A number of my colleagues from the TV industry reside within the shadows of the national broadcaster. I call them the Melville snobs.
“What do you mean? You stay in Bryanston – the Sandtonites are the snobs!”
“Not at all,” I have to explain. “In Melville you have to arrive at the braai in an old car or talk about saving the world and the meaning of life. In Sandton you must arrive in the latest, flashy car…but then talk about the weekends rugby results.”
Which is all a tad depressing after the Bok’s showing against the Froggies on Friday.
But, just as our rugby status seems to have been badly mauled, maybe even the well heeled will have to think twice about a new wagon every two years. Imagine, even Honourable Ministers and their Deputy Dawgs may have to suffer the indignity of changing a set of worn tyres.
Sadly, it’s all been downhill since 2005 when a record 64 million cars were produced around the globe – that’s 176 700 a day!
Even in the states (that’s not Bloem) the median age for autos is approaching 10 years. Here we’ve had the “perfect storm” of rising new car prices, expensive fuel, tighter credit and the world economy spiral to encourage us to hold on to what we’ve got.
But if I did find R617 000 which I had forgotten about at the back of my drawer, and a family saloon was on the shopping list, the Merc E350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY would be my number one.
With the rev counter rarely straying above 2000 you get the feeling that this oil burning V6 could run forever. Yet, when you need to put foot, the 7G-Tronic gearbox and some mighty low-down torque takes you to the ton in less than seven seconds. Yes, there is a song like that…
And that’s while you’re getting a back massage and special kidney support on the corners. At a price of course.
Which you can afford because all of the savings in fuel costs. Mercedes-Benz claim that you can achieve figures of 6.8l/100km on a combined cycle. And they promise that doesn’t mean taking the E350 to work and riding home.
All thanks to BlueEFFICIENCY – Merc’s bid to cut out CO2 emissions and chew less fuel per kilometre. That’s the way Al Gore likes it.
And if your intention is not only to save the world, but stay on top of Mother Earth, I doubt there is another saloon in this price range with as many safety gizmos.
From flashes and beeps when there is a car in your blind spot to a rumble on the steering wheel if you drift over a white line. From an eerie device that will automatically stop you from ramming into the truck without tail lights to a coffee cup that appears to be on the screen when the system feels you’re getting a touch drowsy.
And an eject button for back street drivers and nagging mother-in-laws…ok, I’m exaggerating about that one.
None of these features come standard with the E350 CDI. But you have to have them! Excuse me while I delve into the back of that desk drawer again…