cabriolet. A real beauty to behold, it's got the elegant S Class proportions, but is still very sleek and striking in appearance. Equipped with a 4-litre V8 bi-turbo engine, it makes for a powerful drive too.
But while Cherating had considerably less cars on the road compared to KL, I did find myself wishing there was a better place to really test the prowess of these lean machines, which led me to the next question...
What's the best place to take the Dream Cars out for a drive in Malaysia?
Mark: "That depends. It'll be different for each car because the Dream Cars range is so diversified in terms of its capabilities and characteristics. Nabil and I actually recently took his C 43 up Genting—I can also imagine taking the GT C up there. Where will you take your favourite baby, the GT C, Nabil?"
Nabil: "Genting would be nice, but it can be tricky with so many cars on the road going up there. I would love to test the GT C out in Sepang—it is safer, and I can go all out the car to really test its prowess."
Mark: "As for your favourite car, the S 560 Cabriolet, I imagine it'll make the perfect drive along the coast in Batu Ferringhi, Penang."
I couldn't help but agree. Imagine driving down the coastal roads with the top down (given good weather) and wind in your hair, coupled with a sea view—now that's the life, made better with a Mercedes-Benz Dream Car by your side.
For more information on the Mercedes-Benz Dream Cars collection, visit www.mercedes-benz.com.my.