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C!DRIVE 2011 FORD MUSTANG gt 5.0

+2012 Fiat 500 Sport

2011 Chevrolet Cruze ECO 2011 MERCEDES-BENZ R350 BlueTEC 2011 chevrolet camaro ss convertible

2011 HONDA ACCORD 3.5 SV

With features on C! Women’s section, C! Fast Fleet, and our monthly buyer’s guide the ultimate automotive authority

Electric 2011 chevrolet volt AN EXCLUSIVE LOOK INTO CHEVY’S Current ELECTRIC DREAMS

FEATURES

SgD 7.50 MyR 12.00 ThB 225 UsD 4.50 KRW 9000

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Issue 113 • june 2011

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Fathers of the automotive Industry, 2011 NISSAN TEANA 350XV, & PLDT ALPHA Track Day

CROSSROADS

2011 Australian Grand Prix

NO FEAR NO LIMITS NO EQUAL Senna the movie

Power tripping Crazy horse powered

SYM GTS 300i EVO Go Big time


2011 MERCEDES-BENZ R350 BlueTEC≥ 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0≥ 2011 ChevROLET Cruze ECO≥ 2011 ChevROLET Camaro SS Convertible≥ 2012 Fiat 500 Sport≥

2011 Mercedes-Benz R350 BlueTEC

Escape from the

Mystic Mountain Words: Kevin C. Limjoco Photos: Isabel N. Delos Reyes

I

n my relentless pursuit of automotive adventures, I sometimes get more than I planned for. With the newly refreshed allwheel-drive 2011 Mercedes-Benz R350 BlueTEC booked for a sparky spring weekend, I decided to head for one of my favorite places on Earth, the majestic Mount Shasta in Siskiyou County, Northern California about 75 kilometers from the Oregon border. I only have the fondest childhood and teenage memories out there

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and felt that I was due to return to the mountain shrouded with awe, mystery, controversy and the extraterrestrial. Yes, you read it right. Even if you were not bombarded with all the incredible tales about the mountain, you can see why such stories exist merely by standing at its spectacular presence. Mount Shasta is not connected to any nearby mountain range. Similar to our own 3,366 foot Mount Arayat (which I climbed as a young buck in the early 80’s with my father and the late great U.S. Army Colonel Ray Benson, when the U.S. Bases were still intact), which also has its own very colorful background of stories about it, Mount Shasta rises abruptly and strikingly to 14,179 feet from the relatively flat lands that surround it. While Mount Arayat has its traditional folklore, Mount Shasta has that and so much more. Mount Shasta is considered by many to be a power center and beacon for extraterrestrial paranormal activity. However ridiculous it may sound, some people passionately still insist today that races of sentient or spiritual beings generally considered to be the ancient Lemurians, legendary survivors of the sinking continent of “Mu” over 12,000 years ago, live near and under the dormant volcano in the subterranean city of "Telos". Some hard-core believers and clairvoyants


also swear that Mount Shasta is a focus for angels, spirit-guides, UFO’s, and masters from the “Light Realm”. Even the Shasta Indian Nation has their own mystical and religious beliefs surrounding the mountain. In the end, there are no true scientific evidences to substantiate any of these said claims, and that is also taking into consideration all the consistent recorded UFO sightings there for decades now. I simply consider all of these fantasy stories to be entertaining until indisputably proved. Still there is something electric and powerful there, whether you consider it faith affirming or not, you feel a peculiar energy that cannot be articulated, you have to go there to experience it for yourself. Which is why perhaps I felt compelled to go there like a tractor beam of sorts or it is simply creating an opportunity to relive my youth. So here we were on yet another longdistance journey that would take us about 800 kilometers round trip from San Francisco in the newly face-lifted Mercedes Benz R350 BlueTEC, which thankfully does not resemble a hearse as much as before. The R-class is a maverick niche vehicle that maybe having a shrinking market segment. It has been a slowselling model worldwide not because it is a poor car which it certainly is not, but more because it is too focused on a particularly small segment in the buying market. The R-class when launched back in 2006 was

supposed to be an exciting premium fullsize MPV solution. It consequently could be purchased with several engine options in either short or long wheelbase, and all-wheeldrive (4MATIC) or rear-wheel drive only. The R-class was not a mini-van; the V-class took care of that. It was neither the M or GL SUV’s either. It was not a wagon because the E-class and C-class both had proper wagons too! So what was it? Has it changed now with the new model? With crossover vehicles being offered by almost every manufacturer you would think that the groundbreaking Mercedes Benz R-class would be the benchmark, it isn’t. Maybe its total replacement in 2016 might be the car it was meant to be. But for now I think the R-class got the much needed design upgrade where it needed it most, on the outside. The new R-class now has the consistent current corporate identity of the Mercedes Benz product range. The interior was a strong point even in the original model, the middle row being particularly comfortable if purchased with the captain’s chairs. The interior changes are minimal although there are equipment upgrades like better audio, a bit sharper rear camera and a revised instrument cluster. Unfortunately despite updated COMAND software, the navigational system and the rest of infotainment systems remain a carry-over. Our test unit’s well-supported seats were very comfortable and the cabin felt airy thanks to the panoramic roof. It had every single option installed but used the less powerful 3.0-liter BlueTEC Turbodiesel engine retuned for US-spec. For long-distance cruising on the interstate the R350 did perform satisfactorily but I have to protest that it was hardly frugal for a mildly powerful diesel and I needed that extra oomph from the Euro-spec engine when we eventually got to the outskirts of Shasta City. We did hear the weather reports on the radio and had checked the weather conditions online before leaving the hotel in San Francisco, yet we were not prepared for the subsequent scale of the blizzard that hit us on Highway CA-5! I should have taken the number of vehicles on the road, which

was minimal, as a sign of things to come. The R-class’ 19” run-flat tires were on the hard side on smooth pavement and proved to be as effective as a snowboard in the snow, and I don’t snowboard! The blizzard was so thick and heavy that the locals were mighty concerned which got us even more anxious and made me feel very vulnerable. The diesel engine had very good power off the line and when I needed to plow through heavy snow and ice at slow speeds but it would run out of juice with a bit heavier right foot. Beyond 3,000 rpm the engine felt like it was carrying the world’s problems on its shoulders. The steering felt like a generation older, slow, and unnecessarily numb. The suspension also felt too choppy and inconsistent, basically felt like I was still driving a 1st generation MLclass. I worked the 4MATIC all-wheel-drive, stability, and traction control systems to Olympic levels to get to our chalet in Mount Shasta where the snow fell to almost 2 feet thick in less than 10 hours! We never got to the base of Mount Shasta and had to escape before we got completely snowed in. The new R-class was ultimately effective, extremely capable, and versatile. It looks a lot better now too but the problem is that though the R is a very solid vehicle, it is not exemplary at anything. It doesn’t help that it is steeply priced and the competition is much better. This time around, the Silver Star on the hood is simply not a good enough argument and we will return the mountain in the near future!

specifications Model & variant: 2011 Mercedes-Benz R350 BlueTEC Engine: V6, 2987 cc, dohc 24V, Turbodiesel, 7-Speed

G-Tronic AT Max power: 210 bhp @ 3800 rpm Max torque: 400 lb ft @ 1600-2400 rpm 0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 8.4 sec. Top Speed: 210 km/h (130 mph) Governed Fuel Mileage: 18 mpg City & 24 mpg Highway Price as tested: US$ 64,860.00 + : Better looking than previous version, versatile,

effortless long distance all-weather cruiser – : Euro versions produce 55 bhp and 57 lb ft

more power yet is more fuel-efficient RATING: 8.9/10 JU N E 2011

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FEATURE

The boss gets Chiselled Words & Photos: Ardie O. Reyes

The 2011 Honda Accord 3.5 SV reveals a fresh gaze

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t’s always a precarious undertaking, updating a near-revolutionary creation. Getting a test drive and an immersive walk-through of the 8th generation Honda Accord’s new features a full year prior to its official 2008 release, this writer was convinced Honda engineers vacationing in Nevada accidentally stumbled upon alien technology and brought it home to use. Well that was 2007, and admittedly long distance pedestrian detection in total darkness was quite impressive - especially when presented alongside the workings of a single engine that shifts between 6, 4 and 3-cylinders in operation, seamlessly and on the fly. Honda did not pioneer

the variable cylinder engine, but just like the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), they perfected it. For a car that’s been voted Car of the Year for several consecutive years in the U.S., the Accord’s latest innovations then were nothing short of astounding, as they certainly redefined the car. If it were of a premium European marquee, some of its high-tech features to enhance the occupants’ comfort may not be quite as impressive. But for a Japanese executive sedan priced at around PhP2 million, active engine mounts to reduce engine vibration and an audio system that automatically emits a (inaudible) noise-cancelling tone to make


the cabin a lot quieter, definitely are. In 2011, those are still class-leading features, just like its interior which is still the roomiest in its category. The Accord 3.5 SV rewards the driver with a commanding driving feel which it delivers quite effortlessly. Rated at 271 brake horsepower and with 250 lb ft. of torque, acceleration is immense as it is smooth, and it doesn’t lose its composure even when driven hard. Drive-by-wire steering remains precise. It always keeps the driver feeling connected – in total control and in total comfort. It’d be virtually impossible not to find your best driving position on its black leatherclad seat since it has an 8-way power adjustable

JU N E 2011

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COVER STORY

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Words: KEVIN C. LIMJOCO Photos: ISABEL N. DE LOS REYES

JU N E 2011

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C!Magazine June 2011  
C!Magazine June 2011  

ON SALE NOW! C! Magazine June 2011. We feature 5 new drives, the 2011 Honda Accord 3.5 SV, and the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

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