01 novembre 2005
Les sites de Paris: Champs-Élysées; Mercedes-Benz.
With the Champs-Élysées being one of the most famous and prestigious streets in the world, it is not a wonder that Mercedes-Benz would be among the carmakers with a showroom there. I was somewhat surprised that, given the location, the only reference to Mercedes' super-luxury line, the Maybach was in a continuous-loop video playing in the showroom. Perhaps Mercedes feels that this built-to-order hand-crafted line deserves a "studio," as Mercedes calls them, of its own, maybe on another prestigious street such as Avenue George V where many of the fashion designers are located. Be that as it may, the Mercedes line on display ranged from the FAST - the McLaren SLR - to the "half-fast," the diminuitive "A" Class. The new "S" Class, introduced first in Europe and on its way to the U.S., was prominently displayed. The McLaren SLR is evocative of the fabulous Mercedes-Benz 300 "Gullwing" coupes of the mid-1950s, and includes "gullwing" doors. It sells for $452,750 in the U.S., including a $3,000 "gas guzzler" tax. It is powered by a supercharged, twin-intercooler 5.4 litre V-8 that makes a breath-taking 617 U.S. horsepower - all the more breath taking because that power is made from a cylinder displacement of less than three 2 litre bottles of Coke! The McLaren SLR will rocket from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in 3.8 seconds! That is FAST!. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the diminuitive "A" class, which is only "half-fast" when compared to the McLaren, but makes a lot of sense given the high cost of fuel, high taxation on cars and generally high cost of operating a car in France. Mercedes* does not offer the "A" Class or the slightly larger "B" Class in the U.S. * Click on "Gammes" to be directed to the portion of the site where you can view the "A" and "B" Class cars. The FAST! The mightly McLaren SLR. The newest version of the "S" Class - not yet in the U.S. The "half-fast" - the diminuitive "A" Class.