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01 • 2016



The Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupé

AM G A 45





PURPOSE BUILT Architects without frontiers

FESTIVAL SEASON Testing new tastes

ROOM TO MOVE The spacious, high-tech GLS


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The new Mercedes-AMG The title saysAit45 all:with the sparkling Festival ofgreen AMG.elbaite It conjures up images of extravagant prestige metallicmotoring paintwork means this is a car thatPanorama simply in July, that’s what was on offer to an and, at Bathurst’s Mount cannotexclusive be ignored. As of forAMG elbaite itself, it isTaking the test-driving to new levels, participants group customers. most valuable form oftotourmaline minerals were treated a week-long feast ofand hothas laps and precision handling in the car unique optical properties, which, whenspeed-machines viewed from to celebrate the cutting-edge world company’s elite suite of AMG different of angles, can make it appear as if the the brand’s performance wing. Of mineral the 63 cars, the highlights were undoubtedly different colours and Ctones. theisgutsy Mercedes-AMG 63 S and the impressive new AMG GTS. It’s enough to make anyone For more, see page 14. green with envy. For more, see page 28.

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CONTENTS 1 • 2 0 1 6


28 14

42 5 INTRO Painterly qualities. 8 CH E CK I N Jet upgrade with Magic Sky Technology; Canva’s design eye, building roads with plastic; Argentina’s Ruta 40.

2 8 G R EEN M AC HI N E The new AMG A 45 hatch is the slickest, sportiest hatch in town. 3 6 R EACH FO R T H E STA R S The first A-Class, launched in 1997, was out of this world.

14 ORC H E ST R AL MANO E U V RES The Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupé makes sweet music on a mountain drive.

3 8 SW IS H S EVEN -S EAT E R This luxury SUV sports a plush interior and high-tech features – and there is plenty of room to spare.

22 H A RD S H E L L S OF T CE N T R E A look at how Nico Rosberg’s ultra-high-tech helmet is designed to protect its most precious cargo.

4 2 P UR P OS E B UI LT Founder of Architects Without Frontiers, Esther Charlesworth, on matching form with function.

CAB audited Sept 2015 81,419

Hardie Grant Media / Private Bag 1600, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia 3141 / tel: 61 3 8520 6444 / Managing director Jeff Trounce / Publisher Keri Freeman / Managing editor Lucy Siebert / Editor Helen Kaiser Art direction & design Dallas Budde / Pre-press Splitting Image Colour / Print Offset Alpine Editorial / Advertising

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56 60



46 P E AK PE RFE CTI O N Sit back and relax: the new Maybach S 600 takes luxury motoring to the next altitude.

6 0 A Q UEST I O N O F TA STE How food festivals are shaping Australia’s evolving culinary trends.

50 C H E CK O U T Mercedes me is coming to Melbourne; Uluru shines brightly, the Olympic flame lights up Brazil.

6 6 O U TBAC K AI R SA FA R I Australia’s vast continent offers majestical and stunning landscapes and witnessing them from the air is simply the best travel option around.

56 VO GU E P R E S E N TS Editor Edwina McCann on the synergies in spring fashion collections and luxury motoring design.

7 4 I CO N S Keep your distance – cultural norms when it comes to space; the Arctic tern clocks up 50,000km a year; DISTRONIC PLUS with Stop&Go.

Mercedes-Benz magazine is published by Hardie Grant Media for Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific Pty Ltd / 44 Lexia Place, Mulgrave, Victoria, Australia 3170 tel: 61 3 9566 9266 / / Mercedes-Benz Marketing Caroline Bowen and Jerry Stamoulis / Enquiries No responsibility is accepted by Mercedes-Benz or Hardie Grant for the accuracy of any statement or advice contained in the text or advertisements. Formula 1® and F1® are registered trademarks. All material appearing in Mercedes-Benz magazine is copyright. ©2016 DETAILS O F T HE ENTIR E MERC EDES-B EN Z RANG E A R E AVAIL A BL E O N LI N E AT M E RC E D E S - BE N Z. COM . AU

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CHECK IN Technology Mobility Research




S OU T H AFRICA N MIKE HO R N , aged 49, does things the hard way: in 1997, he travelled down the Amazon on a riverboard and a boat; in 1999, he traced the equator around the world without using motorised transport; and between 2008 and 2012, he circumnavigated the globe singlehandedly in a sailboat. In May 2015, he set off on a new mission: ‘Drive 2 Climb 2 Ski K2’. For 15 days he and alpinists Fred Roux and Köbi Reichen drove two Mercedes G-Class models from Switzerland to Pakistan with the aim of climbing K2 and descending on skis. But, after completing the drive, they were stuck for weeks at the foot of the 8611-metre mountain waiting for good weather and had to abort several attempts at the summit. After spending more than a month gazing at K2, Horn’s comment was: “You can cope with failure in such a beautiful setting.” Anyway, those who know him say he will be back… M I K E H O R N . C O M

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S TA R I N T H E S K Y In partnership with Lufthansa, Mercedes designers have come up with a jet interior for the more discerning passenger. It combines sumptuous materials with ‘Magic Sky Technology’, which uses special panels to transform the cabin windows into displays.

Leading Paris–based provider of connected devices Wistiki has designed a new collection of four intuitive accessories. The FOUND YOU! range is designed by French designer and architect Philippe Starck and features elegant devices designed to locate belongings from a smartphone, using a free app. Each gadget is equipped with advanced tracking features and is available in four Pantone colours. The voila! seamlessly attaches to keys or sentimental items. The self-adhesive hopla! is a slim 3mm, designed to fit inside a wallet, purse or other flat surface. Completing the collection are the aha!, a medal–shaped tag, which attaches to pet collars, and the ta-da!, a soft toy for children with integrated Wistiki tracking technology. INDIEGOGO.COM


The world’s lightest carbon fibre folding bicycle weighs in at just 6.5kg – a whopping 3kg lighter than its closest competitor. The Hummingbird is entirely designed and built in Britain and has been created with both short journeys, involving a train or tram, and longer trips, in a car or a plane, in mind. The bike also includes components from prototyping 3D printers and CAM machines used by the automotive industry. HUMMINGBIRDBIKE.COM





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Together with Simon Jorritsma, a civil engineer working for Dutch company KWS Infra, this two-man team has developed a road surface made of recycled plastic. They’re convinced the plastic road will pave the way of the future.

How did you come up with the idea of making roads out of plastic? We were looking for an alternative to asphalt, which mainly consists of bitumen. That is derived from oil, which will at some stage run out. We discard tons of plastic every year, plus it has various advantages compared with asphalt. For example? The plastic road consists of modules and can therefore be built about three times as fast as a conventional road. It is also much easier to repair. The material is considerably more durable than asphalt and is likely to last three times as long, which means the overall costs will be lower. We can also integrate cavities into it.

Doesn’t plastic tend to become slippery? You can solve that problem by adding sand, but we would prefer to fi nd the answer by using the material itself. A bigger problem is the fact that plastic expands and contracts as the temperature changes. We either have to artificially maintain the road surface at an even temperature or make the plastic mixture temperature-resistant.


When will we start driving on plastic roads? If we can fi nd the right partners, the fi rst pilot roads could be tested in two to three years’ time. A couple of years later, the fi rst plastic public road would come into use.

Smell the fresh air, taste the icy mountain water and feel the touch of New Zealand’s unspoilt natural landscapes with a new partnership from Google. This sees the tech giant teaming up with the country’s Department of Conservation to harness Street View technology to highlight seven of New Zealand’s most stunning and iconic walks and treks to people all over the world. What’s the benefit? Anyone thinking of taking a journey to Middle Earth can experience some of the beauty of the landscape thanks to 360 degree panoramic views, while those who don’t have the time to make the physical journey now, can still get a virtual taste of what New Zealand’s great outdoors has to offer.


What’s the point of the cavities? Pipes and cabling could easily be laid through them. They also gather rainwater and help it run off, which avoids flooding.

G O O G L E . C O M / M A P S / S T R E E T V I E W/ # G R E A T - W A L K S - O F - N E W - Z E A L A N D

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WAT E R W O R L D Barcelona–based firm Forward Thinking Architecture has come up with an idea for solving the problem of providing the world with food and energy: farms that float on oceans, rivers and lakes. Multi-storey modules measuring 200 by 350 metres anchored near large cities would be used to automatically produce 8000 tons of vegetables per year and 2000 tons of fish, as well as solar energy.



600 S I M U L AT I O N S

and more than 150 actual crash tests are carried out on every Mercedes before it goes into production. From now on, these will take place in the world’s most modern test centre: bigger than a soccer pitch and costing more than $152 million, it enables complex intersection and pre-crash situations to be simulated.

DESIGN EYE With six million users worldwide and a clutch of Silicon Valley investors, Australian online graphic design company Canva has been named the Coolest Company in Tech. CEO Melanie Perkins, who is Australia’s second richest woman under 40, is leading the company’s expansion in Sydney and Manila, with the aim of making graphic design accessible to everyday people. C A N V A . C O M

N O R WAY W O R L D LEADER IN E - CARS The success of electric vehicles depends not only on technology but also on external factors, and, according to client-services firm McKinsey, Norway has the best conditions for e-cars. The company’s Electric Vehicle Index takes into account factors such as market share, infrastructure for charging cars and government subsidies. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11


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Cuesta de Miranda Ruta Nacional 40 URUGUAY Buenos Aires ARGENTINA

NAME OF HIG HWAY – Ruta 40 (North) LE NGTH – 112 kilometres BE ND S – 32


SHORT BUT SWEET They say you should take at least 40 days to drive Ruta 40, but three months would be even better. The legendary highway crosses Argentina from the Bolivian frontier to Patagonia, taking in 14 national parks and some 5000 kilometres. Given few people will have time to drive its entire length, the best idea is to concentrate on one particularly impressive section in the north. This runs through remote, copper-coloured hills and mountains from Cuesta de Miranda to the border between La Rioja and San Juan provinces. Part serpentine, part straight, it offers ample scope for relaxed cruising and views of sun-kissed valleys.


36 cameras are triggered when the Panono Camera is thrown into the air and reaches its highest point. Catch it, and you can view the resulting photographs from a 360° perspective – both horizontal and vertical. You can also put it on a tripod or operate it remotely with an app. PANONO.C OM



S E E -T H R O U G H T R U C K? Safe to overtake? Driving behind a truck requires a combination of nerves and concentration. Samsung’s wireless camera mounted on the front of a truck films traffic coming in the other direction and displays it on four monitors at the rear of the vehicle. Infrared technology means it can also be used after dark.


An acoustic barrier can do a lot more than just reduce traffic noise. Scientists at Eindhoven University in the Netherlands have developed one that not only looks good but also generates energy. The concept has been undergoing testing since 2014. Colourful, semi-transparent panels made of a special material absorb sunshine and transfer it in concentrated form to conventional solar cells. The scientists claim a one kilometre-long barrier can supply 50 households with energy and not only under ideal conditions, as the so-called LSC modules also function under overcast skies.

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MANOEUVRES IMPRESSIVE ENOUGH to hold a stage alone, the latest high-performance Mercedes-AMG C 63 S CoupĂŠ is perfectly in tune with its more mainstream relatives. WORDS BY JACK JONES

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’m not twirling through the snow-covered peaks of Austria, but the hills are alive to the sound of music. Sweet, sweet music. Instead, I’m dancing along a ribbon of tarmac that snakes its way along the side of a picturesque Spanish ridge, overlooking whitewashed villages and olive groves, and the music machine is the latest Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupé, its V8 belting out a bellowing soundtrack and its tyres scrabbling as they try to harness its grunt into grip. Due to arrive in Australian showrooms alongside the more mainstream C-Class Coupé variants in April 2016, the fire-breathing four seater amplifies all the brilliant attributes of the newest C 63 S Sedan with a tougher-looking and more stylish body, and an exclusive rear axle that heightens its dynamic abilities.

Under the bonnet resides a 4.0-litre twinturbo V8 that generates 375kW and 700Nm, driving the rear wheels through an exclusive AMG seven-speed transmission. The engine’s outputs are enough to propel the Coupé from 0–100km/h in 3.9 seconds and to a top speed of 290km/h. Not only does the high-tech V8 generate more power and significantly more torque across a wider range of revs than the naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 it replaces, but the smaller-capacity motor helps reduce fuel consumption to a claimed 8.7L/100km. Harnessing the power to the road through wide rear tyres, the coupé has an electronically controlled, limited slip differential, with a unique rear axle that has been redesigned from the sedan with completely revised geometry and an overall track width 25mm wider on each side.

Restrained style

In tune with the widened front end, the C 63 requires all-new bodywork with only the roof, doors and boot panel shared between the AMG and mainstream models. With its signature front bumper featuring gaping air intakes, along with its flared guards, powerdomed bonnet and race-derived rear end with an F1-style diffuser in the lower section, the C 63 S looks muscular and purposeful from every angle, yet still maintains an element of restrained style. That duplicitous character is showcased in the way it drives. On the road, in its default Comfort setting (one of five that also includes Sport, Sport+, Individual and Race), the V8 is restrained by a soft throttle map. The transmission shifts smoothly into the highest ratio as quickly as possible to save fuel – along

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MERCEDES-AMG C 63 S EDITION 1 Its ability to accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 3.9 seconds means that owners of Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupés are unlikely to ever be late. They will also certainly stand out from the crowd, with only a limited number of Edition 1 models being available when the car arrives in showrooms.

EARNING ITS STRIPES The C 63 S Coupé Edition 1 comes in matte grey paint with stunning yellow graphics along its flanks and wheel rims.

with a stop-start system in traffic – the steering is light yet fulsome and the subdued exhaust note emits only a hint of its ultimate potential. The adaptive suspension is also at its most relaxed, soaking up road irregularities with a degree of finesse and comfort that makes it easy to live with in everyday situations, but the C 63 S is all about the other end of the driving experience, and it doesn’t disappoint. Flick the Switch into Sport+ and the gearbox immediately drops a few cogs, the throttle sharpens, the steering gets meatier and the exhaust opens its lungs with a crackling bellow. It also accelerates with ferocity, building speed effortlessly thanks to its monstrous pulling power, with peak torque achieved at just 1750rpm, and remaining just as strong right through to 4500rpm. When Sport Handling mode is engaged, however, it allows just

Using the same mechanical underpinnings as the S model, the Edition 1 picks up a host of unique visual and performance upgrades, including standard fitment of the AMG Aerodynamic Package (an exclusive front splitter, wider side skirts and a boot lid spoiler – all in gloss black) and AMG Night Package (tinted glass, chrome front grille and exhaust tips). In addition, the Edition 1 is equipped with carbon composite brakes and staggered 19-inch and 20-inch alloy wheels. From a visual perspective, you can’t miss it either. The Edition 1 will come exclusively in matte grey paint with yellow graphics along its flanks, a racing stripe that extends from the bonnet over the roof and into the boot and on the outer rim of the wheels.

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SE T TING THE PACE Five settings allow drivers to opt for a leisurely experience in Comfort, or to select Race and arrive with an even bigger smile.

BALANCE BETWEEN PERFORMANCE AND EFFICIENCY. enough slip for a dynamic exit but brings a degree of control so ham-fisted reactions don’t result in you facing the wrong direction. Where the Coupé really stands out is in the way it handles through the faster bends. The rear end of the Coupé provides greater traction and promotes a better overall balance. The front-end turns in with immediate precision and follows the line with masses of mid-corner grip, and the rear trailing the same line securely. For a more relaxed experience, there are other C-Class Coupé variants that offer a fraction of the C 63’s performance but maintains a similar level of style and sophistication. Initially available in three, four-cylinder models – a base-level C 200, mid-spec C 250 d and top-line C 300, with the Coupé measuring 95mm longer, 40mm wider and riding on a wheelbase with an additional 80mm between the axles than its predecessor. The C 200 is powered by a 2-litre turbo-charged four cylinder petrol engine that generates 135kW and 300Nm, drives the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic and has a claimed average fuel consumption of 5.4L/100km. The C 250 d is quicker and yet more efficient with its turbo diesel engine producing 150kW/500Nm and claimed to consume just 4.2L/100km, while the C 300 is the most powerful non-AMG model at present with its high-output petrol engine delivering 180kW/370Nm while drinking an average of 6.3L/100km. The 250 d offers a near perfect balance between performance and efficiency; the engine delivers effortless acceleration and cruising ability due to its surge of low-rev pulling power and the nine-speed automatic. It feels strong with its smooth delivery, willing top-end and a subdued exhaust note under acceleration, but the C 300 is even sweeter. The petrol engine doesn’t have the same level of low-end surge, but it revs faster and sounds even sportier. In the end, the C-Class Coupé creates a stylish family; one that is ideal for a choreographed twirl through the twisties.

i C 63 S Coupé Engine / output

4.0 litre twin-turbo V8; 375kW; max. torque 700Nm


AMG seven-speed automatic

Drive configuration Rear-wheel drive

The choice is yours

Available in three, four-cylinder models – a base-level C 200, mid-spec C 250 d and top-line C 300.

In shape

Muscular from every angle: signature front bumper, flared guards, power-domed bonnet and race-derived rear end with an F1-style diffuser.

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Only Nico Rosberg knows what goes on in his head during a race but what protects him (up top) is an ultra-high-tech racing helmet. Its creator explains the craft behind its manufacture.

hard shell soft centre Words A nton i na G e r n

P h oto s F i l i p p o Cata l d o

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READY FOR ACTION The Schuberth brand in Magdeburg, Germany has precision-made 92 helmets for Nico Rosberg over the years.

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nce, Sven Krieter didn’t really know what to make of Formula 1®. The past 10 years, however, have been spent at the sharp end of grand prix action in his role as protector-inchief of drivers’ craniums. He ensures they can (literally) keep a cool head and continue to see clearly even when the weather isn’t playing along. Today, Krieter is busy applying a rubber lip to the edge of a black helmet, turning it constantly, wiping away excess adhesive and pressing the elastic material firmly with three fingers as he explains the technology behind it. Welcome to the headgear specialist’s workplace in the German city of Magdeburg. The finished item will protect the head of Nico Rosberg in his next race for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Team. Helmet manufacturer Schuberth supplies five Formula 1® drivers, and Krieter is one of the company’s key figures, the face of the long-established helmet-maker’s motorracing activities. The 40-year-old travels with the Formula 1® circus to all the races and testing dates on the calendar, which means he racks up more than a quarter of a million kilometres in the air every year, and he wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. Krieter, who trained as a heating and ventilation system fitter, hesitated before taking up the F1® job, such was the initially overawing nature of the assignment. However, after sleeping on it and taking an intensive English language course, he accepted the offer. “My first race was Silverstone in 2005. I’d never flown anywhere before,” he recalls, “let alone somewhere as hectic as Heathrow. Then there was driving on the left-hand side of the road without a navigation system. It was tough.” Thinking back to those early days makes him smile.

Hand-made, high-tech

Each year, Krieter and his three colleagues make 80 helmets for F1® drivers, plus 20 for the DTM touring car series and about 150 for general sale. Amateur drivers may buy an SF1, Schuberth’s racing helmet, for €5000 (A$7630). A small workshop has been set up especially for making helmets in part of the state-of-the-art Schuberth factory. Here, Krieter and his team work on the helmets with the help of special tools, measuring instruments and high-end adhesives. It’s a fine example of the

The drivers have to feel good. We try out different variants of the helmet until everything is right. SVEN KRIETER

role still played by exclusive craftsmanship in the high-tech business of Formula 1®. The helmet shell is prefabricated from 19 layers of carbon fibre using a type of pressure oven called an autoclave. The individual layers are laid one on top of the other, placed in a vacuum and baked in the autoclave at up to six bar of pressure at 170–200°C. The monocoque safety cells of F1® cars are manufactured using the same method. Due to its ability to maximise material strength, this ultra-sophisticated procedure is also applied in the aerospace industry. Nico Rosberg uses the middle of the three helmet shell sizes produced. Krieter and his team are handed the hardened and painted helmet shells for the finishing stage. The sponsors’ logos and Rosberg’s personal designs are applied by airbrush before the team turns the shells into finished helmets. The shell protects against fire (the helmet has to withstand temperatures up to 740°C) and fragmentation, but without the right shock absorption that would mean nothing.

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To this end, the shell has an inner lining of high-grade multi-zone foam, of the type used by all helmets. The technicians then add special shock-absorbing foam to the lining. This is the standout feature of the lining in Schuberth helmets and remains a source of pride for the company. The formula behind the foam is secret, but we do know that it consists of two components. It is a method that was already in use when Schuberth arrived in F1® in 2000. Former Mercedes reserve driver Nick Heidfeld was the first to use Schuberth helmets and was soon followed by Ralf and Michael Schumacher. Nico Rosberg has trusted in the Magdeburg-based firm’s products since his days in junior racing and, as we speak, Krieter is working on helmet number 92 for the Wiesbaden–born driver.

It’s not art, but precision craftsmanship. Excess hot glue from the helmet-making process is collected on a sheet of paper.

Not everyone wants everything

Up to this stage, all the company’s race helmets are identical, save for the shell size and paint finish. Only now does the customisation process begin. The padding for the helmet is made using precise head and face measurements taken from the driver. The idea is for the head to be held firmly inside the helmet, while still allowing some room to manoeuvre. “The drivers have to feel good,” says Krieter. “Together we try out different variants of the helmet until everything is just right.” The drivers also have the last word on visors and the special mini-spoilers on the forehead area and back of the helmet. Rosberg prefers a top spoiler, while others don’t have any of these aerodynamic aids, designed to minimise the effect of lift at high speed, in the interests of saving weight. A finished race helmet weighs 1350–1500 grams. Krieter has six different types of visor on hand for each helmet at each F1® weekend. “When it’s raining, I screw on the clear visor,” he explains. “Then we have the variants with 50 and 80 per cent tinting.” All visors are available in three different colours. Before the drivers head out onto the track, Krieter sticks tear-off strips onto their visors, which the drivers have to be able to whip off in a single movement at speeds of 320km/h, should they get dirty or mist up. “Nico never wants more than three or four of them, whereas other drivers have seven or eight,” notes the expert. Rosberg and the helmet technician are in direct contact at the track. From time to time, his physiotherapist also calls up, “If Nico needs a spare part, new pads, a different visor or some other item, because he has a suggestion for a possible improvement”.

WOOD WORK The experts use a faceless bust to check whether the padding is right. This size of bust roughly equates to Nico Rosberg’s measurements. Before testing begins, a pair of ears made from modelling wax is attached to the head in order to test whether the helmet can be taken on and off without any problems.

PAINT JOB The shell has an inner lining made of high-grade multi-zone foam and special shock-absorbing foam. Krieter then applies black paint using a brush to ensure the helmet also has a uniform look on the inside. Should it not fit quite perfectly, Krieter is on hand at every F1® race to make the necessary adjustments.

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On one occasion recently, however, Rosberg had to accept the limits of what is possible. “Nico was wondering if we could make a visor in the same colour as his personal nameplate on the side of his helmet. We tried all sorts of things, but we weren’t able to produce that exact shade and still ensure the visor met safety stipulations.” Although things don’t always work out, Krieter tries to make as many wishes come true as possible. “The key areas for drivers are ventilation and lightness,” he points out. Every year brings new, lighter helmet shells, and these are tested for safety in a special laboratory before they go into series production. The 10 holes in the chin and forehead area and in the visor are designed to channel 10 litres of fresh air around the driver’s head at speeds of 100km/h. “In the past, the air was simply blown onto a driver’s head and face. Now we channel it rearwards over the top of the head, where it escapes through six ventilation holes,” explains Krieter. These nuances enhance aerodynamics as well. A race helmet works similarly to the car’s diffuser,

so it’s no surprise the helmets are tested in their own wind tunnel.

Mechanics in skiing helmets

The latest idea involves two additional holes channelling air around the visor to prevent misting. If this innovation proves itself in the wind tunnel and produces good crash-test results, it will go into series production. Ahead of the race in Monaco, the service team also screwed a new high-tech visor, designed to sharpen visibility, onto Rosberg’s helmet. “Nico’s seeing everything as if it’s in HD now,” says Krieter. Like all visors, this one had also been impacted with steel balls shot from an air gun device in a test lab. In 2015, Schuberth became an official supplier to the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1® Team. The mechanics in the pit lane wear the SK1 ski helmet, which is available in a limited edition. Plus, the crew operating the jacks at the car’s front and rear are protected by Schuberth’s SR1 integral motorcycle helmet.

CLEAR VISION With his custom-made helmet, Nico Rosberg focuses on qualifying in Singapore.



CLEAR VISION From inside his custom-made helmet Rosberg focuses on qualifying in Singapore.

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THE HOTTEST high-performance pocket rocket in town, the new Mercedes-AMG A 45’s sporty package is full of surprises. WO R D S JAC K J ONE S


GREEN WITH ENVY The Mercedes-AMG A 45 has received a stunning mid-generation facelift, ensuring it’s the sportiest hatch around.

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The AMG A 45 has been updated with a mid-generation facelift that sees it produce even more power as well as upgrades to its suspension.

< Accessed via a new rotary dial in the centre console, the different modes alter the overall character of the A 45 through the shift pattern of the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, throttle sensitivity and assistance from the power steering. The transmission itself has also come in for a few tweaks, with sharper shifts in its performance settings and lowered ratios in third through seventh gear that improve its responsiveness at highway speeds. A mechanical limited slip differential has been added to the options list, providing enthusiasts with even more grip through the bends. These mechanical changes are accompanied by a series of subtle external design tweaks, such as new LED headlamps, redesigned tail lamps and its twin exhaust pipes integrated into the rear bumper. There is a host of new features in the cabin, including a new steering wheel, and a freestanding eight-inch media screen.

POCKET ROCKET The four-cylinder high-performance machine has a powerful standard all-wheel drive configuration.



our-point-two seconds. There you go, by the time you’ve read that number, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC has already rocketed past 100km/h. That figure alone is staggering, and one that makes the three-pointed star’s updated hot hatch one of the fastest on the planet, but it also places the pocket rocket in genuine supercar territory – for a quarter of the price. The Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC, the first fourcylinder high-performance machine from the famed high-performance division, already set new benchmarks when it arrived in showrooms in 2013, with its 2-litre turbocharged engine, to become the most powerful four-cylinder production engine. But time marches on just as quickly as it accelerates, and the AMG A 45 has been updated with a mid-generation facelift that sees it produce even more power as well as upgrades to its suspension and new technologies that improve its sport and comfort options, handling and connectivity. At the heart of it, the 2.0-litre turbo-charged four-cylinder has been tweaked to produce an additional 15kW of power and 25Nm more torque to boost its overall outputs to 280kW and 475Nm – numbers that were the domain of big-bore V8s less than a decade ago. The increased performance has lowered the hatch’s official 0–100km/h time by almost half a second. Part of that is due to its standard allwheel drive configuration, which means power is delivered to the ground with maximum traction and a multi-plate clutch capable of apportioning up to 50 per cent of its drive to the rear wheels when required. New for the 2016 AMG A 45 are adaptive dampers that offer multiple driving modes, which, in the Comfort setting, improve its ride quality, while the Sport, Sport+ and Race settings increase its handling at the limit with better body control.

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< For those who need to get the kids to school in a hurry, the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 is powered by a 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 that generates 430kW and 760Nm.

SHINY AND NEW New features include adaptive dampers that offer multiple driving modes and an updated transmission.

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The increased performance has lowered the hatchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s official 0â&#x20AC;&#x201C;100km/h time by almost half a second.

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F I L M S TA R The Mercedes-AMG A 45 exiting the “Turbine Shop” on Sydney’s Cockatoo Island – once used to assemble ships’ engines, it is now used for filming of Hollywood movies.

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h i g h -t e c h The A-Class range is the first variants to offer high-tech smartphone integration with Apple CarPlayâ&#x201E;˘.


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THE NEW MERCEDES-AMG A 45 VISITS COCKATOO ISLAND Now a tourist attraction, Cockatoo Island is one of Australia’s most precious historical sites and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The island played a pivotal role in shaping the development of Sydney’s emergence from a convict settlement to an industrialised economy. The island’s history dates back to the first European settlement when overcrowding on Norfolk Island prompted the governor of New South Wales to establish Cockatoo Island as a convict penal colony for criminals who had re-offended in the colony, operating from 1839 to 1869. Prisoners were put to work quarrying stone used for construction projects around Sydney, building structures like prison barracks, and completing the decade long construction of the Fitzroy Dock – Australia’s first dry dock – to service Royal Navy and other ships. In response to a severe drought, convicts also constructed impressive underground silos to store wheat, which still exist today.

i Mercedes-AMG A 45 Engine / output 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo, 280kW; max. torque 475Nm Transmission 7-speed dual clutch transmission Drive configuration Standard all-wheel drive Powerful player The AMG A 45 uses 7.3L/100km of premium unleaded fuel.

The AMG A 45 – and the rest of the A-Class range – will be the first Mercedes-Benz variants to offer high-tech smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay™ available on cars built from December 2015. The additional features, and extra performance, come on top of an already extensive list of standard equipment that includes sat nav, digital radio, leather-cloaked AMG performance seats, 19-inch alloy wheels and a panoramic sunroof. From a safety perspective, the AMG A 45 has nine airbags, automated emergency braking, DISTRONIC PLUS active cruise control and lanekeeping assist. The AMG A 45 offers serious bang for your buck with a level of performance that eclipses performance cars costing twice as much. Just < remember four-point-two seconds. That’s all…

Once the NSW government closed the prison and international shipping increased, the dockyards and shipbuilding activities on the island promptly expanded. In 1913 the Commonwealth Government purchased Cockatoo Island to build major naval vessels and it became the naval dockyard of the Royal Australian Navy. Cockatoo Island was later established as the main ship repair facility in the southwest Pacific. Shipbuilding on the island played a critical role in the development of the Royal Australian Navy. Cockatoo Island continued as Australia’s primary ship-building facility until 1991, significantly contributing to Australia’s maritime history.

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Forerunners and variants of the first generation A-Class


At 2.5 metres long, this short-distance vehicle shows how small a Mercedes can be.



The concept car with an A in its name is presented in Frankfurt. One technical feature is its sandwich construction.

METEORIC In 1996 and 1997, the Hale-Bopp comet comes so close to the Earth that at times it is visible to the naked eye. Tiger Woods (right) wins his first Augusta Masters in 1997 and goes on to dominate golf over the coming decade.



The ‘New Electric Car 3’ based on the A-Class has an electric motor and fuel cells that convert methanol into hydrogen.


A 19 0 T W I N

With a 1.9-litre engine at its heart, this concept car produces 184kW of power and reaches 100km/h in 5.7 seconds.

OU T O F T H I S WOR L D The NASA rover Sojourner explores Mars from July 4 to September 27, 1997. However, it is presumed that its batteries then go on to freeze. That same year, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, regarded as a milestone in architectural history, opens its doors.



An SL based on the A-Class: the 3.77-metre concept roadster draws the crowds at the Detroit Auto Show.

H E L L O D O L LY The cloned sheep Dolly is presented to the public in 1997 when she is six months old. In 2003, she contracts a serious lung infection and has to be put down. 36

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ou can’t always be the first in the world, not even with a star embellishing your radiator grille. So maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised that on July 4, 1997, the vehicle that slowly bumped its way across an area of stony terrain called Ares Vallis was a NASA rover rather than a Mercedes-Benz. The six-wheeled Sojourner was the first man-made craft to travel over the surface of another planet. In fact, given that there is no evidence that creatures from outer space can construct motor vehicles, we can safely say that Sojourner was the first ever automobile on Mars, albeit a remote-controlled one. Back on Earth, 1997 was also a year of impressive achievements for vehicle builders. For example, in October, the rocket-powered ThrustSSC broke the sound barrier, reaching a record-beating 1277 kilometres per hour in a desert in Jordan. Meanwhile, Mercedes engineers in Stuttgart were venturing into uncharted territory with a vehicle concept that was rather more down-toearth than a Mars rover or a rocket-propelled race car: the new A-Class. The design team, headed by Bruno Sacco, started out by analysing and deconstructing the DNA of a typical automobile and then putting it back together again. “Forget everything you’ve ever learned,” Sacco told his colleagues. So it was, in 1997, after more than four years of solid development work, the front-wheel drive A-Class was introduced to the world. Some of its pioneering elements, a forwardtilted engine and a space-saving sandwich design, are now commonly used to enhance vehicle safety.

1997: Mercedes-Benz ventures into new territory with the A-Class and elsewhere, too, pioneering achievements are being made.

< CHECKMATE The computer ‘Deep Blue’ beat reigning world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a tournament in 1997.

During his work on the A-Class, Sacco rigorously adhered to the maxim: “A Mercedes-Benz always looks like a Mercedes-Benz.” Nevertheless, his masterpiece was different: it was compact, yet spacious, and came with a silhouette to match the zeitgeist of the dawning millennium. The future was evident in other areas of life as well: in the world of architecture, for example, Frank Gehry was putting the finishing touches to his Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, northern Spain. With its strikingly twisted façade, the futuristic building was to trigger an economic upswing in the entire region. The rocket car’s world record also proved to be a lasting one; it < remains unbeaten to this day.

DONE! After more than four years of development work, the team under designer-in-chief Bruno Sacco presented the first A-Class in 1997. Mercedes-Benz magazine 37

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Mercedes-Benz magazine DRIVE


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THE NEW GLS sports a host of beautifully designed features, a plush interior and some high-tech additions. Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a sneak peek of this luxury SUV, which can do so much more than simply get the family around in style. LEADING A DOUBLE LIFE S BY JACK J O N E S The newWORD C 350 e has a 4-cylinder gasoline engine producing 155 kW along with a 60 kW electric motor. 39 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benzmagazine magazine3939

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here’s a little bit of the S-Class in the revised flagship SUV. The GL has been brought in-line with the company’s new naming policy to become the GLS but, more than just the extra letter, the seven-seater receives a host of visual enhancements and a more luxurious interior that elevates its upmarket position. Revealed at the Los Angeles motor show in November, the most prominent styling change is the new grille treatment, which features an oversized three-pointed star and twin blade adornment to provide the GL successor with a bolder front end appearance. There’s also a new front bumper, revised LED headlights with intelligent light system and altered tail lights, a re-profiled rear bumper and newly styled wheels. The updated interior adopts a new dashboard, featuring the latest tablet-style multimedia screen in combination with a touch pad controller between the front seats, altered instrument graphics and a new three-spoke, leather-bound, multi-function steering wheel.

i Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4MATIC Engine / output 5.5-litre twin turbo V8, 430kW; 760Nm Transmission 7-speed automatic gearbox Making an impression The grille treatment features the three-pointed star and twin blade adornment, plus a new front bumper and revised LED headlights.

Big picture thinking

As with the GL, the new GLS has seating for up to seven passengers in three rows of seats. With all seats in use, the 300-litre boot space is adequate for daily duties and small luggage pieces but, it expands to a generous 680 litres in five-seat configuration and rises to a minivan-like 2300 litres when the middle row of seats is stowed. The standard engine line-up includes both carry over and upgraded petrol and diesel units, each providing added economy and reduced CO2 emissions compared to the previous GL range, mostly owing to the adoption of a new ninespeed automatic gearbox with optional low range gearing and electronic differential locks. On the petrol side there is a twin-turbocharged 4.7-litre V8 that kicks out an additional 15kW over its predecessor at 335kW in the GLS 500 4MATIC. As before, there is a single diesel variant in the form of a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6. For those who need to get the kids to school on time, the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 is powered

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< For those who need to get the kids to school on time, the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 is powered by a 5.5-litre, twin-turbo V8 that generates 430kW and 760Nm.

by a 5.5-litre, twin-turbo V8 that generates 430kW and 760Nm. The GLS is also offered with DYNAMIC SELECT, featuring up to six driving programs, including comfort, slippery, sport, individual, off-road and, in models equipped with the off-road engineering package, off-road +, the latter of which activates low-range gearing and centre differential as well as raising the nominal ride height to provide 306mm of ground clearance and a fording depth of 600mm. Further changes are centred around the

vehicleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s standard AIRMATIC air suspension system. It has updated three-chamber dampers that provide improved self-levelling properties for a more comfortable ride. Buyers also have the option the new Mercedes-Benz SUV with the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM, which uses hydraulically operated anti-roll bars to reduce body roll during cornering and provide more stable, straight-line properties. With the GLS, Mercedes-Benz has, without a doubt, set the luxury benchmark for the next < generation of family friendly SUV vehicles.

R O O M T O M OV E When configured to seat seven passengers, the GLS has 300 litres of boot space available. In a five-person seating configuration this rises to 680 litres and 2300 litres when the middle row of seats is stowed.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED to design and construct buildings in regions affected by natural disaster and conflict? Founder of Architects Without Frontiers Esther Charlesworth talks about embracing practical considerations within a broader design aesthetic.


rchitect and academic Esther Charlesworth has dedicated her life to offering design services to those who need it most – those affected by conflict, poverty and natural disaster.

B U I L D I N G B U TA R O (left) The Butaro Hospital in Rwanda’s Burera District, built by MASS Design Group, was designed to mitigate and reduce the transmission of airborne diseases through a variety of systems, including ventilation.

You are a Professor in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT and have a number of degrees, including a Masters from Harvard and a PhD from York University. What prompted you to study architecture? I can’t say I dreamed of building a tree house when I was three and four, like a lot of people in the profession. My choice to study architecture was almost out of rebellion; my six brothers and sisters had all gone to Melbourne University, all done arts or law degrees, and I wanted to do something that I didn’t know anything about. So it was almost for the wrong reasons that I enrolled. But my father [ethicist Max Charlesworth] was a professor of philosophy, and a great lover of art history and architecture, and when we were kids we had two year-long stints living in Europe so we were dragged through a lot of cathedrals. I think my love of the exterior world and latent, suppressed memory of visiting important buildings when I was younger may have played a role, too.

How did your family, and your father, in particular, shape your social conscience? Although his expertise was French philosophy and existentialism, my father wrote about comparative religion, Aboriginal languages, and bioethics – he was a polymath. He was also anti-Vietnam War, anti-nuclear power, and was quite a feminist, so we were brought up marching up and down Bourke Street [in Melbourne] with placards in our hands. Also, my mother was a social worker who went on to study law. Without knowing consciously at the time, there was a strong sense of social justice in the Charlesworth household. Who shaped your career early on? My first job was with the then-government [Victorian] architect John Devenish, as a trainee architect. It was during my second year of architecture. They placed a lot of confidence in me and I had a great experience working with a group of socially minded architects on health and education projects. It was a project in Mostar that changed your career trajectory. How did that come about? I was studying at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, doing a Master of Architecture and



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…which is what architecture, at its roots, is all about. We weren’t taught to listen in architecture. It was ‘this is my idea’ and ‘this is how I go forth’ and, although it sounds clichéd now, no form of community consultation was part of either my undergraduate or masters degree. Whether you’re dealing with a community from Mornington to Mostar, in formulating a concept or a brief there has to be some form of structured consultation to determine the aspirations of the community. In a way, the role of the architect can be a much more powerful one as a peacemaker and a facilitator between different disciplines.

Is that what the organisation you founded, Architects Without Frontiers (AWF), has been set up to do? That’s right. AWF was set up on the premise of my experience in Mostar, when I met an Australian engineer with Engineers for Relief (RedR) who was working on restoring the water in Mostar. The idea came to me, like Medecins Sans Frontieres, what about an organisation called Architects Without Frontiers? It was perhaps fairly naive, assuming that we could change the destiny of Mostar or other cities that had been divided by war, but we’ve gone from working after war to working in zones of fragility and vulnerability, common to both Western and developing countries. After Mostar, how has AWF evolved and what type of projects has it undertaken? The first project that was completed was an orphanage in Kabul for war widows. The request came from an amazing Sydney woman who had set up the not-for-profit organisation Mahboba’s Promise and asked us help come up with a design. At the same time, a Brisbane human rights lawyer asked if we could help rebuild a house for an Indigenous elder on Stradbroke Island. From there, the requests started flooding in. We’ve completed about 39 projects – mostly health and education projects in the AsiaPacific region. Right now we’ve got a women’s cultural hub being completed in Fiji for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We finished a disability daycare centre in Hoi An that was funded by RMIT three years ago. I’ve got a team of architects working in Thailand on a concept for a sustainable office building for the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, an umbrella group of 30 human rights organisations based in Chiang Mai. We were recently asked to design a heart clinic in East Timor. The projects come in in ways that we don’t expect. A lot of them don’t get off the ground but we don’t see ourselves as fundraisers. If we’re going to go ahead with a project, we require the client or the representative contacting us already has firm plans and funds. We can initiate the first phase by engaging a pro bono architect who has the expertise in that building typology to provide a schematic design, and that might be where we stop. If we continue on to design development, we generally get the architects involved and they get paid for their services.

Why is harnessing local expertise and labour critical to a successful project? Over the past 20 years, working with communities who are suffering from extreme poverty, I’ve seen design solutions literally parachuted in; architects with really great ideas come to the site very briefly, draw a few sketches, then get their minions to fly in and do the rest of the work and fly out. In my experience, that generally leads to what I call the ‘triple disaster phenomenon’: in communities like East Timor, Haiti and Sri Lanka, you have the disaster of poverty and political negligence before the physical disaster of an earthquake or tsunami, and then quite often you have the third disaster of design and construction where designers, engineers or aid agencies quickly come in with the ‘you beaut’ solution, and leave it there without thinking through the climatic or cultural issues in which that object is located. We always work with a local partner. In Vietnam, for example, locals did all the contract drawings and the project was built from a local brick factory, using local contractors.

OVER THE PAST 20 years … I’ve seen design solutions literally parachuted in …that generally leads to what I call the ‘triple disaster phenomenon’

Urban Design, and in the summer of 1994 I had an internship lined up at I.M. Pei’s office in New York when I found out that the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, based at MIT, was seeking young architects to work on a project to rebuild the city of Mostar [Bosnia-Herzegovina], which had been destroyed during the Balkans war in the mid-1990s. I was asked if I wanted to be part of the team and, not knowing anything about it, I said “Sure!”. Architecture students from all over the world, and some well-known heritage architects met in Istanbul that summer. We listened to stories about how Mostar had been ripped apart and shared ideas about how we could form a team to rebuild it. A lot of it was pie-in-the-sky stuff, but a few light bulbs went off for me. When I went to Mostar, after the war had ended, I saw architects were largely consumed with matters of form, style, material, colour and how to rebuild what was there. Issues of supplying water or a roof overhead weren’t even being discussed. There was a discord between what the architects were bringing to the table and the real needs of the community. It took me a while to work out we were working in isolation and not being much of a help in helping guide the physical reconstruction of the city. The whole experience in Mostar was both a personal and professional epiphany for me. I sensed in that moment that architects could be so much more than the Grand Design model that I’d been brought up with and had seen working in commercial practice.

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L O C A L R E S O U R C E S (below) Utilising local talent, labour and materials is critical in achieving the best design outcomes for communities in poverty or disaster-affected areas.

D E S I G N E Y E (bottom right) Melbourne–based Esther Charlesworth believes there will be a growing need for projects in areas affected by natural disaster or war.

Exactly the same thing is happening in Fiji. While I think there’s room for some experimentation with design, building with local labour and materials is critical because if these projects can’t improve the economic livelihood of a community that has suffered extreme poverty and extreme disaster, then it’s a real problem. It’s an ethical conundrum.

TIMES OF FLUX In the complex and uncertain world in which we live, I think we’re going to see more wars, more internal migration, more conflict and more economic uncertainty, so all of us will be working in a zone of flux. Having organisations like AWF, which can cater to the people who are left on the margins, is really essential to being part of a civil society.

Professionally, personally, what aspirations do you have? Architects Without Frontiers has been a proxy Architects Without Money! While we can involve pro bono designers, the actual task of managing complex projects in complex geo-political locales needs paid staff. There are many inspirational design not-for-profits, like the MASS Design Group, that act as benchmarks of where AWF hopes to be by 2020: architects who are meeting the demand of the 90 per cent of the global population who don’t have access to design services, but whom < I would argue, need it the most. A RCH I T E C T S W I T H O U T F RO N T I E R S . CO M . AU

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perfection The pinnacle of automotive luxury, the newest incarnation of the Maybach takes comfort and class to an entirely new altitude. By jack jones

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limbing the seven summits – the highest peaks on each individual continent – is considered one of the ultimate challenges for captains of adventure. Some, like Australia’s own Mount Kosciuszko, are more easily accessible than others, but still no less of an achievement. Consider, then, the latest line-up of S-Class limousines as the seven summits of automotive luxury for captains of industry; each showcasing the pinnacle of the opulence, refinement and technology on a gradient of achievement and accessibility that rises from the S 350 (the Kosciuszko) through the fuel-sipping S 300 BlueTEC Hybrid (the Denali) to the sporty S 63 AMG (the Mont Blanc) and the range-topping long-wheelbase S 600 (the Kilimanjaro). Now, placing its flag on the highest peak, is the new Mercedes-Maybach S 600, which, is the most challenging to access but ultimately the one that offers the greatest rewards. Needless to say, any of those – and the handful, which has already taken delivery – will experience the ultimate expression of Mercedes-Benz from every dimension. The Mercedes-Maybach S 600, firstly, represents a strategic shift from its previous attempt to establish Maybach as a stand-alone product offering. In exactly the same way AMG has been aligned as a sub-brand for high-performance models, <

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COMMITMENT T O D E TA I L On the outside the vehicle boasts its own special paint process, while inside it features velvety Napa leather seats and a massage function.

Mercedes-Maybach will perform a similar role with its primary focus on offering the absolute epitome of luxury. The sixth-generation W 222 S-Class is the first, and most obvious, to receive the Maybach treatment. At first glance, it is easy to dismiss the Maybach S 600 as just another S-Class variant but the devil is in the subtle detail differences. The most immediate is its size, as the Maybach has an additional 200mm between the front and rear axles over the longwheelbase S-Class to increase room in the rear of the cabin.

Curiously, the Maybach’s rear doors are 66mm shorter than those of the long wheelbase S-Class, allowing the rear seats to be tucked behind the C-pillar to create “a feeling of exceptional privacy and exclusivity” says the manufacturer. With the exception of the stylised ‘double M’ badge on that C-pillar and the Maybach script on the boot lid, the S 600 wears the traditional Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star on its nose, which features a unique grille with three twin-row chrome louvres to match the additional brightwork on its flanks and the dished alloy wheels. As an extension of its commitment to detail, the Maybach also has its own paint process that that involves sanding back the surface of its first gloss coat then re-applying further clear layers to lend a sense of depth to its bodywork. The most significant changes, however, are reserved for the interior. From the front seats, the cabin is largely unchanged from the S 600, with its twin digital displays dominating the beautifully crafted and yet minimalist dashboard design, as well as its unique twinspoke steering wheel. But in the back, presumably where most owners will be spending the majority of their driving time, the Maybach genuinely offers an experience akin to flying first class. Its two executive seats are cloaked in Napa leather and offer an impressive range of adjustment, reclining well beyond any other models and featuring a massage function as well as heating and ventilation, while it can be enhanced with the following options – twin cup holders heat or cool drinks and silver plated champagne flutes sit in a space between the rear seats, ahead of a centre console fridge that keeps the bubbly chilled. Like a private jet, the cabin offers a workplace furnished by twin tray-tables, made from leather and hand-finished alloy, and which swivel from a generous centre console. The spaciousness of the Maybach’s rear cabin means that passengers are provided remotes to operate the tablet-style infotainment screens mounted, out of reach, on the back of the front seats. Mercedes-Benz claims the Maybach S 600 is the quietest car in the world and, as such, has invested exhaustive development in areas such as the window seals and subtle aerodynamic tweaks to reduce turbulence as well as lowering the air suspension by 20mm to reduce underbody airflow. The laid-back nature of the rear seats means the Maybach requires a host of new safety features to ensure its rear occupants are protected

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… the big Benz simply wafts along the road as though floating on a pillow of air, cocooning its occupants from the world outside.


S M O O T H O P E R AT O R The S 600 features a dazzling array of safety and a sophisticated air-suspension system that uses cameras and sensors to read the road ahead for the smoothest possible ride.

i properly in the event of an accident, with airbags integrated into the seatbelts and seat cushion as well as a seatbelt buckle extender. Beyond that, the Maybach is loaded with the safety features expected from a Mercedes-Maybach, including active cruise control with steering assistance and self-driving acceleration and braking in stop-and-go traffic, active lane-keeping assistance, high-beam assistance and night vision that shows an amplified image of the road ahead as part of the driver’s digital display. From the driver’s seat, the Maybach is as refined as you’ll ever experience. Powered by a 6.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V12 with 390kW and 830Nm, the big Benz simply wafts along

the road as though floating on a pillow of air, cocooning its occupants from the world outside. That is, in part, due to its quietness but also aided by the sophisticated active suspension system with MAGIC BODY CONTROL that uses a series of cameras and sensors to read the road ahead of the car, pre-empting rather than reacting to bumps and undulations to maintain a smooth ride. Ultimately, this is not a car targeted for those who enjoy time behind the wheel in the same way its AMG models do, but for those who require a space that gently removes them from the rest of the world, which it does with exceptional style, refinement and quality. It is the pinnacle of automotive excellence.

Mercedes-Maybach S 600 Engine / output 6-0 litre twin-turbocharged V12; 390kW; max torque 830Nm

Transmission 7-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive Silent partner Air suspension has been lowered by 20mm to reduce underbody airflow. Back-seat driver Seats feature a massage function, heating and ventilation, while a remote is provided to operate tabletstyle infotainment screens mounted on the back of the front seats.

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Design Art Indulgence


Stunning interior design, a prime CBD location and arguably the best coffee in Melbourne: welcome to the newest Mercedes me concept. Located in the prestigious Rialto Towers development on Collins Street and slated to open in January 2017, the store is set to become one of the city’s best places to meet, eat and experience cutting-edge events and performances. Can’t wait to get a Mercedes me fix? Pop in at one of the stores in Hamburg, Milan, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Moscow or Beijing. MERCEDES - BENZ .COM. AU

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E pi c exp edi ti on

photos (opposite) courtesy of the national gallery of victoria

Due to popular demand by its loyal Australian clientele, National Geographic Orion (NGO) will head to Europe for a series of one-week jaunts in 2016. Having garnered an enviable reputation for its cruise adventures off the rugged Kimberley coast and in Antarctica over the past 12 years, the luxuriously kitted expedition craft boasts 53 cabins over three levels, a spacious lounge and bar, plush lower-level dining room and upper-deck observation lounge and library. While aboard, guests enjoy the culinary masterstrokes of acclaimed Sydney chef Serge Dansereau of The Bathers’ Pavilion and, when berthed, may partake in local cooking classes and produce sourcing, such as oyster gathering, as well as cycling or kayaking. e x p e d i t i o n s . c o m

Shine bright! “I saw in my mind a landscape of illuminated stems that, like the dormant seed in a dry desert, quietly wait until darkness falls, under a blazing blanket of southern stars, to bloom with gentle rhythms of light.” So says British artist Bruce Munro whose stunning light installation Field of Light, which was inspired by Uluru, will be created in Australia’s most iconic and spiritual landscape. The installation at Ayers Rock Resort will run from 1 April 2016 to March 2017. voyag e s . c o m . au

He at i n g u p Be n d i g o The acclaimed Bendigo Art Gallery has snared another blockbuster exhibition, teaming up with Twentieth Century Fox to present Marilyn Monroe, from 5 March to 10 July. Signalled by the eight-metre high Forever Marilyn sculpture, by Seward Johnson, which will stand in the centre of the Victorian town, the show will feature a comprehensive collection of iconic costumes, accessories, and even her diary. b e n d i g oa r t g a l l e ry. c o m . au (main) Studio publicity portrait for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953, gown designed by William Travilla; (inset) How to Marry a Millionaire, Scott Fortner Collection, California.

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FA S H I O N F O R WA R D The rich stories behind two centuries of Australian fashion and design will be explored in Melbourne this autumn, with the National Gallery of Victoria showcasing two major exhibitions that explore the country’s evolving aesthetic and artistic heritage. 200 Years of Australian Fashion will explore the legacy of Aussie designers through 120 garments, from mid-century glamour to contemporary designs. Meanwhile, Making the Australian Quilt 1800–1950 will reveal the social and historical fabric behind the craft. N G V.V I C . G O V. AU

LIGHTING THE WAY LYN BAL ZE R AND TONY PE RKINS , aka, 2 by Lyn & Tony, are creative chameleons.


Having begun as photographers, they fell into jewellery design somewhat by accident, before exploring scent, furniture, art installation and objects, but their ventures always stem from themes of sensuality, texture and the Australian landscape and are inextricably connected. In late 2014, Lyn & Tony collaborated with cult candle brand Maison Balzac on two fragrances, aiming to craft an olfactory representation of their photographic work: L’Obscurite evoking volcanic rocks by the seaside -and L’Etrangete an imagination of sunbeams through a rainforest canopy. These have since been selected to perfume the Australian Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. The brand has also begun a foray into object design, including leather-woven lighting, marble tables and artisanal pieces. Using traditional weaving techniques, in a highly creative and almost brutalist method, 2 by Lyn & Tony produces work that is the antithesis of a plastic world. Instead, the pair drives limits, allowing natural materials to determine the outcome. LY N A N D T O N Y. C O M 52 Mercedes-Benz magazine

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EMBASSIES OF THOUGHT Seventy-three artists will exhibit at seven venues across Sydney during the Asia Pacific’s largest contemporary visual arts event, the 20th Biennale of Sydney, from 18 March until 5 June. Conceived as ‘embassies of thought’, the seven venues include Cockatoo Island, Carriageworks, Artspace, the MCA, the Gallery of NSW, a bookshop and a former train station, Mortuary Station.

Thematically, the event was inspired by a quote from leading science fiction author William Gibson titled ‘The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed’. In addition to the embassies’ artworks, the Biennale has commissioned a series of performances and site-specificinstallations taking place at locations throughout inner Sydney.

U N F O R G E T TA B L E FORGE T A PRIVATE airport pick up or an in-room spa experience. The experts at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts are taking luxury travel experiences at 25 destinations around the world to the next level. In Florida, enjoy a private sports car transfer; an one-on-one tennis lesson with Jimmy Connors; dinner at Morimoto and a private shopping outing at Boca Raton’s boutiques. WA L D O R FA S TO R I A . C O M / U N F O R G E T TA B L E E X P E R I E N C E S


CL ASSY C O N TA I N E R S Surely a good Scotch deserves something better than a plain bottle or a metal hip flask? The Scottish distillery that produces Royal Salute certainly thought so, and asked British designer Afroditi Krassa to come up with some ideas. She teamed up with the Fürstenberg porcelain factory in Lower Saxony, Germany, and created two bottles: “Dram” (200ml) and “Mór” (1000 ml). The manufacturing process was first used in ancient China: the bottles are coated with a crystal glaze that makes the porcelain shimmer in hues of green and gold. AFRODITI .COM

O LY M P I C FLAME Five hundred towns and cities are welcoming the Olympic torch on its route to Rio, with 2016’s version boasting an ingenious design. Created by Brazilian design company Chelles & Hayashi, the torch starts as a simple silver cylinder. As it is passed from one torchbearer to another (there are 12,000 torchbearers in total), the torch expands to reveal coloured segments. These represent the colour of Brazil, its people and culture. Each torch is crafted from recycled aluminium and resin with a satin finish and stands 63.5cm high, expanding to 69cm. Mercedes-Benz magazine 53

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J U S T D U C K: FINDING GOD Journalist Greg Clarke, and his wife, Jodi, founded the specialist duck farm Great Ocean Ducks (GOD) at Port Campbell, near the Twelve Apostles, in 2009 and have recently penned a book about their ensuing adventures. With a foreword by Dan Hunter — without doubt one of the country’s leading culinary greats – it includes recipes from some of the top chefs who love and use their Aylesburys and Pekins. Check out their website for a host of tasty info bites and directions on where to find GOD. G R E AT O C E A N D U C K S . C O M


Chaoyang district of Beijing, patrons are transported to a fantastical world of interconnected spaces that were inspired by Renaissance Florence, but with modern overtones.The floor-to-ceiling Fornasetti wallpaper bears a storm cloud motif and hand-blown glass chandeliers hover above like glowing bronze sculptures. Singapore-based Australian designer Emma Maxwell has furnished the restaurant with grey armchairs and gold-framed tables standing on a marble floor engraved with a fishbone pattern. While tucking into lobster risotto or osso bucco alla Milanese, you would be forgiven for thinking you are on a film set that is a mixture of historical drama and space odyssey. “My aim is to transport guests to another place,” says Maxwell, “a place of light, illusion, beauty and contrasts.” EMMAMA XWELLDESIGN.COM

GLOBETROT TER Shakespeare would no doubt be delighted his Globe Theatre is being specially created in the heart of Auckland to mark the 400th anniversary of his death. The pop-up theatre, an exact replica of Shakespeare’s Globe in London, will feature the bard’s best-loved plays until 22 March. POPUPGLOBE .CO.NZ

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SHOW STOPPER THE STAGE DOESN’T GET ANY BIGGER than Mount Panorama, where the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Sedan enjoyed a starring role in February 2016. The 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine Sedan will this year have several lead roles at Australia’s most revered and intimidating circuit, having made its first outing at the 2016 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

It is just another act in the company’s long story of providing Mercedes-Benz safety cars at the world’s top motoring events. This, of course, includes two decades of supplying the official Formula One® safety car.

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GUCCI Alessandro Michele has breathed new life into the Italian brand, with his designs highlighting vintage threads.


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t Vogue we are naturally imageand taste-makers. We document the best of popular culture, celebrity and fashion, the arts and beauty, all of which are interpreted and expressed through the prism and creativity of the international and local designer collections. The fashion shows are our compass. So, twice a year, we head to the fashion capitals – Paris, Milan, London and New York – and our very own Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, to be inspired and select the looks that will land on our covers and inside our pages for the coming six months. This constant consideration of so many different aesthetics requires that we retain a strong sense of what is Vogue and what is not, or how a trend might best be interpreted through the Vogue eye. This is much like the Mercedes-Benz history of design that produces ground-breaking and innovative models, yet consistently retains an authentic sense of style and class, which is why the cars go on to become collectable classics. It is important to know what is ‘on brand’ and when something is a good, clever or creative idea, or is simply not. When you are custodians of beautiful brands such as ours, you have the privilege of leading, of being trendsetters rather than followers, so discerning taste and style dictate all. With this in mind, I looked over the most recent collections and selected the best, which I feel express Mercedes-Benz core values. One is Ellery. Australian designer Kym Ellery staged the Mercedes-Benz Presents show, which kicked off last year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. As you can see, she clearly holds her own next to the greats and is carving out her place on the international stage. So here, read the best of the best and see the < shows of the season as edited by Vogue.

HERMÈS The spring collection of separates and dresses is distinctly French.

Designer core VO G U E AU S T R A L I A editor Edwina McCann casts her eye over the current collections and finds synergies across multiple brands and designers with Mercedes-Benz values.

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E L L E RY Australia’s Kym Ellery played with volume and shape for the spring shows in Paris.

V U I T TO N The French fashion house is embracing the digital age and the possibilities it brings with it in fabrication, design and creation.

Louis Vuitton is in the business of travel (one need only look to the French house’s iconic trunks to confirm this) and for spring, creative director Nicolas Ghesquière time-travelled into the future. An innovator and experimenter, Ghesquière is embracing the digital age and the possibilities it brings with it in fabrication, design and creation. Melding meticulous detailing with a directional message the clothes were at once romantic and strong. Soft voluminous blouses and sweeping dresses were paired up with tough belted and studded leather, heavyweight footwear. Reinforcing the forward lean into the future, show goers were encircled by gargantuan screens beaming flickering images from video game Minecraft while sound bites from Tron: Legacy were layered over the collection. It’s a new frontier and brands with staying power, like Louis Vuitton, are committed to exploring it.


No one injected a sports feel into the spring collections quite like Chloé’s Clare Waight Keller. Melding ease with modernity, the models slinked down the runway in the forever-classic tracksuit. Never one to miss an opportunity to up the luxury factor, Chloé’s tracksuit was in soft camel, rich burgundy and navy in lightweight fabrics, cut long slung and lean.

Her inspiration was rooted in the no-fuss ’90s era of models like Kate Moss and Rosemary Ferguson, so there was an element of grungy attitude here in micro floral skirts paired with zip-front active wear. Optimistic, sporty and playing to her strengths, the Chloé girl is ready to go, and we can see her zipping conveniently from gym to party.

IT’S A NEW FRONTIER and brands with staying power, like Louis Vuitton, are committed to exploring it.


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CE HLLO I NÉE Showcasing Featuring boudoir-feel sporty lace designs, the dresses, overblown collection and channelled outerwear enveloping the no-fussand a90s disheveled and Katestructure, Moss-like creationsPhilo’s Phoebe and style. designs are a global hit.

CELINE Featuring boudoir-feel lace dresses, overblown and enveloping outerwear and a dishevelled structure, Phoebe Philo’s designs are a global hit.

HERMES Australia’s own Kym Ellery played with volume and shape for the spring shows in Paris.

C H LO É Showcasing sporty designs, the collection channelled the no-fuss ’90s and Kate Moss-like creations and style.

Trend setting

Check in with anyone in the industry right now and the name they’re repeating is that of Alessandro Michele. Gucci’s newly anointed creative director has breathed new life into, or more accurately completely reinvented, the storied Italian house. For spring, Michele continued his madcap but brilliant rendition of old-world charm and estate-sale quirk in vintage-inspired silhouettes, wallpaper fabrics and elaborate decorative extras. His mastery is in pulling an aesthetic so varied and rich into a cohesive, original point of view. If we’re seeing a vintage revival, it’s in no small part due to Michele and what was hailed as the collection of the season.

Distinctive style

It takes courage to be original and Céline’s Phoebe Philo has it in spades. From the moment

she took over at the French house seven years ago, her aesthetic has had countless reiterations and left an indelible impression on the design world at large. Spring’s softer take on the Céline rigour produced boudoir-feel lace dresses, overblown and enveloping outerwear and a disheveled structure that had the style set intoxicated once more. Céline lately has been conceptual but more usable and this equates to design anyone can get on board with. Critics have called her the most referenced fashion designer of our times.


Kym Ellery is leading the charge of Australians showing in Paris, and this spring presented her first show on the official schedule. The Ellery brand has evolved from a small operation to an internationally recognised label, working in the uppermost realms of the fashion world.

To do this she’s stuck unrelentingly to her vision and honed her skill as a designer and confidence as a pioneer. Influenced by fellow pioneer, artist Christo, Ellery played with volume and shape for spring, reworking sleeve sizes and pleated accents at waistlines.


Under Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski’s direction, the house of Hermès continues its unrivalled prowess in the world of luxury. Harnessing the resources uniquely available to the company, the label presented an immaculate collection of wearable pieces for spring. Sublimely tailored separates and dresses led the way in a collection that was quintessentially French. Leather, a material that Hermès is unmatched in dealing with deftly, was sculpted into maxi skirts, classic sculpted coats and of-the-moment sneakers. <

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CHANGING TASTES Australia’s current crop of food festivals are at the forefront of dining trends, shaping what – and the way – we eat, writes Sarah Gamboni



ack in November last year, I was invited to be part of the judging panel for Taste of Melbourne. Together with four other food writers, we worked our way around 12 stalls, tasting signature plates from the state’s top restaurants, including Supernormal, MoVida, Circa and Gladioli. Amid Supernormal’s sublime Sichuan chicken and San Telmo’s Argentinean beef, there was one dish that captured our attention: Robin Wickens’ duck-fat ice cream from the Royal Mail Hotel in Victoria. Originally conceived as a way to use leftover duck fat in Wickens’ Dunkeld kitchen, this pimped-up sundae exemplified what Taste is all about: it was inventive yet accessible, and utterly delicious. John Flower, director of Hothouse Media and Events, sees festivals such as Taste as an opportunity for chefs and restaurants to engage with a new group of diners. “I believe Taste

plays an important role in allowing attendees to experience restaurants they have heard about but never visited,” he says. It’s also the perfect platform for chefs to test the waters with a unique creation, such as Wickens’ impossibly rich ice cream, allowing for tweaks and refinements before it’s added to a restaurant menu. “In relation to developing dishes, it provides insight into public affirmation of a given dish or food style, which can drive new menus and broader dining trends,” says Flower. “I like to think of it as a kind of food vox pop.” Now held in 22 cities worldwide, including Sydney, Perth and Melbourne, Taste is just one of the hundreds of food and wine festivals that roll out across Australia each year. Food lovers can get their fill of everything from smalltown chilli celebrations and regional wine shows, to culinary galas featuring the world’s top chefs. <

I hope it’s not too grandiose to say that I think festivals have the ability to shape what happens with a country’s food culture. PAU L H E N RY

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… there was one dish that captured the judges’ attention: Robin Wickens’ duck-fat ice cream … this pimped-up sundae exemplified what Taste is all about: it was inventive yet accessible, and utterly delicious.


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photos ROB ANDERSON; courtesy melbourne food & wine, Royal Mail hotel and visions of victoria

From March 4 to 13, the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival marks its 24th year with a series of sell-out events. Having been with the festival for 14 years, CEO Natalie O’Brien is well placed to reflect on the changing face of the Australian food scene. “It’s always fascinating to see which events are the most popular,” says O’Brien. “This year Mission Chinese sold out within days, as did the 1600 tickets for the Longest Lunch. A raw dessert event trended incredibly highly and, at the other end of the spectrum, Adrian Richardson’s suckling pig dinner was right up there in the popularity stakes.” Rather being a harbinger of the latest food fads, O’Brien sees festivals’ role as a way of shining a light on the constantly evolving Australian food scene. “We work in parallel with the current trends,” she says. “I think of the festival as this

incredible dialogue and collaboration between chefs, consumers and producers.” O’Brien points to Margaret Xu’s collaboration with Teage Ezard as an example of the way ideas flourish. “Margaret wanted to show the kitchen how to make tofu from scratch, so they were running all over town trying to get the ingredients. In exchange, they showed Margaret how to make chlorophyll,” says O’Brien. “When Theodore Kyriakou came out from The Real Greek in London, he had this green vegetable on the menu that we’d never heard of. The local Greek community translated it for us and we learnt that it’s a thistle that grows beside any highway leading out of Melbourne. “It’s a reminder of what we’ve got, whether that’s old ingredients that may have been forgotten, or an exchange of completely different ideas,” says O’Brien.

Paul Henry, co-creative director of Tasting Australia, South Australia’s pre-eminent culinary event, believes festivals’ role as influencers goes even further. “I hope it’s not too grandiose to say that I think festivals have the ability to shape what happens with a country’s food culture,” says Henry. “I know it’s a lofty ambition, but our aim is to change people’s habits and perceptions around their own dining tables, as well as the choices they make when they eat out and travel.” <

trendsetters (clockwise from left) The Royal Mail Hotel’s Robin Wickens; the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival’s innovative events have helped uncover new foodie stars and dining concepts. Mercedes-Benz magazine 63

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Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, VIC Taste of Sydney, NSW


Orange FOOD Week, NSW Taste of Perth, WA The Great NZ Food Show, NZ


Tasting Australia, SA


Truffle Kerfuffle, WA


Food Show Auckland, NZ


Taste Port Douglas, QLD


Mudgee Wine Festival, NSW


Sydney Good Food Month, NSW


Margaret River Gourmet Escape, WA Taste of Melbourne, VIC


The Taste of Tasmania, TAS


When Theodore Kyriakou (pictured above) came out from The Real Greek in London, he had this green vegetable on the menu that we’d never heard of … we learnt that it’s a thistle that grows beside any highway leading out of Melbourne.



Tasting Australia kicks off in the first week of May, showcasing South Australia’s diversity and a connectedness to the land. “We’re not about loud, attention-grabbing restaurants and chefs. In 2014 our headline act was a farmer, Joel Salatin, not a chef,” he says. This year’s line-up includes Rodney Dunn of Tasmania’s Agrarian Kitchen, artisan butcher Pierre Oteiza, San Franciscan champions of change Chris Kiyuna and Anthony Myint, and a host of chefs who practise a paddock-to-plate ethos. While the festival hub is the Town Square in central Adelaide, the program covers a broad sweep of the state, with gourmet walks in the Barossa, regional cheese and wine trails, and wild mushroom foraging in the Adelaide Hills. “There was 50,000 years worth of culture within our state before Europeans arrived, so we hope to shine a light on native foods and foraging, which are increasingly influencing our chefs and food culture,” says Henry. In Western Australia, foraging and native foods were hot-ticket items at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape last November. This famously hedonistic weekend has played host to Heston Blumenthal, Rick Stein and Marco Pierre White, but there’s a serious element to all of that gourmet glitterati. Sustainable seafood dinners, fermenting workshops and the Kambarang South West Aboriginal Gourmet Experience tapped into the current zeitgeist for mindful dining. It’s also a key consideration for chef Spencer Patrick, who spearheads Taste Port Douglas. “A lot of people don’t realise how much of Australia’s produce comes this region, particularly fruits and seafood, so Taste Port Douglas is all about showcasing those ingredients,” says Patrick. “I thought the best way to do that was invite all of my cheffy friends up to experience it for themselves.” In 2015, Colin Fassnidge, Ben O’Donoghue and Adrian Richardson were among the big names who jumped on board. Highlights included the chef masterclasses and the Kuku Yalanji Cultural Food Tour, led by local Aboriginal guides and concluding with a beach barbecue. And what food trend would Patrick like to see more of in 2016? “Well, I’d like to see less of something actually… We’re working towards zero waste in our kitchen, from the bird to the beast to the dairy, and I hope that’s a practice that filters down to younger chefs and < the wider community.”

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O AUI RT SBA FAA RCI K A 10-day private aircraft safari through Australia’s Red Centre offers a back-to-back ‘bucket list’ of places and attractions that might otherwise take many months to visit. Discover the best of the Outback on this ambitious itinerary. INTERVI E W TR I C I A W E LS H P HOTOS I CO N I C AU STR ALI A & TR I C I A W E LS H

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t is early morning as I join eight other Air Adventure guests at Essendon Airport to board our Cessna Conquest that is sleek, pencil-thin with plush leather seats, but there’s little room for more than our personal 10kg of luggage. Diplomatically, tour guide Elise Barassi suggests we rotate seats on a sector basis, each getting to play ‘co-pilot’ to 23-year-old pilot Jack Lancaster, who circulates an iPad with daily route maps, averting the possible question: “Are we there yet?” We refuel at Broken Hill then follow the 5400km rabbit-proof fence along the border between South Australia and New South Wales and land near Innamincka to lunch under the historic ‘Dig Tree’ of Burke and Wills fame. Believed to be some 250 years old, the Coolibah tree on the banks of the dried-up Cooper Creek, still bears the blaze carved on it during the explorers’ ill-fated attempt to be the first to cross the continent from south to north in the early 1860s. Our first overnight stop is at the famous Birdsville Hotel where we check out the atmospheric pub where well-worn country hats adorn the ceiling, and rustic memorabilia and Outback humour abound as patrons slake their thirst on cold beers. On a town tour, the star attraction is the out-oftown racetrack, dating from 1882. The Birdsville Race Club attracts some 5000 race-goers each

September for the Birdsville Cup where, we are told, because of the dust and heat: “The women arrive pretty and go home wilted.” Next day, with the vast pink-striped Simpson Desert to our west, we fly further north via Tennant Creek to Mount Borradaile in Arnhem Land. While initially aerial views might appear the same, they literally change by the minute, from red ochre patches to putty-coloured tracts, from rough rugged splotches to meandering inland waterways, where the fringes of dry creek beds resemble giant fronds. Tree-dotted creek beds disappear into the distance like wandering serpents from the Dreamtime and long dirt tracks seemingly lead somewhere but possibly go nowhere. Our scenic approach to Mount Borradaile is over bird-filled billabongs and rocky outcrops that give us a glimpse of what lies ahead. Former buffalo hunter Max Davidson first came to this remote area adjacent to Kakadu National Park and Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory in 1985. Having been granted an exclusive lease of of wilderness by a tribal elder, he and his late wife, Philippa, soon set up Davidson’s Arnhem Land Safari Lodge, a tourism venture established to generate a sustainable income for the local Ulba Bunidj people. <

BAOBAB BEAUT Y Seeing the majestic Outback, including ancient baobab trees is all the more special when it’s from the air. F LY S T Y L E In these remote locales, private helicopter is the best, and in some cases, only, way to experience the landscape.

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…aerial views … literally change by the minute, from red ochre patches to putty-coloured tracts, from rough rugged splotches to meandering inland waterways, where the fringes of dry creek beds resemble giant fronds.

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WILD ENCOUNTERS When on the ground, bespoke experiences allow guests to see Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stunning array of flora and fauna; take a bushwalk through iconic landscapes; or simply chill in luxurious camps and homesteads.

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TREE-DOTTED CREEK BEDS disappear into the distance like wandering serpents from the Dreamtime and long dirt tracks seemingly lead somewhere but possibly go nowhere.

Accommodation is in 20 comfortable solarpowered ensuite cabins spread out around a central hub with spacious dining room, welcoming bar with lounge, library and outdoor swimming pool. We are here for two nights with daily programs planned to suit our group. As this is a registered sacred site with reputedly the richest body of Aboriginal rock art in the world, nature walks to view some of the rock paintings that document 50,000 years of indigenous habitation are, naturally, high on the list. Perhaps the most impressive is the signature 17m-long Rainbow Serpent, which Davidson himself discovered while hunting buffalo. But the highlight of our stay is a sunset billabong cruise, silently gliding through purple and white water lilies as we train binoculars on the plentiful birdlife trying to identify some of the 240 bird species in the area, and look for crocodiles that eye-ball us from the water’s surface before submerging without a ripple. Next day, we head west for the Kimberley and remote Faraway Bay, flying over the famed King George Falls that in the ‘dry’ produce not even a

drop. Owner Kevin Reilly greets us in his safari truck, telling us about the eco-resort as we navigate the bumpy unsealed red pindan track flanked by flowering gums and Xanthorrhoea or black boy plants. The aptly named Faraway Bay Bush Camp is 280km northwest of Kununurra, 150km from their nearest neighbour and accessible only by air. Since taking over the resort five years ago, Kevin and his wife, Kathie, have updated the 12 cabins with en-suite facilities, electricity and open-air showers – just magical to enjoy at dusk as the stars start to appear. A trained chef, Reilly is literally a Jack of all trades, showing great Outback ingenuity with his imagination and flexibility. He’s hands-on for all activities, taking guests on fishing trips, cruises to King George Falls, looking for crocodiles, kayaking on quiet billabong waters, taking care of camp maintenance and each day helping prepare restaurant-quality meals – all with a roguish smile. We sip drinks at sunset around an open fire and enjoy canapés or gourmet pizzas from the pizza

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C A R N I V O R E C R AV I N G S (Below from top) Bullo River Station is an operational cattle station, established by author Sara Henderson; Outback cuisine can vary from Spanish mackerel to kangaroo fillet and emu filet mignon.

Tiwi Islands Mary River Wetlands Berkeley River Cygnet Bay Bullo River Stn. Broome Yuendumu

Alice Springs

William Creek Mulooina Stn. Prairie Hotel Broken Hill

Cooper Pedy

oven before dining en famille in the Eagle’s Nest, an open-sided dining pavilion, on local fish such as Mangrove Jack or Spanish mackerel. Flying south over the beehive orange and black-striped domes of the extraordinary Bungle Bungle Range or Purnululu National Park, which became known publicly only in 1982, we peer into palm-fringed gorges before heading for our next stop: Bullo River Station. This 500,000-acre (202,342-ha) operational cattle station was established by the late Sara Henderson, who wrote several books about life here, including her bestseller From Strength to Strength. Daughter Marlee and husband Franz Ranacher ran it until recently when they sold it to the Farris and McCleary families from Darwin who have plans to further develop the property. We’re divided into three groups for excursions: one on a helicopter flight to the Cascades, a picturesque secluded corner of the property with a series of waterfalls that spill from gorge to gorge; another on a river cruise up the Bullo Gorge in a slow tinnie where we observe birdlife and relax with a wine or two; and the third to try our luck fishing for elusive barramundi in the Bullo River – although pesky catfish win the day. Our route next morning is straight for Uluru. We fly over Kata Tjuta before refueling and then get so close and personal to Uluru that we feel we can stretch out and tickle its top as we continue south. At William Creek in South Australia, we lunch on hearty hamburgers before continuing on to the remote coal-mining town of Leigh Creek. Ross

Fargher meets us at the rural airport in classic RM Williams Outback gear, with well-worn signature Akubra hat. Ross and wife Jane own Nilpena, a 80,000ha cattle station, the turn-off for which we pass en route to Parachilna (population: two), where we check into their highly acclaimed Prairie Hotel. First granted a license in 1876, its red- and white-striped bull-nosed awning has become a well-known country South Australian feature, but it’s the stylish architecture, exciting local art and exceptional country fare that set it apart, especially the awesome Feral Mixed Grill, enough to list it among the 100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences awarded by Australian Gourmet Traveller. This novel dish comprises kangaroo fillet, emu filet mignon, camel sausage, and roast potato with a red wine jus. It’s a hearty dish, so many opt instead for the feral antipasto, with kangaroo mettwurst, emu pate and goats’ cheese, served with bush tomato chilli jam. The next day, Ross drives us through Brachina Gorge, up the Heysen Range and into Parachilna Gorge in the Flinders Ranges. We look for yellow-footed rock wallabies, well camouflaged in the rocky terrain, and admire magnificent river gums that so inspired South Australia’s most celebrated artist Sir Hans Heysen. Ross enthuses about the ancient landscape with 500 to 560 million-year-old fossils. “They make dinosaurs look like last week,” he says. Near Blinman, we take a tour of the historic 1850s shearing shed on Angorichina, a 61,000ha working sheep station owned by Ross’s

TRIP OF A LIFETIME Departing Melbourne, the route travels north to Birdsville, then on to Mt Borradaile in Arnhem Land, NT. From there, it heads west to Faraway Bay in WA, over the Bungle Bungles and on to Bullo River Station in Queensland before almost brushing the top of Uluru and Kata Tjuta (‘The Olgas’). It then travels south to the Flinders Ranges, Lake Eyre and back to the Victorian capital.


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(left; from top) The Bullo River in Queensland; Faraway Bay Bush Camp, northwest of Kununurra in WA, is accessible only by air; sacred Uluru is all the more special from the air.

[We] get so close and personal to Uluru that we feel we can stretch out and tickle its top as we continue south.

brother, Ian, and his wife, Di. We picnic on the property before heading back to the Prairie Hotel in time for a pre-dinner drink outside as the sun sets over the vast inland, painting the Flinders Ranges a gentle pink that fades to purple. On our last day, we fly to the historic Ghan rail town of Marree where we meet guide Reg Dodd, an Arabunna elder who has lived here all his life. Driving along the Oodnadatta Track to the shores of Lake Eyre South, we learn he was one of seven children, with an Aboriginal grandmother and a Scottish grandfather who built the local hospital and set up the first school in 1939 in an army hut. Along the lake’s edge, the crystalline salt surface crunches beneath our feet as Reg explains: “Lake Eyre is 10 times saltier than the Dead Sea.” Early evening city lights of Melbourne greet us as we fly into Essendon Airport for home. While we know we’ve been away for only 10 days, we also realise we’ve experienced the Outback in a comprehensive way, been welcomed to some of Australia’s most outstanding properties and natural attractions, met a rare breed of country folk and been privileged to get to know our own backyard — indeed, iconic Australia. A I R A DV E N T U R E . CO M . AU

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BIPOLAR BIRD MEETS HIGH-FLIER The Arctic tern breeds in the Arctic in summer and then travels south to spend the southern summer in the Antarctic, clocking up to 50,000 kilometres in transit between the two, more than any other bird. The highest avian flier is Africa’s Ruppell’s griffon vulture. Records document the collision of one with a passenger plane at about 11,300 metres. FACE TO FACE People like to keep a certain distance between each other during conversation, but how much? According to one study, a Puerto Rican touches their conversation partner up to 180 times in an hour, while an Englishman (or woman) almost never touches their companion. Such stark differences can lead to confusion during cross-cultural interactions.

FAR OUT The island of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic is the most remote place inhabited by humans on Earth. The mainland is several days’ travel by ship in any direction: it’s 2800km to South Africa, more than 3000km to South America and almost 3700km to the Antarctic. But for the island’s nearly 300 inhabitants, it’s simply home sweet home.

PROXIMITY CONTROL FUNCTION Distronic Plus with Stop&Go Pilot turns semi-automated driving in congestion into an experience by helping Mercedes drivers keep a safe distance. Intervening space, however, isn’t only important on the highway, as these six examples demonstrate. COMFORT ZONES Research shows that beachgoers feel most comfortable with at least four metres of space between themselves and their closest neighbour. During normal conversation, the ideal distances are slightly different: relatives and friends can come as close as 50cm or less, while strangers are advised to stay 50-to-100 metres away.



ROGER , BACK OFF Aircraft are required to maintain minimum distances between one another: vertically they must stay at least 300 metres apart and, horizontally, about three-to-eight nautical miles from each other.

TI G HT S PAC E S The shortest measurable length is 10−35 metres, also referred to as the Planck Length. Get any smaller than that, and time and space as we know it would cease to exist, say scientists. The distance between two atoms is a lot greater, and still almost inconceivably small: 10−10 or 10 billionth of a metre.



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My Service. Visit an authorised Mercedes-Benz dealership to experience the benefits of Genuine Service. Your servicing will be conducted by factory-trained technicians, who are constantly trained to keep abreast of product developments, are equipped with sophisticated diagnostic tools and only use Mercedes-Benz Genuine Parts, to keep your Mercedes-Benz in optimal condition. We look forward to welcoming you to a Mercedes-Benz Genuine Service experience.

* Mercedes-Benz received the highest numerical score among luxury autos in the J.D. Power 2015 Australia Customer Service Index Study, based on a total of 453 luxury car owners who had their vehicle serviced at an authorized dealer or service center, and were surveyed between August-October 2015. Your experiences may vary. Visit

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Profile for Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz magazine, issue 1, 2016  

Mercedes-Benz magazine Issue 1, 2016

Mercedes-Benz magazine, issue 1, 2016  

Mercedes-Benz magazine Issue 1, 2016