Event showcases Merc safety features

A unique demo allows guests the experience of driving its cars on rough, risky terrain
Last Updated : 23 October 2019, 15:15 IST
Last Updated : 23 October 2019, 15:15 IST
Last Updated : 23 October 2019, 15:15 IST
Last Updated : 23 October 2019, 15:15 IST

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Celebrating the 25th year of Mercedes-Benz in India, the Mercedes-Benz Luxe Drive Live was held on October 19 and 20, at NICE Road, Bengaluru. The event allowed customers to experience the brand’s unique offerings.

To this end, the brand engaged in providing three types of experience. One, of gourmet, wherein the renowned celebrity chef Sarah Todd engaged participants in a workshop on gourmet and food photography. Music formed the second leg of the event. The brand tied up with MTV to host a series of live gigs featuring Mali, Tejas Mohan, Fame the band and The Yellow Diary. People lounged around while eating gourmet snacks from food trucks, and listening to the artists perform.

However, the main feature of the event was the adrenaline-inducing test drives. Several models of the brand such as the GLA, GLC, GLS and E-Class were made available for test-driving. They offered both ‘self-drive’ and ‘demo’ options. I opted for the ‘demo’ option because I haven’t driven a car since I got my licence three years ago, and I figured that I would have to pay a limb and a half if I had the misfortune of crashing one. Whatever little twinge of shame I had in my lack of confidence disappeared once I saw what was in store.

While I had imagined a standard drive along an empty road, the brand had other things in mind. They had the road divided into four sections, and each section featured a certain kind of obstacle, to demonstrate specific safety features. We were shown the accident resistance ability of CLA-Class. Orange safety cones were placed on the track, creating a zig-zag route. As my body jerked in all directions, mostly because I was slightly unprepared, the demo driver informed us of how the car barely swerved compared to other cars, and the brakes could be applied effortlessly preventing accidents even in seemingly unavoidable occasions.

Legs almost jelly and heart beating hard against my chest, I waited for the next round. In the second arena, we were allowed to experience the off-road capabilities of their SUVs. Six members of the audience piled into a GLS 350 D 4MATIC, as the demo driver took us over some obstacles that had been placed on the track. One of the obstacles, mirrored a roller coaster ride, with a hill-type formation. The car was taken up-hill, and halfway the driver applied brakes and asked us to take note of how the car didn’t slide back. He coolly stepped on the accelerator and took us to the top. He showed us how the car could be controlled when driving downhill, by simply choosing the speed, and allowing the car to roll down on its own. The car slid at 4 kmph, but my heart raced at 100 beats per minute.

In the third section of the test drive, we were seated in a GLC Class 300 D. By this point, an older man who had been stuck with us through the previous rides, joked about how we would be there of we were to plummet to our deaths. The most mellow test drive section, we were shown how the car could traverse through different terrains.

In the last of the test drive series, we were shown the ‘Pre-safe’ mode in the C-Class and E- Class models. We were taken in a C200, with the driver casually picking up speed and a conversation about us.

He slowly turned and told us how if we activated the pre-safe mode, the windows would automatically roll down. I might have stopped listening at this point because I felt rather disappointed about how there seemed to be nothing adventurous about this demonstration. Then, the speed picked up and we watched as he drove straight towards a line of orange cones, apply brakes and stop right at the barrier. If we were in a cartoon, the hump of our car would have been suspended in the air. With that, the demo was complete.

Celebrity Chef Sarah Todd
Celebrity Chef Sarah Todd

Metrolife In conversation with celebrity chef Sarah Todd

The MasterChef Australia contestant moved to India about five years ago and has since set up her own restaurant ‘Antares Restaurant & Beach Club’ in Goa. Metrolife caught up with her for a quick chat.

Tell us more about your love affair with India.

I was mesmerised with the country from my first visit. I travelled around, tasting the different kinds of food, and it was just so captivating. I love that everyone here is a foodie. I started my restaurant, and before I knew it, five years had passed. I am at home here.

Was it difficult to adapt what you knew into Indian cooking?

There is a huge gap in terms of what the West understands as Indian food. The options out there are so limited. They don’t have access to the wide varieties. The Indian palette is very vast and it is amazing how much I have learnt after coming here. I am still learning, but I don’t try to replicate authentic dishes, because I would not be able to do justice. I try to understand the flavours and which ones could work together.

Have you travelled around India a lot?

Yes. I love travelling, and I am open to any reason to do so. It is usually for work, but thankfully my work includes a lot of exploring and learning. I always make it a point to try and eat at someone’s home while I am in a new city. I think that is the best way to understand what the people of a region eat on a day-to-day basis.

Favourite destination so far?

Kashmir. The place, the food, the people-- I just fell in love with it all.

How does your son, Phoenix, like India?

He does enjoy it here, but he lives in Australia. He comes here often for his holidays, and I go back and forth all the time. I miss him a lot. It was harder when he was younger because he didn’t really understand why I was leaving. He is eight, now; not so young anymore (laughs). He is very mature for his age, and he is very proud of what I do.

What’s next for you?

I am planning on writing a cookbook. It will be my take on Indian cuisine, for a global audience. For those who are not familiar with this style of cooking, it can be quite overwhelming and intimidating. I want to simplify it all while telling people that there is so much more to Indian food than your curries.

Published 23 October 2019, 15:14 IST

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