As my colleague Owen Mildenhall was testing the new Mercedes-AMG GT to its limits around the Laguna Seca circuit in California, I enjoyed a more relaxed time chatting with Mercedes’ sales and marketing boss Ola Källenius in the back of the new Mercedes-Maybach S600.
Until last year, Källenius was boss of what is now known (in the latest Mercedes speak) as Mercedes-AMG. So as much as we were in the back of the automobile that launched Mercedes’ latest sub-brand, Mercedes-Maybach, there was more than a passing interest in what was happening on the other side of the world with the first drives of what is the most stunning Merc in a generation.
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On both scores, Mercedes has come up trumps – its new poster boy is as good to drive as it is to look at, while the Maybach is proof of what Källenius described to me as “everything Mercedes knows about luxury in one car”.
So the ‘halo’ models are shining brightly, but what about the models that will sell in bigger numbers at more economical prices? While the C-Class is one of the best looking saloons you can buy with an interior that sets new standards for style and quality, it’s left us a bit cold when it comes to how it drives. then there’s the A-Class – a stylish hatchback for sure, but again it disappoints on the road and, more shockingly, on the quality of its interior.
On the whole, Mercedes makes terrific cars, but there’s something lacking across its entire range, something its rivals have more of – consistency. Let’s hope the AMG GT and Maybach are the start of terrific all-round Mercs across the entire range.
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