Looking for some way to pass the time, whilst waiting for the transfer bus, on the last day of a holiday, I discovered the Mercedes experience in Kitzbuhel, Austria.
The event staff collected me and my ski buddy from outside our hotel and took us to the event park; it’s a short distance outside Kitzbuhel so difficult to get to without transport. Being driven there in a G-Class was already part of the experience!
The driving takes place in a quarry which is in operation for the snow free months of the year and so looked the part with heavy machinery and safety signs in situ. A glass office has been set up for the Mercedes event and we received a warm welcome from the other members of staff and were offered snacks and refreshments, whilst we signed the obligatory insurance forms.
Our driver then took us back to the G-Class and into the depths of the snowy quarry. He was very informative explaining the history of the vehicle, especially its use in the military and why the body shape has not changed in 33 years because of this important use. The body shape may be the same but the technology is totally up to date, as was demonstrated during our experience. The G-Class navigated the quarry without concern thanks to a range of features including independent suspension and differential locks, which can be activated individually and in a logically specified sequence.
I had a white knuckle moment when the driver took his foot off the brake, just as we started to roll down a steep descent. But I needn’t have worried, in the G-Class the brakes automatically kicked in and rolled us smoothly down. There were several other similar impressive demonstrations plus a few faster ascents to deal with some troublesome ice. We also agreed, as the car tilted on two wheels to a terrifying angle, that we should have turned on the ski tracker app on our phones to record the gradient!
All too soon our quarry exploration was over and we were back at reception. As a souvenir we posed for photos with the G-Class and were then whisked back to the resort. My only regret – if I’d packed my driving licence I could have been in the driver’s seat!
The experience is available in Kitzbuhel until early March but should be back again next year! By Anna Livesey