01 â€¢ 2018 MERCEDES-BENZ.COM.AU MERCEDES-BENZ.CO.NZ
CITY SLICKER Mercedes-AMG S 63 Cabriolet DESIGN CHALLENGE Waste reimagined
PURE PERFORMANCE Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S
TECHNOLOGY Our bionic future
The GMT-Master II Designed for airline pilots in 1955 to read the time in two time zones simultaneously, perfect for navigating a connected world in style. It doesnâ€™t just tell time. It tells history.
oyster oyster perpetual perpetual GMT-MASTER GMT-MASTER II II IN 18 INCT 18 WHITE CT WHITE GOLD GOLD
Master Chronograph Automatic Calibre Jaeger-LeCoultre 751G 235 parts, 28.800 beats per hour
90 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000 300 Forest Road, Hurstville NSW 2220
MERCEDES-BENZ MAGAZINE 01 â€˘ 2018
Wherever your adventures may take you, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S will get you there in style. In fact, its performance is so impressive that Mercedes-AMG selected it as the first non-Mercedes-AMG GT vehicle to receive the eye-catching Panamericana grille.
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CONTENTS 1 â€˘ 2 0 1 8
24 24 18
20 7 INTRO Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S. 10 CH E CK I N Dubaiâ€™s flying taxi; Mercedes-Benz Design Award winner; a robotic psychiatrist; Sydney road trip. 14 CH AM PI O N S H I P V I CTO RY Mercedes-AMG team triumphs in the 2017 Australian GT Endurance Championship. 18 ALWAYS O N CAL L Meet the new MBUX infotainment system, which takes smart to the next level.
CAB audited Sept 2017 92,528
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2 0 D ELI C I O US D UO The Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S proves to be a tasty combination. 2 4 B I O N I C F UT UR E Engineers are exploring the mobility of tomorrow. 3 0 D R I VI NG O N AUTO Making history with the Intelligent World Drive. 3 4 M AT ER I A LS M A N Tasmanian-born designer Brodie Neill reimagines waste. 3 6 LESS I S M O R E Discover the elegant new CLS.
Hardie Grant Media / Private Bag 1600, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia 3141 / tel: 61 3 8520 6444 / hardiegrantmedia.com Publisher Tiffany Sayers / Editor Lucy Siebert Art direction & design Dallas Budde and Luke McManus / Pre-press Splitting Image Colour / Print Offset Alpine Editorial firstname.lastname@example.org / Advertising email@example.com
38 CH E CK O U T Introducing the AMG Driving Academy; flying in style; Melbourne Design Week; MercedesTrophy. 42 TH E PL ACE TO B E Mercedes me Melbourne. 44 Q U E ST I O N T I ME ? All the answers are revealed during a Californian road trip in the Mercedes-AMG S 63. 50 B I G WAV E Q U E ST Big wave Sebastian Steudtner talks tackling Australia’s rugged terrain and huge swells.
5 6 O N T H E ED G E Stay in the world’s most extreme hotels. 6 0 D R I VI NG C L A R K GA B LE’ S CA R The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster. 6 4 P L A ST I C FA N TA ST I C How the fashion world is turning pollution into garments. 6 8 F1™ A S EA S O N TO R EM EM B ER 2017 won’t be forgotten. 7 0 C ELL A R ES SEN T I A LS Tips on curating an outstanding wine collection. 7 4 P ER F EC T I O N Racing legend Juan Manuel Fangio.
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.com.au / Mercedes-Benz Marketing Jerry Stamoulis and Emily Borg / Enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org 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. ©2018 DE TAILS O F T H E EN T IRE MERCEDES-B ENZ R ANGE A R E AVA IL A B LE O N L I N E AT M E RCE D E S - BE N Z. CO M . AU
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CHECK IN Technology Mobility Research
F LY I N G TA X I The Volocopter looks like a cross between a helicopter and drone – which, appropriately, is exactly what it is. Running completely on electric power and capable of vertical take-off, the autonomous Volocopter has zero direct emissions and is currently being tested in Dubai. German company Volocopter hopes this vehicle will eventually reduce traffic in major cities around the world. Daimler AG’s innovative laboratory Lab1886 has a stake in the Volocopter and is watching its progress with interest. “What we saw with the live demonstration in Dubai was a historic moment for the future of mobility in the third dimension,” says Lab1886 director Susanne Hahn. “It made it clear that implementing fully autonomous electric mobility solutions in the urban sphere is realistic and within reach.” VOLOCOPTER.COM
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TURNING SCREENS INTO ART Mobile inspiration: online portal Sedition offers limited-edition works from renowned artists for smartphones, tablets and more. A genuine Wim Wenders photograph (above) for $11? An original Tracey Emin for $15? It’s a deal! Buy digital, limited-edition works at Sedition. S E D I T I O N A R T. C O M
PHOTOS DAIMLER AG (5), VOLOCOPTER/PR, WIM WENDERS, SUN BATHER, DIGITAL LIMITED EDITION, © WIM WENDERS, COURTESY OF SEDITIONART.COM
Hey, taxi! In the not-too-distant future, city slickers could use the Volocopter to escape traffic jams.
E TA L K
N PR A
Joanne Pransky – known as “Dr Joanne” – is an expert robotics advisor and considers herself to be the world’s first robotic psychiatrist.
H AV E A S E AT Sydney furniture designer Tom Fereday is the winner of the third annual Mercedes-Benz Design Award, presented at Melbourne’s Mercedes me Store in conjunction with Broadsheet. Of the four finalists shortlisted, a panel of judges concluded that Fereday’s ‘Sia’ chair most closely met the brief, to enhance the dining space. Fereday wins a trip to visit the architecturally significant Mercedes-Benz Design Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. His chair will also be prototyped, manufactured and sold in Australia by Cult Design, and purchased for use by the Mercedes me Store. The Sia chair, made from solid ash timber, mixes slender elegance with the practicality of an adjustable backrest adding lasting comfort. “I had always wanted to make a slim dining chair that didn’t take away from the comfort or luxury of dining,” Fereday said after winning the award.
Judge Richard Munao of Cult Design paid tribute to the support that Mercedes-Benz gave the design community. “When you look at what Mercedes-Benz is doing in Australia, not only are you investing in our country, it is investing in our design, and that is something that is unique and is one of the reasons [Cult Design] wanted to be associated with the award,” he said. “When you look at the entries, from a mentor’s perspective, it’s safe to say that Australian design is in good hands.” M E R C E D E S - B E N Z D E S I G N AWA R D . C O M . AU
What does being a “robotic psychiatrist” involve? I try to help people to overcome their fear of artificial intelligence. We can either use this new technology for our benefit, or we can take a critical and fearful stance towards it. It’s also an ethical matter for programmers and users. What does that mean practically? My aim is to enlighten people and to help them understand their emotional, social and psychological reactions to robot technologies, and to deal with those. These technological developments will inevitably affect every aspect of our lives – and in the very near future. According to one Oxford study, almost half of all Americans will lose their jobs to robots in the future, which creates a sense of anxiety. But will it also create opportunities? These kinds of studies are a little misleading, because it’s not about jobs, it’s about productivity. Robots won’t replace any professions, only functions: those things that people find boring, dirty, annoying or dull. In fact, robots will create jobs, not destroy them. How do you deal with the fear of loss of control? That comes down to perspective. We already have a lot of computers that are more intelligent and precise than humans in terms of computing power. But storage computers don’t control us: we use them as tools to make our lives easier. That’s how it will be with robots, too. Man and machine will work together to develop new solutions, like curing illnesses. It is all to our advantage. R O B O T. M D
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5 Hiking Set off to Barrenjoey Lighthouse. From there, you get a superb view across Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and Broken Bay.
BESTSYDNE Y WALKS.COM
LE NGTH – About 44 kilometres JOUR N EY T I M E – 1 hour
4 Surfing Whale Beach. The perfect spot for catching a wave or just watching all the surfing action while sipping on a flat white.
WHALEBE ACHDELI.COM. AU
3 Shopping Pick up souvenirs and vintage accessories on the Avalon Parade, close to glorious Avalon Beach. RUSTONLINE .COM. AU
AU S T R A L I A
Palm Beach is Sydney’s most northern beach and its location is truly spectacular. On one side of the peninsula awaits deep golden sand and Pacific waves; on the other, just a few steps further, lies Pittwater, a sailor’s paradise. Start your journey after the morning rush hour at the Sydney Harbour Bridge, driving on towards the northern beaches. There are about two dozen to choose from, with varying local opinions about which is the most beautiful – Whale Beach is often named the most stunning. End your tour at Palm Beach, known as a celebrity favourite. 12 Mercedes-Benz magazine
2 Food Fancy fish and chips? Sample house-made chips with fresh calamari or prawns at local favourite Sydney Fishmongers Manly.
1 Culture No visit to this glorious city is complete without stopping at the Sydney Opera House. Enjoy a cold drink with a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
M A N LY. M O N G E R S . COM. AU
SYDNE YOPER AHOUSE . COM
PHOTO TIM MOONEY ILLUSTRATION JINDRICH NOVOTNY
ROAD TO HAPPINESS
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The very finest example of Australiaâ€™s first coin in Uncirculated quality. From the esteemed H. D. Gibbs Collection, sold H. M. F. Schulman, New York, 1960. Presented in a hand-made Australian Birdseye Huon Pine presentation case crafted by Anton Gerner. Visit coinworks.com.au or call 03 9642 3133 for a Catalogue.
CHAMPIONSHIP VICTORY “I’ve put so much into this sport over the years that it’s especially sweet to finally get the rewards.”
N WORDS LUCY SIEBERT
ursing a wounded Mercedes-AMG GT3 across the finish line at New Zealand’s Highlands Motorsport Park, Peter Hackett and his co-driver Dominic Storey were elated to seal the 2017 Australian GT Endurance Championship. Co-driving the Autex Eggleston Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the final round of the championship, the Highlands 501, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific chief driving instructor Hackett and Mercedes-Benz driving instructor Storey only needed to finish the final race of the weekend to seal the coveted championship win. But it nearly didn’t happen – with six laps remaining, their Mercedes-AMG GT3 limped to the pits with a camber bolt issue that threatened to end the race and snuff out their title chances.
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Luckily, they were able to carry on and make it over the finish line – assuring them of the title that Hackett has previously missed out on a number of times. For him, the win was particularly momentous. “That’s pretty special; Australian Formula 3, Formula Holden, or Formula 4000 as it was, and now Australian GT, that’s got a nice ring to it,” said Hackett. “I always wanted to do one thing, and that was win a championship; I’ve now won the Australian Endurance Championship,”added Storey. Like all racing, the victory was a true team effort and both drivers paid tribute to their squad: in spite of obstacles during the year, Hackett said the team never wavered in its belief it could win the enduro title. “Everything in life worth having, you have to fight for,” he said. “I’ve put so much into this sport over the years that it’s especially sweet to finally < get the rewards.”
< An endurance test The Australian Endurance Championship sees teams battling over four rounds, two of which are held in New Zealand. The races have two timed compulsory pit stops. Vehicles eligible to race in the AEC are limited to GT3 cars – the same vehicles that compete in worldwide GT3 racing.
FACING THE CHALLENGE At one point, a camber bolt issue nearly put brakes on the pair’s championship hopes.
Australian GT Endurance Championship Sydney Motorsport Park 500 (Sydney, NSW)
Hampton Downs 500 (Waikato, NZ)
Phillip Island 500 (Phillip Island, VIC)
FACING THE CHALLENGE At one point, a camber bolt issue nearly put the brakes on the pair’s championship hopes.
(Central Otago, NZ)
A lifetime of racing Sealing the championship victory in the 2017 Australian GT Endurance Championship is just the latest in Peter Hackett’s long list of racing achievements. AIRBORNE
PORTRAIT PHOTO GETTY IMAGES
G-Class handled a Like most greatThe drivers, Hackett variety of conditions, from started his racing career as a to Melbourne's laneways remotetracks. WA tracks. child at his local go-kart His talent quickly became apparent and in the mid-1990s he trained in the UK at the Jim Russell Drivers School at Donnington Park. His return to Australia saw him competing in the Australian Formula 3 Championship. Since then he has raced in a range of championships and in 2015 he returned to GT racing with the Mercedes-AMG GT3.
In addition to his racing duties, the charismatic driver is the chief driving instructor for Mercedes-Benz, tasked with leading a team of highly experienced driving professionals and delivering unforgettable events for the Mercedes-Benz Driving Events. EXPERIENCE.MERCEDES-BENZ.COM. AU/EVENTS/DRIVING-EVENTS
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Captainâ€™s Choice A 22-Day Journey by Private Jet
THE ULTIMATE SAFARI BY PRIVATE JET
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Witnessing the Great Migration across the Savannah is the crowning jewel of this extraordinary adventure. We trek in search of mountain gorillas, navigate the Nile and float over otherworldly landscapes.
CAPE TOWN ROVOS RAIL VICTORIA FALLS CHOBE NATIONAL PARK GORILLAS IN RWANDA SERENGETI LALIBELA LUXOR CAIRO
INN OVAT I O N
ALWAYS ON CALL YOUR CAR is set to become your new personal assistant, thanks to the new MBUX infotainment system, which takes smart to the next level. WORDS ANDREW HOPGOOD
ey Mercedes…”. When the covers were pulled off the cockpit of the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January, those two words that stayed with the audience long after the crowds had died down. That’s because the all new A-Class, a car Mercedes-Benz is describing as the “ultimate mobile device”, debuts the brand’s new MBUX infotainment system, a cutting-edge setup unlike any other that turns your vehicle into a rolling mobile assistant ready to help with any request. We know cars have been growing ever smarter, with simple cruise control giving way to vehicles that can legitimately drive themselves across the country (for proof, look no further than page 30 for an article on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class that drove from Sydney to Melbourne all by itself in 2017 with little input from the person in the driver’s seat); but this A-Class takes the idea of in-cabin intelligence to a new level. Other technology highlights in the cabin include the Widescreen Cockpit that uses two highresolution screens stretching from the driver’s door to the centre of the cabin to display everything from driving info to navigation instructions. And then there is the debut of the intelligent voice recognition system that will be available on the next-generation A-Class to be launched in Australia later this year. While voice recognition technology in cars isn’t new, other systems require the driver to communicate via a limited series of pre-programmed sentences or key words that have been pre-programmed into the vehicle, so pronouncing something wrong or issuing an unknown command renders them not just useless, but endlessly frustrating, too.
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Too hot? Simply say, “I’m too warm” and the climate control settings will automatically adjust to begin cooling the cabin. The new MBUX system works the other way around, using artificial intelligence to learn as it goes, adapting to its owner’s phrases, and using an intelligent Linguatronic program to obey virtually any request. It’s activated using the words “hey Mercedes…”, after which you can ask it just about anything you’d like. Too hot? Simply say, “I’m too warm” and the climate control settings will automatically adjust to begin cooling the cabin. Wondering what to pack? Ask “will I need a jumper in Melbourne tomorrow?” and the A-Class will advise accordingly. Feeling peckish? Say “I’m hungry”, and you’ll be presented not just with a list of nearby restaurants, but their TripAdvisor ratings, too. “We call it ‘human centred innovation’,” says Mecedes-Benz board member and head of sales and marketing, Ola Kallenius. “We are turning the car into the ultimate mobile device, more mobile than a mobile phone. “It will be the best conversation you’ve ever had < with a car.”
HEY MERCEDES! The new intelligent voice recognition system, which will feature in the all new A-Class, certainly got tongues wagging at the annual CES event in Las Vegas.
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DELICIOUS DUO As recipes go, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S 4MATIC+ is a particularly tasty combination.
WORDS STE VE COLQUHOUN
tart with a biturbo V8 engine from the low-slung MercedesAMG GT sports car; add the slick-shifting, nine-speed AMGsourced transmission used by the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+; and combine with a liberal shake of mid-size SUV practicality. Cooked up by performance-focused Mercedes-AMG engineers, the GLC 63 S is a practical five-seater with racetrack-blitzing performance packed in. Local buyers can choose between a family-friendly four-door SUV or the four-door coupé body style. Both are full-blooded AMG performance vehicles, as proficient on the racetrack as in the shopping mall car park. The GLC 63 S pairing carries so much pride in their ability, Mercedes-AMG chose them as the first non-GT vehicles to receive the eye-catching Panamericana grille – a treatment that has become synonymous with AMG performance via the race-winning Mercedes-AMG GT3 racing cars and the record-breaking Mercedes-AMG GT R Coupé. The connection between the GT family and the GLC 63 S vehicles is more than symbolic. The 4.0-litre biturbo V8 at the heart of the GLC 63 S is the same
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unit that already powers the GT road car family (with dry sump lubrication in GT cars). It is the only V8 engine on offer in the mid-size SUV segment, and propels the GLC 63 S to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds.
With a pair of turbochargers tucked into the V between the cylinder banks rather than being located externally, the powerplant is compact yet responsive, but also keeps the emissions low. Yet, even with all this prodigious performance on tap, the GLC 63 S retains the hallmarks of a family-friendly Mercedes-Benz SUV – ample room for passengers and luggage, a comprehensive array of safety equipment, and superior traction even in wet or wintry road conditions. The new GLC 63 S is “a quite special vehicle”, says Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. “It is no easy job designing an SUV to be highly sporty and dynamic while at the same time offering inherent extreme driving stability. This required us to put our heart and soul, along with our many years of SUV expertise, into the development of this vehicle,” he says. <
F R E S H LY G R I L L E D The GLC 63 S is the first non-GT vehicle to receive the Panamericana grille.
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FINDING FREEDOM This is an SUV that is equally at home in the countryside as it is on the racetrack.
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< It is no easy job designing an SUV to be highly sporty and dynamic while at the same time offering inherent extreme driving stability. This required us to put our heart and soul, along with our many years of SUV expertise, into the development of this vehicle.
“The result is an SUV that can be driven with high precision and agility and which, if required, is equally at home on a high-speed lap of the race track. With our V8 biturbo engine, we hold a decisive USP (unique selling proposition) in the performance market. “What is more, with SUV and Coupé, we offer the widest choice in the segment. Also, the technical closeness to our sports cars is visually underlined by the Panamericana grille, which was previously reserved for our GT models.” With the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed transmission, which made its debut in the E 63 4MATIC+, the driver benefits from extremely short response times, including fast multiple downshifts. A start-off wet clutch replaces the torque converter, saving weight and optimising response to accelerator pedal input.
4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system
The AMG-optimised Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system uses fully variable torque distribution to the front and rear axles to ensure optimal traction right up to the physical limit. Five AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs - Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, Race and Individualallow the driver to extensively influence the characteristics of the GLC 63 S including engine, transmission, suspension, steering, ESP® and all-wheel drive responses. The driver also has the option of switching directly to manual mode, in which gearshifts are executed exclusively using steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. In the Race program, all the parameters are configured for maximum performance. A new three-chamber air suspension system can be adjusted over a wide range by activating or deactivating individual air chambers, perceptibly enhancing comfort and handling.
Adaptive damping can be set in three stages – Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus – to choose between relaxed comfort on long journeys and maximum sportiness. The GLC 63 S uses an electronic rear-axle limitedslip differential to reduce the slip on the inside wheel when cornering, allowing the driver to accelerate out of corners earlier and adding stability when braking from high speed.
Inside and out
A striking characteristic of the exterior design is the expressive front end: the new GLC 63 S is the first Mercedes-AMG Performance vehicle to feature the Panamericana grille. This design statement affirms the consistently dynamic design of the new performance SUV and coupé. A wide front apron framing the distinctive Panamericana grille is inspired by the design of a jet wing and hints at the new models’ capability. Widened wheel arch claddings further emphasise a muscular stance, while new side sill panels set with matt iridium silver inserts make the SUV and coupé appear to sit lower on the road. A performance steering wheel in black Nappa leather/DINAMICA microfibre, along with AMG badges in the front head restraints, an AMG instrument cluster with red highlights and numerous AMG-specific controls, reinforce the sporting prowess. Britta Seeger, the board member of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing and Sales, describes the new performance SUVs as “the very essence of automotive freedom and independence”. “Our SUVs show that Mercedes-Benz feels completely at home off the beaten track,” she says. “This sense of adventure is one of the reasons < why customers value our brand so highly.”
A G I L E C R E AT U R E The V8 biturbo engine combines with an AMG-optimised Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system.
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Onward into the
INTELLIGENT BUTTERFLIES, autonomous ants â€¦ with its bionic robots, Daimler AG supplier Festo is exploring the mobility of tomorrow, and achieving fascinating results.
WORDS MARC BIELEFELD PHOTOS TILLMANN FR ANZEN
24 Mercedes-Benz magazine
FLIGHT OF FANCY (Left) The â€˜eMotionButterflyâ€™ in action: it flies in a swarm and requires little energy. Its sensors are so tiny that they are barely visible. (Below) Bionics engineer Sebastian Schrof with an artificial kangaroo. It has a springy hop, and with each bounce it recaptures energy.
t scampers across the floor, raising and lowering its six little legs as its eyes inspect the world around it. Two thin antennae project from its head, a gold-coloured pattern runs along its black body and current flows through two tiny wires as though through an open nervous system. This small, artificial ant looks intelligent. You almost expect it to smile. Algorithms control this bionic insect. Stereo cameras are concealed in its head, sensors in its belly, antennae in its interior. Piezoceramic bending transducers (more on these later) move its legs; three-dimensional conductors are attached to its body. All this allows the ant to see, walk, pull and grab. It can call for help and communicate with others of its kind. The BionicAnt functions autonomously. It can make decisions and engage in cooperative behaviour. Thanks to the latest technologies, this 14cm-long robot, which imitates its natural cousin, lends itself to deployment in the tightest of spaces. Created by the German company Festo, the BionicAnt is a particularly good illustration of the revolutionary times in which we live. Never before have so many different fields of research intersected, have innovations complemented one another so successfully, or have globally networked companies so quickly expedited their projects. The rate of technological change is having a veritable snowball effect. It has long since taken hold in the field of mobility and will be shaping it in the future. The nomenclature for this new era: robotics, sensor technology, automation, connectivity, 3D printing and lightweight construction. Kinematics, adaptivity, miniaturisation, integration of multiple functions in a tiny component. Add to that the power of algorithms. Artificial intelligence. < Mercedes-Benz magazine 25
Self-learning systems. Feeling confused? Many people are. The artificial ant is one of those projects that provides concrete illustrations of these concepts and can help our understanding of these complex subjects. The BionicAnt was developed by the Bionic Learning Network, a research partnership under the direction of Festo, in Esslingen, Germany. With 18,800 employees, Festo is one of the world’s leading specialists in automation technology and a long-standing Daimler AG supplier. In putting together its bionics team, Festo created a special thinktank where engineers, designers, biologists and software specialists develop the ‘concepts of the future’. Here, the team takes inspiration from a model that is millions of years old: nature itself. Sebastian Schrof, who helped develop the ant for Festo, takes the bionic insect and puts it back into its plastic case. Schrof is a bionics engineer who specialises in robotics and has dubbed this specimen ‘Schmucchini’. It is one of 12 artificial ants on display at trade exhibitions and technology shows all over the world. And those who view it at events are usually left wide-eyed. Not only do the BionicAnts reflect the delicately intricate anatomy of real ants, but thanks to algorithms, they also imitate ants’ cognitive functions. Once on its legs, each ant first makes a map of its surroundings and communicates it to the other ants. The robots soon ‘know’ where they and all of their companions are. If they wish to move an object, they radio each other. The other ants quickly come crawling over and pitch in. Their knowledge has been stored: they are stronger in a swarm, and with joined forces they haul the object away without the help of anyone sitting at a remote control unit.
A brain consisting of numbers
Nadine Kärcher has been part of Festo’s bionics team for the past six years and develops software for the artificial creatures. Together with IT experts at the University of Ulm, she wrote the algorithms needed to transform the ants into acting entities: complex equations based on the most minutely defined steps. Kärcher explains how we should imagine the process. “We teach the ant that, when ‘this’ occurs, you do ‘that’. If your sensors detect something on the right, then you go left to avoid it. And if your battery is empty, you go to the charging station.” Essentially, algorithms are virtually endless strings of numbers that act upon their processors. The processor – a sort of brain that processes and distributes signals and controls the legs and grippers – is located in the ant’s posterior. Its most mind-boggling ability is that it simulates a collective ‘swarm intelligence’. 26 Mercedes-Benz magazine
A N I M A L AT T R A C T I O N The handling assistant is modelled on an elephant’s trunk, the flexible gripper on a fish fin. It can grasp apples, even raw eggs. (Right) Small but clever: the BionicAnt is technologically equipped to behave like its real counterpart.
1 Legs Piezoceramic bending transducers move the six legs.
2 Processor This distributes signals and controls the legs and small grippers. 3 Energy The charging circuit converts 8.4 volts to 300 volts. 4 Ring circuit Its output stages are the interfaces to the actuator technology.
5 Batteries Two lithium polymer cells deliver 8.4 volts (for up to 40 minutes). 6 Sensor chip A chip scans the floor and calculates distances. 7 Eyes 3D stereo cameras detect surroundings and objects. 8 Grippers These can grasp, pull and push an object. 9 Antennae These enable the ant to dock with the charging base on its own.
Once on its legs, each ant first makes a map of its surroundings and communicates it to the other ants. The robots soon ‘know’ where they and all of their companions are.
“Individual systems coordinate with one another,” explains Kärcher. “Collectively, they take on tasks that a system would not be able to manage by itself.” To move the insect’s legs, Festo uses something known as piezo technology. If a voltage is applied to a special crystal, the crystal reacts mechanically. The surface changes its shape, stretches or contracts. Conversely, the mechanical tension induces the piezo crystal to produce a voltage. This is an extremely effective reciprocal effect. And that is precisely how the six ant legs are made to move: by the use of piezoceramic bending transducers. The ant also makes use of the ‘moulded interconnected device’ (MID) method, which is used to attach visible three-dimensional conductors to the surfaces of the 3D-printed
components. The result is a contoured component that performs mechanical and electronic functions simultaneously. Such new technologies inspire the imagination; an artificial kangaroo has been seen hopping through Festo’s offices. In this example, the bionics team had observed something amazing in real kangaroos – much like a rubber ball, the animal recaptures energy with each landing and uses it for the next hop. It shifts its centre of gravity to jump in different parabolas. Elias Knubben, who has headed the bionics team at Festo since 2012, explains: “We took a close look at what was happening: the linear axes and impulses that have to be set in motion and braked. And we learned how to handle energy in an extremely economical way. With each < Mercedes-Benz magazine 27
hop, the kangaroo regains 80 per cent of its energy. You need apply only another 20 per cent to arrive at full jumping power again. An ingenious principle.” The bionics engineers at Festo have also emulated the tongue of a chameleon, a project that ultimately produced the ‘FlexShapeGripper’. Like a real chameleon’s tongue, this gripper extends over objects to snatch them – with the aid of an elastic silicone cap. They have copied the tentacles of an octopus. The artificial octopus arm is flexible and is operated pneumatically. It wraps around objects, and with its suction cups it can create a vacuum and grip smooth surfaces, even panes of glass. Elephant trunks and fish fins have also served as blueprints for extremely capable gripping arms. These robots can pick up tomatoes, apples and even raw eggs. “With each new project, we learn an enormous amount from nature,” says Knubben, “and much of that has found its way into production.” Basic research is, after all, no end in itself. The aim is to use new materials, test the use of sensors in a new context or ask: “what happens when information technology and biology meet?” The ultimate goal is to identify the possibilities of the dawning age, and to exploit them. It is in the production process that robotics can most effectively expedite the automobility of tomorrow. The robots of the future could leave their cages and work alongside people. They are able to apply fine motor skills to their movements. Their sensors enable them to determine when they need to stop. Prototypes such as the ‘BionicCobot’ do away with steel and electric motors entirely. Compressed air moves their joints, the axes in their elbows, lower arms and wrists. They can exert a firm grip or lift something up, firmly press something shut or even tap an employee on the shoulder. At Daimler AG, such developments are being followed with keen interest. “We want intelligent robots that detect mistakes, that can follow along with what we are doing and react accordingly and that can be operated as intuitively as a smartphone,” says Simon Klumpp, a process developer in charge of assembly, robotics and automation at Daimler AG. “Collaboration between people and robots will assume greater importance in the future. For that, however, sensors must be fused, machines must become more sensitive, be better able to see, to grasp and ideally be able to continue learning in the process.” Development will proceed in the direction of smart systems that can provide people with greater 28 Mercedes-Benz magazine
assistance. With the further development of artificial intelligence, more extensive networking and a continuous flow of exchanged data, many of the innovations will end up being a part of our everyday lives.
The butterfly effect
The vision of automated driving and a resulting reduction in accident statistics is drawing ever closer, thanks to sophisticated sensor technology. Intelligent parking searches – a feature that is particularly necessary in major cities – could likewise be organised with considerably more efficiency. But nature is the measure of things in a higher sense as well. Knubben talks of neuronal networks and swarm intelligence. “That would be a further technological leap,” he says. And his most recent bionic project shows what is in store for us. This morning, the team leader is standing in the glass entrance hall of the company headquarters, releasing flying butterflies. They flutter about
gracefully, playfully, nearly poetically. There is something almost miraculous about the spectacle. It is like a feather-light example of the smart mobility of tomorrow. The ‘eMotionButterfly’ is a bionic butterfly weighing a mere 27 grams and with a command of the beating wing principle. Its wings create thrust and lift at the same time. Its minimalistic body is the product of a 3D printer; a wafer-thin film is stretched over a carbon frame. Motors and electronics are so minimal that they are barely detectable a metre away. The bionic butterfly requires very little energy to stay airborne. Ten infrared cameras in the room locate every single insect, take 160 pictures and billions of pixels per second. They track minute markers mounted on the butterflies. The butterflies do not collide; they execute masterful evasive manoeuvres, abruptly changing their direction in a swarm. And they finish by gently landing on the bionics < engineer’s outstretched hand.
BRAINS TRUST Festo’s bionics team’s thinktank. Working with universities and experts from other companies, it creates new artificial animals every year. (Below, right) Daimler Trucks test the use of digitally linked trucks, referred to as ‘platooning’.
THE MOBILE FUTURE IS P ICKING UP S P EED There are many paths leading to the digital world of tomorrow. Things are moving at a rapid pace, and the juncture of new technologies is revealing entirely new prospects. Mercedes-Benz opened a development centre in Silicon Valley 20 years ago. Today, connectivity and autonomous driving, shared services and electro-mobility are the major trends. Plus, artificial intelligence is having an ever-greater impact on our everyday lives. Mercedes-Benz is working in many fields, not only to identify visionary concepts, but also to generate and further them. Designers have conceived a bionic car with a boxfish shape and sensational drag coefficients. The car is at the centre of an array of new projects that use neuronal networks and interact with the environment. The F 015 research vehicle illustrates a number of revolutionary concepts. It recognises its surroundings and cooperates with them. It also offers innovative approaches in sensor technology, lightweight construction and connectivity. Other developers at Daimler AG are working on the networked vehicle fleet and intelligent car sharing. Employees in Sindelfingen in Germany are testing robots for the factory of tomorrow, while Daimler Trucks is testing the use of digitally linked trucks in convoy travel, referred to as ‘platooning’. One source of inspiration is birds flying in formation. The objective: fuel efficiency.
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I N N OVAT I O N
DRIVING ON AUTO MERCEDES-BENZ SET A new standard during a history-making autonomous driving trip from Sydney to Melbourne. WORDS STE VE COLQUHOUN
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INTELLIGENT WORLD DRIVE The S 560 was fitted with cameras and radars to gather data on Australian driving conditions and roads. The information was gathered during a special journey from Sydney to Melbourne. Mercedes-Benz magazine 31
I N N OVAT I O N
ochen Haab loves to talk with his hands. The natural instinct of the Mercedes-Benz engineer is to express himself with big gestures, and lots of eye contact. Ordinarily, that sort of animation from the driver travelling at 110km/h might be cause for alarm. Today, though, Haab has the freedom to unleash his gregarious personality as he enthusiastically gives us a glimpse into the much-hyped future of motoring or the next step towards autonomous driving. For this history-making trip from Sydney to Canberra and onwards to Melbourne, the Mercedes-Benz S 560 is largely driving itself. Haab is in the driver’s seat, yet the steering wheel twitches and gently corrects itself without assistance, while the pedals move independently of his feet. As the hours pass and the kilometres wind by, Haab’s hands hover near the steering wheel and his feet are poised in front of the pedals. He remains vigilant on this exploratory trip, poised to resume control if it’s required, but rarely needing to.
MANY ROADS The Intelligent World Drive program gathers data from specific countries around the world for engineers to analyse and refine for the future of autonomous driving. (Below) Jochen Haab demonstrating some autonomous features during the historic ‘test drive’ in Australia.
The competency of this S 560 in safely negotiating all the knowns and unknowns of a major highway is impressive, but that’s not the most surprising fact to emerge. What catches us unaware is that the technology to complete this feat is mostly already baked into every S-Class being sold. This trip is not about showing off, nor demonstrating the infallibility of autonomous driving. Quite the opposite, in fact. Haab and his German-based team of engineers are travelling to a number of different countries, subjecting the Germanregistered S 560 to the widest-possible variety of road conditions, traffic signals, driver behaviours and even local fauna.
Global Intelligent World Drive program
The exercise, known as the Intelligent World Drive, aims to trigger unforeseen issues that the vehicle may not yet be programmed to deal with. Then, using video from cameras and information from radars positioned around the car, plus data from thousands of computer streams, the 32 Mercedes-Benz magazine
A three-hour drive felt like a half-hour drive. Yes, you monitor and check out things, but those subconscious things that tire you over time, especially on long travels, they’re gone.
team analyses what happened and how the car responded. The findings will be used to refine the software to handle an ever-wider variety of situations. Externally – aside from some eye-catching stickerwork – our car looks like an ‘ordinary’ S-Class. But one look in the boot makes it obvious it is anything but. An extraneous computer that takes up most of the luggage space logs up to 10,000 signals from the car at the rate of 30 frames per second. Additionally, a large display screen positioned next to the driver tracks the vehicle in real time and displays every external object its sensors can detect. If an incident is flagged as needing more investigation, Haab’s team can draw on a further 60,000 signals to break the event down to milliseconds. Even Haab – one of the world’s most highly experienced and respected automotive test and validation engineers – may sometimes only be able to guess why the S 560 reacted in a certain manner to real-world signals or incidents, until the all-important data reveals the truth.
Sifting through data
As the S-Class eats up the kilometres on Australia’s main arterial, Haab and his team of engineers and data analysts methodically log every potential issue for later dissemination. Far from hiding any shortcomings, he welcomes the chance to demonstrate the differences between the way a human brain and a computer may react to the same incident. For instance, if a cat crosses the road in front of a car, a human may react with emotion rather than logic. “Your instinct may be to brake to save its life, but if there is a B-Double truck directly behind you, that is not going to end well for anyone, including the cat,” Haab says. “It is a different matter if it is a kangaroo, or a deer, which may be propelled onto the bonnet and through your windscreen.” This trip is an example of a debugging process without end. Every market in which Mercedes-Benz sells cars has slight variations in road conditions – nowhere else in the world, for example, would Haab’s team encounter the grisly sight of kangaroo ‘road kill’ straddling
the dual-lane highway. The car passes the obstacle without a twitch – partially because it wasn’t in our direct path, but mainly because the car’s computer measured the object and did not deem it worthy of evasive action. The prevailing wisdom within Mercedes-Benz is that extreme counter-measures such as emergency braking only be deployed for objects that are verifiably human – the computer can recognise all shapes and sizes, including wheelchairs, prams and shopping trolleys – or creatures of greater size than a large dog that may pose a lethal risk to the car’s occupants. Other incidents encountered are minor. At one stage, the car begins to gently decelerate of its own accord. Quick analysis later in the evening suggests the car may have detected a false speed signal from the roadside or from the satellite navigation program to which it is connected. The team will later break this event down and use the findings to update the vehicle’s software. On another occasion, the car drifts too close to the centre white line marking the roadside as we crest a rise with notably negative camber on the road surface. This may be a circumstance the software has not before encountered, and Haab logs the incident for further investigation.
End of the road – for now
Speaking at our journey’s end – the new Mercedes me Store in Melbourne’s Collins Street – Haab describes the experience of piloting an autonomous car on the intercity highway as “very relaxing”, in spite of the vigilance he has maintained over this particular commute. “A three-hour drive felt like a half-hour drive. Yes, you monitor and check out things, but those subconscious things that tire you over time, especially on long travels, they’re gone,” he says. Australia has proven a fascinating case study for autonomous driving. “You have very interesting roads, all types of roads with specialties like the hook turn in Melbourne and the Sydney Harbour Bridge and other things.” “That makes it very interesting for us as an environment. The car would be very suitable for Australia, and your country would be very < ready for it.”
Lighting the way Autonomous driving is not the only party trick of this very special Mercedes-Benz S 560. Its multi-beam headlamps are fitted with special prototype projectors that are capable of throwing a computer-generated illumination onto the road in front of the car. One demonstrated example is a zebra crossing, which the driver may project onto the road surface to signal to a pedestrian to cross in front of the stationary vehicle. A multitude of other signals can be programmed to open up a new method of communication with other road users after dark. Another possible feature may be to precisely shape the spread of highbeam headlamps around oncoming objects, such as a cyclist or other drivers, to avoid dazzling them without needing to dip the lights. Unlike the automated driving module already fitted to current S-Class vehicles, these projector headlamps are still at an early stage of development. The one-off set fitted to Haab’s S 560 are estimated to cost around $40,000 for the pair. Mercedes-Benz magazine 33
MEET AUSTRALIAN designer Brodie Neill, whose work is “the perfect combination of technology and craftsmanship; the handmade and the digital”. WORDS LUCY SIEBERT
ate last year, a rising star of the design world, much of whose work is dedicated to raising awareness of the scourge of ocean plastics, travelled to Germany to immerse himself in the philosophy of Mercedes-Benz. In Stuttgart, Australian furniture designer Brodie Neill, whose work is showcased at the NGV Triennial exhibition, explored the Mercedes-Benz Museum, toured a factory and discussed the future of mobility with directors from Mercedes-Benz. It’s an experience that Neill, who is known for his innovative approach to reconstituting materials, found invaluable. “There is a great synergy between my work and the technology of Mercedes-Benz,” he says. “It’s a very different scale [to my work] but it was amazing to see how developed and advanced the manufacturing is.” The combination of manufacturing, materials and mobility proved fascinating for Neill. “One of the most beneficial and exciting aspects
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was an extensive conversation with the brand directors of Mercedes-Benz, where we really discussed the future of travel and mobility, which is very much at the fore of their thinking. It’s all about ease of mobility, connectivity, experience, human-centred innovation and how the brand has evolved over a hundred years, and where it is going in the future,” he says.
Materiality at work
The nature of materials is at the very heart of London-based Neill’s work, which he credits largely to his early design training in Australia. “I’ve always been a designer that has focused on form and material and giving materials – predominantly natural materials – form, function and context and working with them in a very respectful manner; listening to the materials as to what they would like to be,” he says. “That is the way I was taught in Tasmania when I learnt furniture design – we were taught to design and create things that will outlive you, plus 25 years. Longevity was very important.
That’s always been with me. As a designer, when you’re putting pen to paper or clicking the mouse, you’re always thinking about what material to use ... on a larger scheme, as mankind, unfortunately we are using the world’s resources at an alarming rate.” This awareness led to Neill’s fascination with the modern environmental scourge: plastics. Gyro, table, originally created for the Australian Pavilion at the London Design Biennial in 2016 and subsequently acquired by the NGV for its permanent collection and a centrepiece of the NGV Triennial exhibition, highlights the issue. “I was asked to represent Australia [at the Biennale] and in doing so, highlighted the issue of ocean plastics,” says Neill. “I thought it very fitting for the world’s largest island and custodian of the oceans to take a leading role on the topic of ocean plastic. I wanted to utilise design to tackle this global issue and bring it to an international forum in the form of a round table, based on the idea of a round table discussion.” The starkly beautiful piece tells a dark story of globalisation, industrialisation and consumption. “Gyro, table is a contemporary rendition of a 19th century specimen table, which, traditionally, were tables made in the workshops and ateliers of Europe from precious stone, woods, ivories – precious materials gathered from far-away places,” explains Neill. “Gyro, table was a contemporary rendition that also has a sinister underbelly in that the material it is made from did come from all over the world but, unfortunately, it is plastics that are moved all around the world by the gyroscopic motion of the oceans.”
SPARKLING SPEC IME N Gyro, table tells the story of the world’s oceans – marine life typically eat and ingest the more brightly coloured plastics, leaving the blue and black flecks behind.
WASTE REIMAGINED The Remix chaise was Neill's first major foray into creating art from the world of waste.
The Remix chaise
We were taught to design and create things that will outlive you, plus 25 years.
Flotsam bench seat
Supporting Neill’s work with the NGV is a partnership with Mercedes-Benz. His Flotsam bench seat is a permanent piece at Mercedes me Melbourne store in the Rialto Towers, accompanied by interactive videos that tell the story of the design. As well as Gyro, table at the NGV and Flotsam bench seat at Mercedes me Melbourne, Neill’s commercial furniture line, Made In Ratio, is available in Australia from the retailer Living Edge. >
The piece is not Neill’s first foray into reconstituting material that is typically considered waste. In 2008 he created the Remix chaise, which is made of 44 layers of sheet material sourced from workshops and building sites around the UK. Neill reconstituted the material and sliced through it with a state-of-the-art process of computer numerical control (CNC) carving. “I applied, like a lot of my work, the perfect combination of technology and craftsmanship; handmade and the digital,” he says. “The Remix was then finished with super smooth French polish, so if you ran your hand over it, it is one sinuous surface.” In doing so, Neill demonstrated that a material that is typically viewed as rubbish, could be reimagined into both an aesthetically beautiful and functional piece. “Rather than seeing it as waste, it’s something that we wanted to see as a potential building block of something new,” he says.
View Brodie Neill’s Flotsam bench seat at Mercedes me Melbourne, which is open from 7am Monday–Friday. NGV Triennial runs until April 15, 2018. Mercedes-Benz magazine 35
LESS IS MORE THE NEW CLS HAS a paired back design that radiates elegant beauty.
here has always been an elegance about the Mercedes-Benz CLS, the car that invented the four-door coupé category. Long, low and stylish, it slinks like a panther through the urban environment and dispatches day-long commutes with admirable ease. The stylish four-door CLS has had a modern reboot, yet something has been lost in the process. Eagle eyes may already have spotted the distinct and appealing lack of crease lines or trim pieces to interrupt the clean surfacing. Simple and pure, the third-generation CLS embodies the latest Mercedes-Benz design ideology. It remains a clear descendant of the original CLS, the car that began a new genre back in 2004. The arcing waistline, flat side window lines and raking greenhouse remain faithful to the DNA,
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while providing the structure to express the latest generation on the Mercedes-Benz ‘sensual purity’ design idiom. “The new CLS is a design icon as the archetype of the four-door coupé,” says Gorden Wagener, chief design officer Daimler AG. “In line with our design philosophy of sensual purity, we have reduced its DNA in an extremely puristic way and at the same time emotionally charged it with elegant beauty.” An added bonus to the attractively smooth surfacing is a drag coefficient of 0.26, proof positive of the vehicle’s outstanding aerodynamics that deliver benefits in both quietness and fuel efficiency. The latest CLS was revealed at the Los Angeles auto show in late November 2017 with more than one new trick up its sleeve. It will be a five-seater for the first time, and selected models
The new CLS is a design icon as the archetype of the four-door coupé
ALL NEW For the first time, the new CLS will be a five-seater, and selected models have Energizing Comfort Control, a feature currently only available to the S-Class range.
i Mercedes-Benz CLS 450 4MATIC Engine/output: 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder turbocharged petrol; 270kW/500Nm Transmission 9G-TRONIC automatic Drive configuration 4MATIC all-wheel drive
will gain Energizing Comfort Control, a feature currently only available to the S-Class range. Energizing Comfort Control changes the interior characteristics of the car to enhance a number of mood settings, from relaxation to stimulation. This is achieved by altering the lighting, music, climate control and even the seat massage settings to match the way youâ€™re feeling. Added theatre comes from beautifully designed interior air vents that can be illuminated. With other features including AIR BODY CONTROL suspension, the latest infotainment generation, LED High Performance headlamps, Lane Keeping Assist, Speed Limit Assist and an impressive 12.3â€‘inch media display, the CLS has substance to match the style. >
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CHECK OUT Design Art Indulgence
OCEAN-GOING With its sparkling clear waters and balmy temperatures, Tropical North Queensland is made for yachting adventures. Now, one of the regionâ€™s superyachts, Port Douglas-based Beluga, has added a new 40-foot boat, Minke, to her offering, which is designed especially for diving enthusiasts. BELUGA -X.COM.AU
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CROSS -BORDER Italy and Switzerland are two of the most beautiful and enchanting countries in Europe, and discovering them by train is a romantic, relaxing and refined option. For the first time, Europe train pass company Eurail is offering a combined Italy-Switzerland Pass, allowing guests to travel at their own pace through the likes of Rome, Venice, Zurich and Lucerne on one pass. First-Class passes ensure more legroom, space for luggage and privacy. EURAIL.COM
T R AV E L TRANSFORMED What happens when great design minds from the worlds of flight and automotive combine? That’s exactly what happened when teams from Mercedes-Benz and Emirates met more than three years ago to exchange ideas on design trends and innovation. The result? The new First Class suite on Emirates’ Boeing 777 aircraft, which features design elements inspired by the luxurious new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, such as the choice of materials, the controls and the ambient light system. The cooperation goes a step further – First-Class guests are treated to airport transfers in Dubai in a range of S-Class models. Happy landings, indeed! E M I R AT E S . C O M / A U
IMAGES EMIRATES; STUDIO FORTMATASMA; BELUGA X ; THE BEAUMONT
B E A U T I F U L LY BRITISH London’s Beaumont Hotel is the epitome of 1920s glamour. Designed with fictional 1920s character Jimmy Beaumont in mind, it is located in exclusive Mayfair, just a short stroll away from some of the capital’s best shopping, dining and cultural delights. Head concierge Christophe Caron suggests making a visit to Bond Street and Jermyn Street for shopping; the galleries Gagossian on Grosvenor Hill and Hauser & Wirth on Savile Row and the Churchill War Rooms. With 73 rooms – 23 of which are suites and studios – the hotel also has its own bespoke scent thanks to a collaboration with British perfumer Jo Malone MBE. The Beaumont by Jo Loves features notes of incense, myrrh, vetiver and patchouli – perfectly capturing the property’s vintage essence. T H E B E A U M O N T. C O M
CIT Y- WIDE DESIGN C E L E B R AT I O N Victoria’s capital will host some of the finest design minds during Melbourne Design Week from March 15–25. The annual program connects creativity with business and community. This year, the theme ‘Design Effects’ will delve into the wide-reaching nature of design, asking: What effects does design have on the environment around us? How is design a catalyst for change? What change do we want this to be? There are talks by leading designers, tours, workshops and industry events. N G V. V I C . G O V. A U / M E L B O U R N E - D E S I G N - W E E K
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S C A N D I N AV I A N SIMPLICITY first piece under her tenure – the #77 stool, which is a new take on the existing #77 chair. To create Møller’s chairs and benches, the woven material of the seat is made of tightly twisted paper; a continuous 130-metre-long piece of cord hand woven and complimentary of the hand-finished timber. Of course, each design is
AMG DRIV ING ACADEMY
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made to last – the first chair, designed in 1944 by founder Niels Otto Møller, is still in production today – and many craftspeople have worked in the factory in Aarhus in Denmark since it opened in 1961. The #77 stool is available in Australia at Great Dane Furniture. G R E AT D A N E F U R N I T U R E . C O M
Festival of AMG is rebranding to align with the globally recognised AMG Driving Academy. Long-time festival fan, Adrian Ribarits, ventures from Mildura to Phillip Island each year for a few spins around the famous track, has the Bathurst drive day in his pipeline and a trip to AMG Snow in Queenstown on his bucket list.
Any advice to anyone considering attending a drive day? I can’t recommend them enough. First, because the automation in [these cars] is unbelievable and you don’t get to experience it in normal road-going conditions unless you’re in a real problem. Second, you’ll learn how good of a driver you really are – or are not. And third, and this is what I like best about the drive days, there’s a top instructor sitting beside you in the car. They guide you and feed you information, and at the end of the day you’ll walk out of that racetrack a better driver. And they’re not any racecar driver either – Dom Storey, for example. I drove with him. It’s invaluable.
When did you attend your first AMG driving event? Five years ago. It was down at Phillip Island racetrack, an absolutely outstanding track. After that I was hooked, line and sinker. Since then, have you attended other drive days? I go down to Phillip Island – if I can attend, I will. Plus, I went to Bathurst in February this year. Queenstown in New Zealand is particularly bad timing for us with work, so I haven’t been able to attend that one. I’ve actually never seen snow so I’m quite keen to go there and try the driving. How long have you been an AMG fan? We purchased our car about eight years ago and were very lucky to get an S 63 AMG. I’ve been a fan ever since.
IMAGES AI WEIWEI STUDIO
In the world of design, less is more, as highlighted by Danish furniture house JL Møller Møbelfabrik. Founded in 1944, the company has only released a clutch of designs over the decades – but each piece speaks volumes. New CEO, 28-year-old Kirsten Møller recently visited Australia to celebrate the launch of the
F L O R A L F A N TA S T I C Autumn is on the horizon – all the more reason to keep interiors bright with Melbourne design company Porcelain Bear’s Cloche lights, which are now available in a bouquet of floral designs. Porcelain Bear is the brainchild of design duo Gregory Bonasera and Anthony Raymond, and each Cloche is a bespoke creation handmade to order. The design duo believes the lights work equally well in either a modern setting or a heritage renovation. “We do try to design things that work and last a long time; things that don’t date very quickly,” says Bonasera. “For us, the Cloche is a good example of an object that doesn’t just belong in one style of interior.” PORCELAINBEAR.COM
WINTER BREAK Sample the best of New Zealand fare at the winter edition of the Food and Wine Classic (aka F.A.W.C!), Hawke’s Bay. The culinary festival brings together top chefs and some of the country’s finest produce and wines over four weekends in June. There’s plenty on offer beyond the festival, too. Hawke’s Bay is said to be New Zealand’s oldest wine region, so cellar doors abound. Plus, its Art Deco architecture and spectacular coastal landscapes attract visitors from far and wide. FAWC . C O . N Z
SYDNEY’S ART HIGHLIGHT Indulge in all things contemporary art at the Biennale of Sydney, one of the city’s most highly anticipated events, which runs from March 16 to June 11. Curated by Mami Kataoka, chief curator at the Mori Art Museum (MAM) in Tokyo and headlined by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, the 21st edition will draw on the theme of ‘Superposition: Art of Equilibrium and Engagement’. Law of the Journey 2017 Ai Weiwei
B I E N N A L E O F S Y D N E Y. C O M . A U
TOUGH COMPETITORS Australia fell agonisingly short of a podium finish at the MercedesTrophy golf world final in Stuttgart, finishing a single point shy of second place. Competing in a field of 32 nations comprised entirely of Mercedes-Benz customers, the Australian team of Alan Wong, Rick Pegus and Michael King placed fourth behind the
victorious South Asia composite team, while New Zealand’s squad of Xu Han, Fangyi Zhao and Alister Biset finished a creditable 8th. Three rounds of championshipstyle golf at two courses in Stuttgart and Sindelfingen was the focus of a memorable trip for the three-man representative teams, which included a visit
from golfing legend Bernhard Langer. Numerous off-course events included a tour of the Mercedes-Benz manufacturing plant and Design Museum, a Stuttgart city tour and boat trip, and a visit to Oktoberfest celebrations were among the highlights. EXPERIENCE.MERCEDES-BENZ.COM.AU/ EVENTS/GOLF/MERCEDES-TROPHY
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SEE AND BE SEEN At the opening of Mercedes me Melbourne (pictured above, from left): Lorenz Grollo, Salvatore Malatesta, Mick Doohan, Emma Snowsill, Jan Frodeno, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific CEO Horst von Sanden and Shane Delia. The Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion research car (above left) also proved to be a major attraction on the night. 42 Mercedes-Benz magazine
THE PL ACE TO BE
There’s only one place to see and be seen in the Victorian capital – welcome to the immersive MERCEDES ME Melbourne.
ercedes-Benz has placed its own stamp on Melbourne’s vibrant café scene with the opening of the world’s ninth Mercedes me Store, on Collins Street in the heart of the Melbourne CBD. Mercedes me sprang to life with a glittering opening party featuring a bevy of cuttingedge Mercedes-Benz vehicles, including the futuristic F015 and the captivating GT four-door concept, as well as classics such as a beautiful 300 SL Roadster. Celebrities and friends of the brand toasted the new store, with entertainment supplied by accomplished singer/songwriter Matt Corby. Mercedes me Melbourne is a permanent fixture offering contemporary architecture, top-class coffee and gastronomy courtesy of the acclaimed hospitality partner ST. ALi, as well as the ability to host events in an architecturally designed, multi-level central location. “It is a great reflection on the importance of our local market to open a Mercedes me Store in Australia,” says Mercedes-Benz Australia-Pacific CEO and managing director Horst von Sanden. “To open such a facility amid Melbourne’s world-renowned food and drink
scene is a great honour, and we are sure that we can do Melbourne and Mercedes-Benz proud.” In other established Mercedes me Stores around the world, the combination of engaging digital design elements with modern food and events has increasingly attracted more young people to a first experience of the Mercedes-Benz brand in a relaxed setting. “We want to be a place that people love and look forward to coming back to,” says Mercedes me Melbourne’s general manager Simon Johnson. “As well as being a place for fans and customers to enjoy, Mercedes me Melbourne opens up the Mercedes-Benz brand to people who may not have previously considered it. It’s not a merchandise store nor a retail outlet, but an access point to the brand, in what is an entirely new approach in Australia.” By night, Mercedes me Melbourne will transform into a brand new event space, showcasing art, food, fashion, sport, design, innovation and collaboration, and also harness existing Mercedes-Benz partnerships such as the National Gallery of Victoria, the Australian Grand Prix and Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. Mercedes me Melbourne (525 Collins Street) is open from 7am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and < until 6.30pm on Friday.
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THE GLORIOUSLY powerful new Mercedes-AMG S 63 will soon have you questioning everything you thought you knew about cabriolets. WORDS ANDREW HOPGOOD
hen you really break it down, there is one pretty simple question that has driven almost every significant achievement in the history of humankind. And that question is; why not? Did NASA ever really need to put Neil Armstrong on the Moon? Was there any logical reason for Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to set off up Everest? And why on earth would Susie Maroney need to swim from Mexico to Cuba? Had she lost her passport?
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The answer, of course, is that they could, and so they did. They asked “why not?”. And so it is with the Mercedes-AMG S 63 Cabriolet that’s glinting seductively in the California sun. Does the world really need a luxurious convertible limousine powered by one of the world’s most fantastically potent engines; a twin-turbocharged eight cylinder that’s been hand-built by the masters at AMG? Probably not. But Mercedes-AMG could, so it did. And having spent a glorious afternoon tracking from sun-soaked Malibu, through winding canyon roads to the hilltops surrounding Santa <
IS THIS THE ANSWER? The new Mercedes-AMG S 63 Cabriolet allows drivers to let their hair down while never sacrificing on sheer performance.
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COLOURFUL CHAR ACTER The S 63 Cabriolet isn’t merely stunning to look at – below the bonnet it sports a twin-turbocharged eight cylinder that’s been hand-built by the masters at AMG.
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The S 63 – powered by the most powerful V8 engine ever produced by AMG – is the headline act in a new Cabriolet and Coupé range that will follow hot on the heels of the new S-Class Saloon that has just launched.
Barbara – engine pumping, exhaust growling, roof down to welcome the late-afternoon sun – we’re very glad indeed that they did. Push the accelerator and the S 63 Cabriolet pauses for the most fleeting of moments, as if preparing for what’s to come, before it leans back ever so slightly as its rear tyres find bite, then launches forward with such joyful enthusiasm you can’t help but laugh out loud. Before you know it, 100km/h has flown past the windows, and should you find yourself on a German autobahn, the S 63 Cabriolet will continue climbing to a staggering 300km/h. And then, of course, there’s the sound. Without the insulation of a metal roof, the full V8 orchestra is piped directly into the cabin, from the throaty blip as you start the engine to the bass-filled roar as you pile on speed, each gear change from the nine-speed automatic accompanied by this marvelous snap or crackle from the exhaust. The roof itself, which opens and closes in just 20 seconds and at speeds of up to 50km/h is triple-layered and made of sound-deadening fabric, making the Cabriolet almost as quiet as the Coupé when the soft-top is in place. Which it rarely will be, given the aural delights that are just 20 seconds away. The S 63 – powered by the most powerful V8 engine ever produced by AMG – is the headline act in a new Cabriolet and Coupé range that will follow hot on the heels of the new S-Class Saloon that has just launched. And while the luxury-soaked S-Class Saloon is designed to be enjoyed equally from the driver’s seat or ensconced in the comfortable confines of the backseat, the two-door Coupé and Cabriolet have one very important difference; both are all < about the driver. Mercedes-Benz magazine 47
SUBTLE NEW LOOK A new three-spoke steering wheel houses the cruise control functions for the first time.
i Mercedes-AMG S 63 Cabriolet Engine/output: 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8; 450kW and 900Nm Transmission: AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G Drive configuration: Rear-wheel drive Combined fuel consumption: 11.9L/100km combined* *The declared fuel consumption figures are determined by testing under standardised laboratory conditions to comply with ADR 81/02. Real world consumption is influenced by many additional factors such as individual driving style, load, traffic and vehicle condition. The declared fuel consumption figure should only be used for the purpose of comparison amongst vehicles.
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Slip into the cabin and you’re greeted by a blend of soft Nappa leather and fine woodgrain that cover every touchpoint, while an optional driver energizing system pairs with the seat controls, stereo, cabin lighting and even a perfume dispenser that creates a specific mood in the cabin, be it freshness, vitality, warmth, joy or comfort. This is the company’s flagship model, of course, so you can also expect a dizzying collection of luxury features, some of which you’ll never have known you needed, but will soon be unable to live without. The seats will give you a hot-stone massage, for example, while music is provided by a 1520-watt, 23-speaker sound system. And should you grow tired of driving (which you won’t), the S-Class Cabriolet’s autonomous driving technology is even smarter than ever, and can not only assist you with some of the driving duties for you on the freeway but will even pair with the map system to gently reduce speed as you approach corners to minimise any disturbance in the cabin.
CITY SLICKER Stuck in traffic? Relieve the stress with an in-seat hot-stone massage. Need an energy boost? Flick on your favourite tunes via the 23-speaker sound system. Or fancy a break from driving altogether? The S 63 can assist with some driving duties.
Add to that the Magic Body Control system, that will add 2.65-degrees of opposite lean as you enter a corner to keep the cabin stable, and you have one of the most quiet and cosseting cabins in existence. So if you’re considering joining the S-Class family, remember, there’s only one question you really < need to ask yourself. Why not?
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WAVE QUEST SURFER SEBASTIAN STEUDTNER is always on the hunt for the next extreme ride – a quest that took him on a road trip from Melbourne to Western Australia in search of Australia’s biggest waves. WORDS STE VE COLQUHOUN
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PHOTOS PE TER AITCHISON
ALL ACCESS Sebastian Steudtner undertook a mammoth Australian road trip with fellow surfer Justin Redman. Mercedes-Benz magazine 51
ebastian Steudtner is only truly happy when the surf is big. And we’re not talking about the likes of surfing meccas such as Hawaii’s Pipeline or Australia’s Bells Beach, either. Sebastian is a storm surfer, chasing some of the most powerful storms on Earth driving the sort of gnarly surges that would dwarf the average block of flats. His obsession with chasing down the world’s largest waves recently brought him to Australia’s rugged southern coast, where waves driven straight off the Southern Ocean can pound with all of nature’s fury directly into the almost uninhabited expanse of the Great Australian Bight. As a Mercedes-Benz ambassador, a G-Class off-roader was the obvious choice for an exploration that started in Melbourne and finished, some 3400 kilometres and many waves later, in Perth. MB Magazine: What inspired you to undertake this trip? Sebastian Steudtner: I visited Australia for the first time in 2016 and stayed in Western Australia the whole time. I fell in love with the area and made some good friends there, one of them Justin Redman, who is one of the best longboarders in Australia. A few local WA big wave chargers, Jarred Foster and Mick Corbet, took me on some adventures around Yallingup and down the coast to a really heavy wave. In 2017, I came back and waited for a big storm to happen, but it never came together. However, I really wanted to see more of Australia, so I called up Justin, who knows the coastline really well, and asked if he wanted to join me on a road trip from Melbourne to Perth. He was in, and so we organised ourselves and went for it. MBM: What were your impressions of the coastline of southern Australia? SS: Amazing nature first of all; we camped a lot on remote beaches or forests. The endless coastline that has so much to discover; we went from city, to no-man’s land, to the longest straight road I have ever driven on, plus a lot of unique places with special people, and always the feeling of freedom. 52 Mercedes-Benz magazine
< We found a few remote waves that were really fun to surf. MBM: In surfing terms, what was the highlight of the trip? SS: Unfortunately, we didn’t get any big waves on the trip, due to no big storms. We found a few remote waves that were really fun to surf – on one occasion I thought we saw a shark far out in a bay with no-one but Justin and myself out in the water. It turned out it was just a seal, though. The most fun surf we got was in Justin’s home town, Yallingup, where we surfed for a few days before heading up to Perth. MBM: Tell us something you learned about Australia or Australians. SS: Everyone has a healthy and friendly mentality. Australians are very connected to their land and sea and know a lot about nature. Most of the people we met were open-minded, kindhearted and very real. And I learned that distance < is relative.
SEA AND SAND Sebastian Steudtner discovered Australiansâ€™ deep connection with the land and sea.
ALL TERRAIN The G-Class handled a variety of conditions, from Melbourneâ€™s laneways to remote WA tracks.
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The G Wagon was our reliable friend that took us everywhere we wanted to go.
RURAL ESCAPE Sebastian Steudtner explored outback Australia, including viewing artist Guido van Heltenâ€™s silos at Coonalpyn in South Australia. 54 Mercedes-Benz magazine
MBM: How did the Mercedes-Benz G-Class you drove handle the long distances and the coastal terrain? SS: The G Wagon was our reliable friend that took us everywhere we wanted to go. We climbed up rocks, drove on beaches, through forests, rivers and some really gnarly trails. As we wanted to camp as much as possible, we had a lot of gear packed in the car as well as all of our surfing and photo gear, and still there was enough space for all of us to be comfortable. I have to admit that we got stuck a few times through being too lazy letting the tyres down. Another thing I learned in Australia – it’s faster to let your tyres down than to dig yourself out! I love the G Wagon and all of its off-road abilities and road comfort. MBM: As a big-wave surfer, is there any such thing as ‘too big’ in your mind? SS: So far I have surfed all of the biggest storms that came my way throughout the years. I haven’t been in the water and said to myself ‘this is too big’ yet. We are surfing waves that are bigger than 60 or 70 feet [18 to 21 metres] nowadays, and I think there is still some room to go bigger. It will be a question of adapting our equipment and skills to ride them, and we will find out if it is possible when the biggest storm of our time will arrive. MBM: What is your favourite wave in the world to ride? SS: I love big waves, so I have to say Nazaré in Portugal is one of my favourite waves to surf – it’s challenging, scary and so powerful, it’s hard to describe. I also love small waves with a few friends out having fun. Any day in the ocean is a good day for me. MBM: Outside surfing, who are the athletes who most inspire you? SS: One of my favourite athletes of our time is the British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua – his positive mindset and dedication to his sport is inspiring. Sean Fitzpatrick, the former All Blacks captain and chairman of Laureus [a charitable sports foundation] is also a big inspiration to me. The energy and natural leadership he carries with < him are something special.
RUGGED COMFORT Surfers Sebastian Steudtner and Justin Redman found that the G Wagon offered space and comfort during their exploration of the Western Australia coastline.
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M U LT I - L E V E L L I V I N G The floating Manta Resort on Pemba Island, Tanzania, features a rooftop deck, sea-level lounge and submerged bedrooms. 56 Mercedes-Benz magazine
ON THE EDGE DEFY GRAVITY by nesting like a bird or dive to watery depths in an underwater suite. Extreme hotels are taking adventure travel to another level. W O R D S M I R A N D A TAY
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anging off a cliff edge. Sleeping in bedrooms beneath sea level. Luxuriating in eco stays nestled among the treetops. Travel is at the crest of an exhilarating wave, as adventurous holidaymakers seek new heights and unexplored depths. The result is properties crafted by architects, visionaries and engineers that are destinations in their own right. These, of course, also provide the perfect backdrops for social media snaps that are the envy of everyone left at home. “Australians love an aspirational adventure, and, by combining stunning hotels with extreme settings, we are giving travellers not only the best holiday experience but content to make their friends at home envious,” says Luke Wilson, area manager for booking.com. “Travel is now one of the most shared topics on social media, and, according to recent booking. com research, almost a third of people surveyed said that taking the ultimate shots for social media was one of the first things they do on holiday.”
Up in the air
In Sweden, glamping with a twist is offered in the shape of suspension stays for the intrepid camper. 58 Mercedes-Benz magazine
Nestled in the pine forest around Harads, seven quirky tree hotels – each a distinct structure with its own identity – float amid the natural habitat. They range from intergalactic (the UFO) to naturalistic (Birds Nest) to hovercraft-like (the Cabin). Star of the group is the Swedish-engineered MirrorCube, a hideout camouflaged by mirrored walls that reflect the surrounding forest and sky. From within, six windows offer a stunning panoramic view. Accessed by a rope bridge, the plywood interior has room for just two guests. In a similar vein is Free Spirit Spheres, near Qualicum Beach on Canada’s Vancouver Island. These suspended timber orbs – part hobbit home and part tree house – hover like large bubbles in the air. Tethered to surrounding trees, they sway gently in the breeze. Inside, the line between ceiling and floor becomes blurred for a sensory and harmonious natural experience.
Under the sea
The mysteries of our oceans and seas remain places of fascination. At the floating Manta Resort on Pemba Island in Tanzania, 360-degree views through reinforced window panes in submerged bedrooms provide a rippling panorama of octopi, reef fish and other
Indian Ocean inhabitants. There’s a sundeck on the roof, and lounge and bath facilities float at sea level. Also in the Indian Ocean, the world’s largest all-glass undersea restaurant, 5.8, at Hurawalhi Island Resort in the Maldives, invites diners to enjoy top-class culinary delights while surrounded by a breathtaking marine spectacle. Alternatively, splash out for one of two luxury suites at the Dubai Atlantis The Palm resort. Floor-to-ceiling windows three storeys high look out directly at 65,000 marine animals swimming in the Ambassador Lagoon aquarium. Closer to home, plunge into one of 11 deluxe Ocean Suites at Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore, where an underwater view through clear acrylic panels displays more than 40,000 marine creatures.
The big chill
Adventurers craving snow should head for the dramatic beauty of a Nordic winter wonderland. Every November for the past 20 years, the Icehotel in the Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi rises from the snow 200km north of the Arctic Circle, reincarnated as new themed suites. Every inch of the hotel, down to the beer glasses, is constructed from snow and ice from the Torne River. A recent addition, Icehotel 365 – includes a
PHOTOS TREEHOTEL; HURAWALHI ISLAND RESORT; OCEHOTEL 365; MANTA RESORT (PREVIOUS PAGE)
PANOR AMIC VIE WS Tree-top hotels are nestled in the natural forest habitat of the Harads in Sweden.
...enjoy top-class culinary delights while surrounded by a breathtaking marine spectacle.
UNDER THE SEA The Maldives is home to the world's largest all-glass undersea restaurant.
bar, art gallery and luxury suites – opened in late 2016 as a permanent hotel. Even further north, in Finland, you’ll find the enchanting Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, where glass igloos nestle into the snowy landscape on the edge of the Lappish wilderness. It’s the ideal place for guests to take in the breathtaking lightshow of the aurora borealis. The igloos are available throughout the Northern Lights season, from late August until the end of April.
On the edge
Cliffhanger takes on a new meaning at Skylodge Adventure Suites, in Cusco, Peru. The luxury aluminium and polycarbonate capsule pods are transparent, so guests get a sense of hanging off a granite slope looking over the Sacred Valley of the Incas (also known as Urubamba Valley). The experience has been likened to sleeping in a condor’s nest. A more vintage option is the Ascher Guesthouse and Restaurant, next to the Wildkirchli Caves in Switzerland. Etched into the side of a mountain during the 19th century, it’s for day trippers only, and accessible by cable car ride and a 15-minute hike. From its high plateau perch, the view across the Alpstein mountain range is stunning.
ICE PAL ACE Recline in ice-chairs and sip from ice-Champagne glasses at Icehotel 365 in Jukkasjärvi in northern Sweden.
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DRIVING CLARK GABLE’S CAR TO CELEBRATE the 60th birthday of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, an icon of automotive history, we went for a spin through the foothills of the Bavarian Alps in a 1957 model, once owned by Hollywood legend Clark Gable. W O R D S J Ö R G H E U E R P H O T O S D AV I D K L A M M E R
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erman entrepreneur and Mercedes-Benz 300 SL enthusiast Martin Semm couldn’t be happier. The 47-year-old is about to take his extraordinary car, recently purchased from a British classic car enthusiast, on its first lengthy journey. But then the term ‘car’ doesn’t quite do it justice: this vehicle is a true legend. The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster is an unrivalled style icon that has outlived trend after trend, with a price tag to match (it’s valued at about seven figures). This one, in particular, has a true claim to fame. It was built in 1957 and features light green metallic paintwork, dark green leather, a soft top and chassis number 00.7500582. What makes it truly unique, however, is that its first owner was none other than Clark Gable, Academy Award winner and one of Hollywood’s most enigmatic characters, famed for his quizzical expression with one eyebrow up and one down, as well as for his rough-and-ready charm.
Gable achieved global fame primarily through his roles as Rhett Butler in the classic Gone with the Wind and as brash reporter Peter Warne in It Happened One Night, a performance that earned him an Oscar in 1934. A distinctive star with an unmistakable air of glamour, Gable was known as a car enthusiast – a truly perfect match for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. <
ON THE ROAD Martin Semm hits the winding road to Peißenberg, with views of the Alps and Lake Ammer.
At full speed, the car’s guttural growl makes it feel like a force of nature
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Celebrating 60 with a road movie
Semm starts the engine and lets it run for two minutes to warm up, then tenderly puts the car into first gear. Equipped with a powerful threelitre engine, it quickly picks up speed. “The sound, the smell, the way it drives – everything about this car is fantastic,” exclaims Semm. “I could jump for joy.” This is his maiden voyage in the lovingly restored Roadster, a vehicle boasting 215 horsepower and a top speed of 250km/h. But this isn’t just any road trip to him. It’s his personal road movie starring the 1950s super sports car; an adventure that will see him navigate the foothills of the Bavarian Alps between Starnberg and Bad Tölz, known for hilly terrain, exhilarating serpentine bends and well-constructed roads. The emptier stretches in particular are ideal for putting a car like his to the test.
From ‘super light’ origins
The predecessor to the open-top Roadster was a fixed-roof coupé with gull-winged doors – the legendary 300 SL ‘Gullwing’. Launched in 1954, it instantly became a coveted sports car. Its origins had something to do with this success – after all, it was a later version of a car of the same name that, in 1952, enjoyed spectacular double victories at both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico. An innovative fuel injection system made the series production version of the 300 SL even more powerful than the successful racecar, with speeds of up to 250km/h making it the fastest series car of its time. In the three years to 1957, Mercedes-Benz produced 1400 gull-winged coupés (29 as super sporty aluminum versions). Within no time, the super light (SL) sports car had conquered the world’s roads. Its price tag back then: around 30,000 deutschmarks, or as much as a house. The first prototype of this open-top MercedesBenz 300 SL Roadster was completed in 1955, and it was first shown to the public in March of 1957 at the Geneva Motor Show. Production of the much-anticipated successor to the Gullwing began in May 1957. By 1963, 1858 open-top 300 SLs had been built. Gable owned both a Roadster and a Gullwing, with many more of the glitterati falling for the luxurious charm of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. Among them were actors Romy Schneider, Tony Curtis and Horst Buchholz, playboys Gunter Sachs and Porfirio Rubirosa and Mercedes-Benz racing legend Rudolf Caracciola. 62 Mercedes-Benz magazine
i MERCEDES -BENZ 300 SL ROADSTER Mercedes-Benz brought out the open-top version of the 300 SL in early 1957. It replaced its predecessor, the 300 SL Gullwing, which had been in production since 1954. Between 1957 and 1963, a total of 1858 Roadsters were constructed. They were a few thousand marks more expensive than the Gullwing and most of them were sold to North America. The main difference between the Gullwing and the Roadster lay in the latter’s single-joint swing axle with a lower pivot point, which improved the vehicle’s handling.
Clark Gable The Oscar-winning actor was born in 1901 and acted in more than 80 films between 1923 and his death in 1960. He was the proud owner of both a 300 SL Roadster and a 300 SL Gullwing.
A L L I N T H E D E TA I L S Martin Semm with his recently purchased 300 SL Roadster. The 300 SL Roadster is equipped with a straight-six engine (below), producing 215 horsepower. Its steering wheel is retrofitted, as are the extremely rare and highly valuable original rudge sports rims (below, top) with central locking system.
Back in Upper Bavaria, this is not Martin Semm’s first drive in a 300 SL. He, too, owns both the Roadster and a Gullwing. And while he also loves to drive these cars, he restricts himself to leisurely jaunts totalling no more than 1500 to 2000 kilometres per year. This particular outing takes him from Lake Starnberg towards the Alps. Passers-by stop to look, taking photographs. He happily takes the time to chat. It is, after all, part and parcel of driving a car like this. “I just love the very direct, pure nature of this car’s drive,” says Semm. “Back then, there was no power steering, no air conditioning, no onboard computers, no satnav devices.” Not that he needs the latter – he knows the Upper Bavarian countryside like the back of his hand. As we tuck into a meal of pretzels and sausage against a backdrop of the crystal-clear Riegsee Lake, Semm describes this trip as a “magical” outing.
Martin Semm The 47-year-old entrepreneur owns several historic, exceptionally valuable vehicles. Since 2011 he has been a member of the board of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Club, which has about 300 members.
“I somehow feel that Gable’s spirit is driving with me,” he says. “Historic photos and scenes from old Clark Gable films keep running through my mind.” Whenever he puts his foot down, joyfully pushing the 1350kg car to the edge of the speed limit and causing the straight-six engine under its bonnet to let out its characteristic roar, his eyes seem to take on Gable’s trademark twinkle. “It’s only when you actually drive the car that you can appreciate its many qualities,” Semm explains. “At 3000 revs, the engine sounds deep and rich, but go above and you’d think you’ve got a monster under the bonnet. And at full speed, the car’s guttural growl makes it feel like a force of nature.” Even five grazing alpacas seem fascinated by the Roadster. They stand at the edge of their field, transfixed. The road movie nears its end. Dark clouds begin to move down from the mountains. Semm stops to close the soft top before driving on. He will never forget this day spent in the Clark Gable Roadster, with him in the starring role. < Mercedes-Benz magazine 63
PLASTIC FANTASTIC THE FRENETIC PACE of fashion makes the industry the worldâ€™s second-largest polluter. Now, designers are beginning to adopt innovative new materials to minimise its environmental footprint. WORDS MITCHELL OAKLE Y SMITH
SHINY AND BRIGHT Australian label KitX reimagines and reuses materials. This piece, created for actress and UN Women Goodwill ambassador Emma Watson for the 2017 MTV Movie Awards, is fashioned from recycled sequins. 64 Mercedes-Benz magazine
gainst the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean, somewhere off the coast of California, a 700,000sq km gyre of marine debris particles sits ominously. Ac c u m u l a te d over the course of decades by the natural currents, the Great Pacific garbage patch, as the mass of microscopic plastic is described, poses a significant threat to the prosperity of marine life, including the flocks of seabirds that ingest hundreds of pieces of plastic. This plastic patch is the result of photodegradation caused by the material’s inability to biodegrade like organic debris. It subsequently splits into smaller and smaller particles, right through to the molecular level, where it enters the food chain. The man-made trash vortex is an imposing presence, one documented in the Craig Leeson-directed documentary A Plastic Ocean, in which teams of scientists and marine biologists explore the dire effects of the toxic pollutant and point to its long-term ramifications not only for the natural environment but for human life, too. With no singular solution to the growing issue, and without significant support from governments around the globe, such as the banning of plastic bags, a law that has been implemented in certain countries and states, responsibility has fallen to the private sector and individual citizens to remedy our oceans. As awareness grows through projects such as A Plastic Ocean, so too do the ideas of how to solve the problem.
To date, approximately 700,000 plastic bottles have been repurposed for the ongoing ‘RAW for the Oceans’ collections.
For their own part, industrial designer Andrew Simpson, jeweller Emma Swann and her creative director husband Paul Swann felt an obligation to respond to the amount of rubbish that washes ashore on the beaches of their hometown, Sydney. Together, they established Ocean Collection as a creative and social project drawing on their respective skills. Ocean Collection currently offers a range of unique jewellery pieces that are crafted mainly from marine debris salvaged from Australian shorelines. The plan is to ultimately create a range of different products and even form partnerships with other manufacturers who may be interested in using the transformed material in their production process. “We wanted to start by making very visible products with the material so that they would act as a talking point about the issue of marine debris,” explains Paul. “But beyond raising awareness, we recycle debris that would otherwise be burned or buried.” Far beyond a commercial venture, Ocean Collection is an exploration into the relationship between materials, consumption, luxury and transforming something considered to be rubbish into useable and desirable objects. <
IMAGES KITX; ADIDAS
In the Netherlands, a not-for-profit foundation, The Ocean Cleanup, has developed a prototype for one of the most ambitious sea-cleaning projects in history: a floating barrier that skims the ocean of plastic debris. If successful following a 12-month trial, a 100km-long version will be deployed to the Pacific Ocean by 2020. Other projects focus more on grassroots initiative. Take3, for example, encourages people to collect three pieces of litter from the beach when they leave.
CLASSIC REVISITED Adidas’s EQT Support ADV sneaker is made from yarns created from plastic waste collected from beaches in the Maldives.
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While admirable, Ocean Collection’s environmental efforts are minimal in the greater scheme of the problem affecting the world’s oceans. But like the documentary A Plastic Ocean, it helps to begin a conversation around the issue and points to the broader role that creativity can play in helping to solve the universal problem of plastic debris.
A classic revisited
This, too, is the impetus of global sportswear giant Adidas’s partnership with environmental initiative Parley for the Oceans. In 2017, this collaboration saw the re-release of one of Adidas’s most classic products, the EQT Support ADV sneaker from the 1990s, with yarns knitted from plastic waste collected from beaches in the Maldives. Available in two colour combinations and with contrast stitching, the moulded heel of the shoe is made from recycled plastic, adopting innovative 3D printing in the production process. A prototype of the sneakers was unveiled at the New York headquarters of the United Nations and later released commercially in line with World Oceans Day. “Living in urban areas, our relationship with the health of the earth’s oceans is sometimes easy to overlook,” explains a spokesperson for Adidas. “This collaboration seeks to create a change. The Adidas [sneakers] will celebrate the rebirth of a shoe that was born in the ’90s on the foundation of form and function.”
PARLEY FOR THE OCEAN S The New York-based organisation brings together experts from the creative and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) industries to look for strategies to tackle ocean plastics. Industrial designer Alexander Taylor, whose work is housed in the permanent collection of Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), partnered with the alliance in 2015. Having consulted with Adidas for a number of years, Taylor was tasked with a mammoth challenge: creating the world’s first shoe upper made entirely of recycled ocean plastic and 72km of gillnets that non-profit marine wildlife conservation organisation Sea Shepherd Conservation Society had collected in the Southern Ocean. Taylor went on to create the adidas x Parley shoe (pictured below) – a prototype of Adidas’ subsequent shoes made from recycled plastic – which was presented at the United Nations as a powerful symbol of our plastics-polluted oceans.
PARLE Y PAR TNE RSHIP The 2012-established organisation has partnered with Dutch clothing company G-Star RAW and US rapper Pharrell Williams on several collections of denim using yarn made from recycled ocean plastic.
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Fashion darling British fashion designer Stella McCartney has also joined the campaign for change in the fashion and luxury industries. In early 2017, Adidas by Stella McCartney launched a footwear product made from Parley ocean plastic. McCartney went on to formally join forces with Parley by committing to replacing polyester in her namesake label. This is usually found in shoes, bags and outerwear – McCartney is now replacing this with Parley upcycled materials. “We want to be responsible and accountable for the items we make and the ways we make them. And we need to start somewhere in order to progress. This partnership with Parley is another chapter in our journey,” says McCartney. Other brands have collaborated with Parley, too. The 2012-established organisation has partnered with Dutch clothing company G-Star RAW and US rapper Pharrell Williams on several collections of denim using yarn made from recycled ocean plastic. To date, approximately 700,000 plastic bottles have been repurposed for the ongoing ‘RAW for the Oceans’ collections. In 2015, renowned Australian designer Kit Willow Podgornik, previously of the eponymous brand Willow, set out to redefine the environmental footprint of the fashion industry – the world’s second largest polluter by volume – and established KitX as an antidote to fast fashion. Luxurious in its adoption of handcraftsmanship and distinct in its design signature (Willow Podgornik has long been adored for her deconstruction of traditional female dress, such as her embracing of bondage and underwear elements in everyday pieces), KitX embraces natural fibres over synthetic, and where possible adopts blockchain production processes to help increase the traceability of the garments that make up each collection. The designer has found new ways of integrating plastic rubbish in her collections, too, such as the inclusion of zippers and sequins made from recycled PET bottles and lycra corsets created from marine debris. Actress and UN Women Goodwill ambassador Emma Watson, an advocate of eco-friendly clothing, commissioned KitX to create her dress for the 2017 MTV Movie Awards. Embellished in recycled sequins, the dress quickly became a focal point on the red carpet and subsequent press tours. “We are continuously searching for innovative ways to further reduce our impact and partner with suppliers who we feel are exemplary in their approach to social and environmental wellbeing,” explains Willow Podgornik of her design ethos. “Through the simple mantra of making women look and feel beautiful without harming our planet, everyone < can win.”
Circle of Trust. Car. Finance. Keep it in the family. At Mercedes-Benz Financial, we know how much your Mercedes-Benz means to you. As part of the family, you can trust Mercedes-Benz Financial to give you and your car the experience you deserve, with unparalleled customer support, flexibility and the assurance of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Benefits include: · Competitive, fixed interest rates · Tailor your repayments by including a deposit or vehicle trade-in · Flexible term options – from 12 to 84 months · A range of convenient payment options · Guarantee the future value of your vehicle with the Mercedes-Benz Agility Finance Programme · Access and manage your account any time from anywhere with our Customer Online Services platform · Insurance solutions tailored specifically for Mercedes-Benz vehicles When it’s time to finance your next Mercedes-Benz, keep it in the family. To find out more, visit mercedes-benz.com.au/finance, call 1300 730 200 or visit your authorised Mercedes-Benz Retailer today.
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A SEASON TO REMEMBER MAJOR PRESEASON rule changes as well as stern challenges from rival teams made victory in both the Formula 1™ drivers’ and constructors’ championships in 2017 all the more sweet for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team. Lewis Hamilton impressively wrapped up his fourth drivers’ title with two races to run in the season, while the constructors’ title returned to the squad’s Brackley, UK factory for the fourth consecutive time. Team principal Toto Wolff was particularly proud of the team’s resilience in the face of hard-fought competition from other big-name contenders. “2017 was quite definitely the most difficult to manage. That was because Ferrari raised the bar, and then Red Bull came into the game as well,” he said. “I’ve been working with [Lewis] for five years now, and I’ve never seen him operate at such a high level. The raw pace is spectacular. He understands the tyres and the ability of the car which, at times, hasn’t been easy to drive. I haven’t seen such a sustained performance on that level before.” <
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THE HARDER T H E B AT T L E In a difficult year, resilience proved the key to a sweet victory for Lewis Hamilton, team principal Toto Wolff and the squad.
CELLAR ESSENTIALS CELLARING WINE is an education in patience, restraint and knowing your own tastes. Here are some tangible tips to curate the best possible collection. W O R D S A M E L I A B A L L I L L U S T R AT I O N S TA N YA C O O P E R
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o, you enjoy wine. You might have recently started to tuck away a box or two. Or maybe you’ve long been building a bona fide collection over a number of years. But how do you know you’re on the right track? The fact is that cellaring wine is an incredibly personal thing; what’s right for one person can be entirely wrong for another. There are, however, some general rules that can guarantee you end up with the right wine collection for you – in peak condition.
How can you tell if a wine will age well? According to wine critic Campbell Mattinson, balance is everything. “If a wine is slightly unbalanced when it’s young, chances are it will be massively
unbalanced after a long stint in the cellar. The minor becomes mighty at the hand of time,” he says. “Cellar-worthy wine can be wild with personality, bulging with muscle, loud with flavour or soft, or more about potential than fulfilment, but it needs to sing in harmony.” In short, if any of a wine’s elements stick out as too obvious – perhaps the tannins, acid or alcohol levels – don’t cellar it. So too with any deliciously fresh, drink-now styles, such as rosé and sauvignon blanc. That said, if you particularly love wines at peak freshness, be aware that aged wine’s traits may not be to your taste. Many wineries and retailers release older wines in mint condition, so sample widely. Try current vintages alongside their aged counterparts to determine if cellaring is for you.
Poor storage conditions can prematurely age a wine – and not in a good way. The wine may taste dull, ‘tired’ or simply not right, which is surely the ultimate disappointment after squirrelling away treasured bottles. So it’s worth taking some time to prepare a suitable environment for your wine. Experts commonly disagree on the exact temperature to set a cellar, but the sweet spot lies somewhere between 12°C and 18°C. More important, though, is to ensure consistency – heat fluctuations are the enemy, even for brief periods. Always keep wine in a dark place, because exposure to light will erode quality over time. And anywhere that experiences vibrations should be avoided, including that under-stairs cupboard. < Mercedes-Benz magazine 71
Under-house storage is usually the best option, but wine fridges are also an excellent solution. Alternatively, find the coolest, darkest spot in the house and keep wines in their original packaging. Wooden wine boxes offer especially good insulation. For those who find it difficult not to keep sampling the wares, then off-site wine storage providers will keep temptation at bay. While meticulous storage conditions are essential, this doesn’t always prevent all issues, such as random oxidisation or cork taint. In the best cases, the wine will be dulled, and in the worst, ruined. Cork today has radically improved, yet the industry remains somewhat divided on the better closure. Many producers have confidently returned to new-and-improved cork, but screw caps also ensure a wine’s consistent development.
Wine cellar consultant Luke Campbell has seen too many collectors end up with only one wine style they no longer like to drink. “Start buying pinot noir now!” says Campbell. “Whoever you are, wherever you are, chances are you’ll end up drinking something savoury and complex instead of the bigger styles you might be enjoying now.” While that may sound a little prescriptive, it’s about choosing widely to ensure future excitement. And if you really are mad for just one grape variety, seek out other styles from different regions and producers. “If you love Barossa shiraz,” says Campbell, “try it from Heathcote or the Hunter Valley, the North Island of New Zealand or the Rhone Valley in France – some of the other places that make great shiraz. Expand your palate and it will also help you expand your cellar.” Don’t overlook white wines either. If you enjoy wines with a rounded palate, rich texture and heightened complexity, riesling, chardonnay and semillon are must-adds for your collection.
If you plan to cellar wine for investment purposes, Langton’s head of auctions Tamara Grischy has some advice. “Read as much as you can about wines and attend as many tastings as possible. And try to buy low, which often means through cellar doors, so get onto winery mailing lists,” she says. 72 Mercedes-Benz magazine
Grischy adds that it pays to focus on the great vintages, producers and regions, and to always use reputable merchants. But remember to factor in the commission on transactions through auction houses, which is about 11 to 15 per cent. As for Grischy’s best advice? “Invest in the wines you love. That way you never lose, because you can still drink them with friends.”
The management plan
No one can ever really know when to drink a cellared wine without opening the bottle in question. That’s why it’s crucial to buy multiple bottles for opening at various periods. Three or four bottles can work well, but wine authority James Halliday suggests more. “Buy at least six bottles on the basis that you’ll still have a few to enjoy when you feel it’s drinking at its best,” he says. Various apps and websites can help organise your collection, but a simple spreadsheet is effective, too (include a section for your own notes and dates for each wine you try). Also keep ready-to-drink wines in easy reach and consider
Cellar-worthy wine can be wild with personality, bulging with muscle, loud with flavour or soft, or more about potential than fulfilment, but it needs to sing in harmony.
neck tags, labels or a colour-code system to convey other factors at a glance. Suggested drinking time frames by wine critics and wineries are helpful references, but remember that it’s always better to drink a wine too early than too late. Sometimes it’s worth opening a special bottle and making that moment the occasion, rather than waiting for the right one < to arise.
RIESLING Quality is sky-high for this aromatic variety, which becomes brilliantly rich and luscious over time. It offers top value, too. Drink: Eight to 15 years, or more. Try: Castle Rock Estate A&W Riesling, Great Southern, WA Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling, Eden Valley, SA Grosset Polish Hill Riesling, Clare Valley, SA
L AY THES E DOWN NOW Consider some of these wines for safe-bet cellar dwellers…
PHOTO CON NIKOLOVSKI
SEMILLON The Hunter Valley has made this straight varietal wine its own. Bright, citrus-driven and with zippy acidity when young, it becomes a luscious and rewarding aged wine. Drink: Five to 10 years, but up to decades more. Try: Mount Pleasant Lovedale Semillon, Hunter Valley, NSW Thomas Wines Braemore Semillon, Hunter Valley, NSW Tyrrell’s Wines Vat 1 Hunter Valley Semillon, Hunter Valley, NSW CHARDONNAY From rich, bold and fruit-forward to leaner and crisper styles, Chardonnay develops into a golden, full and exceedingly complex wine over time. Drink: Four to eight years, but up to 20-plus years. Try: Xanadu Stevens Road Chardonnay, Margaret River, WA Medhurst Estate Vineyard Chardonnay, Yarra Valley, VIC Montalto Estate Chardonnay, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
PINOT NOIR Turn up the volume on the layered structure and earthy nuances in these often deceivingly powerful wines with time in the cellar. Drink: Five to eight years, and up to 15 or more. Try: Tolpuddle Vineyard Pinot Noir, TAS Bass Phillip Estate Pinot Noir, Gippsland, VIC Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir, Central Otago, NZ CABERNET SAUVIGNON With primary blue and black fruits, a firm structure and grippy tannins on release, savoury characters emerge over cabernet’s famously long life, with tobacco, leather and leafy flavours adding complexity. Drink: Eight to 12 years, but up to 30-plus. Try: Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, SA Deep Woods Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, WA Yalumba The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa, SA SHIRAZ Shiraz is made around Australia in different styles, so look further afield for stellar examples. The many developed, earthy characters of aged shiraz prove why cellaring can be so gratifying. Drink: 12 to 15 years, and up to 30 or more. Try: Mount Langi Ghiran Cliff Edge Shiraz, Grampians, VIC Moppity Vineyards Lock & Key Shiraz, Hilltops, NSW Penny’s Hill The Footprint Shiraz, McLaren Vale, SA Mercedes-Benz magazine 73
JUAN MANUEL FANGIO
In the life of Juan Manuel Fangio, everything fell into place to produce perfection - a parable of how far a man can go. B O R N I N 1911 in Argentina, he drove in
his first Grand Prix™ at the age of 37. He chalked up 24 victories in 51 Grand Prix™ races - a success rate of almost 50 per cent. He started from the front row 48 times. His five world championships – including back-to-back titles for Mercedes-Benz in 1954 and 1955 - bestowed upon him an aura of invincibility. On 16 January 1955, he won his home race, the Argentinean Grand Prix, for Mercedes-Benz. In the Mille Miglia in May 1955, he contested without a navigator, all alone for 1000 miles and 10-and-a-half hours in a 300 SLR sports racer. He finished as runner-up behind team-mate Stirling Moss. Unlike other Mercedes-Benz stalwarts such as Rudolf Caracciola, the great Argentinean’s years with MercedesBenz were only an episode. Juan Manuel Fangio’s dowry was a victory in Reims, on 4 July 1954, and he bowed out with his 10th win for the brand in Monza on 11 September 1955. Because of that alone, the names of Juan Manuel Fangio and Mercedes-Benz are < bound up inseparably forever.
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AUR A OF INVINCIBILIT Y Juan Manuel Fangio’s record of five world championships stood for 47 years, making him a legend of racing.
COLLINS STREET STYLE
Our carefully curated menswear offering has the essentials, perennial classics and luxury pieces for the modern Melbourne man. collinsplacemelbourne.com.au 45 COLLINS STREET, MELBOURNE Photograph by M.J. BALE.
Mercedes March 2018 magazine