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04/30/05 EMPHASIS ON M

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Fri, May 6, 2005

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

4/29/05 EMPHASIS ON M

By JOHN GRAFMAN and JEFF WILLIAMS Photos by JEFF WILLIAMS

Don't take our word for it. And definitely don't believe the ads (true or otherwise). The best opinion will always be your own. Mercedes, like many of its competitors, is providing hands-on opportunity to formulate real opinions from behind the wheel, sans salespeople.

The second leg of the multiple-city tour of the Mercedes Road Rally is going to excite many an upcoming M-Class owner. The two-track course gives a quick chance to sample the agility of the completely new luxury SUV. Unlike some of the other Mercedes-Benz driving events offered to the public, this one seems a bit pared down.

The event set at El Toro does have a very nice setting and touches of luxury, but a real lack of user interaction that was key to some prior events. The lifestyle niceties does include some welcomed sponsors such as N.V. Perricone M.D. Cosmeceutical and smashbox cosmetics that will certainly be interesting to women, but hey, what about us guys? Just as the medium is the message, Mercedes tips its hat as to whom they are really marketing to.

While the event does seem to be geared to females, by no means should this reflect on the appeal of the new M-Class, as this is a machine for everyone. Certainly women will love the refinement that a Uni-body design brings to the table. Guys will be impressed with the performance. Even dogs should love the new M-Class. Yes, dogs. With a generous cargo area that's well upholstered to boot, what dog wouldn't love it?

We do like the lavish affairs that we have seen in the past and hope to see them again in the future. Regardless as to the reason for the Road Rally being so compressed, the main thrust of the event is still here. And in spite of what it might appear to be, there is still few means of giving the public this kind of quality, unfettered experience. When a manufacturer has the guts to put its money where its mouth is and offer an event such as this, it's still the best ad money ever spent!

- John Grafman

When Mercedes Benz invites us to the new unveiling of their revamped M class, we jumped at the opportunity. The brand image of Mercedes Benz creates a vision of luxury and engineering of a top-notch automaker. That coupled with a new design to the dated 1998 M-class platform was going to make for an interested and exciting day. Upon arriving to the Mercedes Benz Road rally event at El Toro Marine Base, we are greeted by a red carpet leading us to the registration area in the mammoth white tents. Inside the venue we are able to relax on the latest furnishings from Pottery Barn and enjoy home entertainment systems courtesy of Harman/Kardon. Saks Fifth Avenue showcased latest fashions for both men and women. In addition the presence of Dr. Perricone and Smashbox are both here to address beauty tips for the inner and outer you.

As the lights dim and the event announcer walks behind the velvet ropes with his microphone in hand the real reason for our attending the new M-class Road Rally begins. The atmosphere is electric as everyone listens to the changes and refinements as we view images of the New M-class as it rest on stage. After the short presentation it's time to put the rubber to where it meets the road. Passing through the tent the new M-class awaits, you are confronted by a choice of two Road Rally courses. The first course which is an acceleration and handling course, lets you do just that, perform. The second course being a compromised road condition course let's you feel the security of being behind the wheel in less than perfect conditions. Both courses enable you to taste the abilities and performance of the new M-class.

Be the judge for your self, the Mercedes Benz Road Rally is a great place to truly view and experience the new M-class. This type of venue and setting removes the presence of sales pressure and lets you enjoy the event for what it really is... a well designed Mercedes Benz Road Rally.

- Jeff Williams

For more info please go to www.mclassroadrally.com

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