Mercedes-Benz today inaugurated its in-house SUV test track at its Chakan plant today. The full-fledged test track, claimed to be the first of its kind in India was inaugurated as a part of the company’s Performance Drive Program, also unveiled today.
The newly built test track has been fully built and benchmarked by German engineers and allows for rigorous testing of off-roading vehicles. With a steep 45 degree incline / decline, an obstacle course and an oval shaped lateral incline course, the new track can put some of the toughest mud-pluggers to a brutal test.
The new test track, apart from testing 4×4 machinery from the German car brand, will also play host to the Star Off-Road Experience, which is a part of the newly introduced Mercedes Performance Drive. Participants in this program will be invited to Pune where under supervision of experienced trainers the participants will be taught the basics of off-road driving.
We took a spin around at the test track, which we were shown around by seasoned rally drivers such as Hari Singh and Sunny Siddhu. Here’s what we liked about it
1. The 45 degree incline is quite high. In all honesty it looks like a leaning wall, and intimidated us the first time. Its only after we were shown the ropes by the rally drivers, that we dared to have a shot at it.
2. The GL-Class showed terrific composure while going uphill on the steep incline. The scary bit was when the car was stopped midway on the incline to exhibit the utility of its Hill Hold function. The brakes bite the wheels hard, and keep the car in place until you decide to move again.
3. With the nose of the car pointing the sky, you feel as if the car were hanging in the air. Most of your weight is on the backrest. It’s only thanks to the technology and the grip from those wide tyres that the big GL manages to crawl up
4. While going downhill the Downhill Speed Regulation allows you to specify the speed you want to descend at. All you have to do is choose a speed between 4 to 18km/h and the vehicle will control the drive to wheels and braking automatically to descend down at the said speed. No breaking traction, no jerks – just a clean, smooth, assured descent.
5. The Obstacle course has alternating obstacles on left and right wheels. The 4MATIC AWD system makes sure that only the wheels which hit the pit have the drive. The wheel which doesn’t have traction (in air), doesn’t get any power or torque. Additionally, the ESP brakes the wheel without traction. This helps the vehicle get out of rough, gravelly and uneven surfaces without trouble
6. The GL-Class also managed to traverse the 45 degree lateral angle without breaking a sweat. This off-road car can manage that challenge even when loaded with all seven passengers and luggage. Impressive!
Here we have a complete bundle of the new SUV test track with the GL-Class performing all sorts of crazy antics without a worry in the world. Have a look, and do let us know if you feel amazed.