First. Class. Experience. #MBSLJourney
Traveling across the globe to Stuttgart, Germany, the birthplace of Mercedes-Benz, is a remarkable experience. Being immersed in the Mercedes-Benz brand alone is satisfying, but to also be surrounded by the depth of history and different cultures truly distinguishes the experience of a Mercedes-Benz European Delivery. It all begins with the Mercedes-Benz Museum, a shrine to the brand’s heritage.
Up the Jetson-like elevator to the top floor of the metallic time capsule, you arrive and are greeted by a life-size horse fastened to a stand with sounds of hooves around you. On the stand a quote attributed to Emperor Wilhelm II reads: “I believe in horses. The automobile is no more than a transitory phenomenon.”
The adventure through time begins with a smooth wind down to the next level, each path adorned with photos and explanations of the time in global history as well as the status of Mercedes-Benz. It is an educational experience and grand as you enter the collection rooms with eras of vehicles. The history lesson ends and a visit to the shop downstairs surprises with an intimate view of the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6: a glimpse to the future.
With an array of interests easily satisfied after touring the Mercedes-Benz Museum, the experience shifts to history and landmarks in Stuttgart such as the New Palace & The Garden in the center of the city. Just around the corner is the beautiful square where the Old Castle resides. A breath-taking site.
The AMG® Factory is quietly tucked away in the Affalterbach countryside. Entering the main AMG® complex you immediately notice the American flag raised as a welcome sign for the group. A reminder of how much thought Mercedes-Benz puts into even seemingly little details when organizing these experiences for customers. For this particular journey, we were able to witness the unveiling of new vehicles with designers sharing their visions and details of their craft. It is a pleasure to hear them speak passionately about their projects. One designer specifically referred to the AMG® brand as Hot and Cold. The first representing sensuality and appeal of the vehicles with cold being correlate to the ‘cool factor’ of the cars.
The tour takes you into the AMG® assembly area providing insights on staffing, training, and deployment. The facility is immaculate, you could spot a crumb 100 yards away. Every step in the engine building process is accounted for by bar-codes on tools and parts which are permanently track-able and programmed for just the right amount of power / torque applied to the tools. They live by the code: One Man – One Engine.
I was able to meet briefly with the world-famous engine builder Michael Kübler (@F1Mike28). Getting to see his work in person and observe his station for a few moments makes it even more surreal. A master of his craft and a pleasure to interact with, it was remarkable to meet the man behind the signatures that have occupied numerous spaces at Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land.
The name, Center of Excellence, is most fitting for the perfect display of the brand at the Sindelfingen Plant. It is very elegant, clean with a minimalist luxury design. The Center is part of the ‘Mercedes-Benz City’ including multiple hospitals, fire stations, and restaurants. The magnitude is mind blowing. Every aspect is thought through and the service – impeccable – it’s easy to see why Mercedes-Benz clients want this First. Class. Experience.
After lunch, you are invited to tour the Sindelfingen plant. Again, a sight to behold. The exacting process used for installing the dashboard of the vehicle is nothing short of impressive. The frame of the vehicle arrives and a robotic arm maneuvers the dashboard with a few moves of precision and secures it into the frame. The few seconds it took were mesmerizing. Then the journey shifts gears and delivery of the vehicle begins. Time to hit the open road in the Mercedes-Benz S 550.
Departing Stuttgart, Germany feels like leaving a historical gem, but once you are engaged by the Autobahn in your Mercedes-Benz all memories fade & you get to enjoy the scenic drive. On the Autobahn you can reach speeds well over 130 mph, but the smoothness of riding in a Mercedes-Benz leads you to believe you are cruising at a much more tempered speed. Slipping through the wind, we took a quiet and comfortable 278 km trip to the stunning Lake Lucerne in Switzerland: the clear, crisp waters are an awe-inspiring sight.
It is difficult to leave the crystal waters of Lake Lucernce, however the views of spectacular scenery including the turquoise waters surrounding the mountain range during the drive becomes hypnotic. As you drive through the tunnels carved into the mountains, they conceal the landscape for a brief moment, so when you emerge from them it feels like someone uncovering your eyes to unveil a surprise.
The journey through the Swiss Alps is wonderful with an elevated sense of serenity inside the cockpit of a Mercedes-Benz. For our journey, there was an elevated sense of serenity being in the cockpit of the S-Class. The brisk temperature was refreshing as we rolled the windows slightly down and turned on the heated Nappa leather seats, truly a heavenly environment. As was the case during the original drive through Switzerland, the views are out of this world. I pulled over a number of times just to breathe the air and take in the surroundings, and of course see the snow in summer. The most incredible part of this particular leg of the drive was that we essentially experienced all four seasons across two countries (By far my favorite portion of the road trip).
Milan has a different way of handling traffic, there are no lanes so it is a dog-eat-dog driving world. The architectural changes as you drive from Italy to France is fascinating to see, as is the view of the Mediterranean Sea. With the changes in climate from one region to the next, the S-Class cabin provided us with power rear-window sunshade, ventilated front seats, and the air balance system for premium comfort. Coupled with the fragrance atomizer, the long drive allows you to once again turn on the massage option which adds a whole new relaxing dimension to the ride. Our journey ended in the Monte Carlo, home to Formula One’s most prestigious race, with a sunset for the ages.
Our dealership, Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land, is in the suburb of one our nation’s largest cities. We interact with individuals from all across the globe, families that are building and celebrating their lives with luxury. This journey across Europe reminds us of the beauty of all of these cultures, the vastness of our planet, and the masterpiece that guided me there: Mercedes-Benz.