#ChasingStars With Mercedes Benz in the GLC Coupe
Once again, it was time to adventure into new places with our friends at Mercedes Benz. We were invited to participate in a certainly epic journey across Austria, Hungary and Romania. We crossed beautiful lands, waters and roads; met face to face with mountains, wildlife and people but through it all, we made a friend in the new GLC Coupe. #ChasingStars.
Arrival To Graz
The #ChasingStars journey started with our arrival to Graz, Austria where we got an introduction to the original G-Class. The G-Wagon, created in 1979 has always been a staple piece in the Mercedes vehicle line up and an icon in the motoring industry. This car is a true legend, and after seeing how it is made in the famous Graz based factory, testing it off road on Schöckl Mountain and being professionally driven back down the mountain at some ridiculous speeds we all agree this car is the real deal. Stay tuned for our full road/off road test of the awesome G-Wagon.
Having enjoyed a brief introduction to G-Klasse, we got to sleep excited and awoke to a fleet of GLC Coupes.The new toys, fresh and new for us to test cross country were lined up in an underground parking lot shining in Grey, Silver & Brilliant Blue. Instantly the body shape and character of the exterior capture your eye as a modern design piece. It’s a handsome car, complete with all of the typical AMG styling from wide wheel arches, muscular front bumpers and sport back emphasis with chrome pipes, this car looks ready for the road with a touch of off-road spirit, too. The interior is also impressive, with great wood/metal finishes available and very comfortable seats. I mean I know, we drove about 15 hours in this baby! Also to note before we begin…13-speaker Burmester stereo, ventilated seats, ambient lighting, and of course the COMAND Online system; Oh and it does have one or two cup holders if that helps. We started the ignition and got en route to our first destination of #ChasingStars.
Graz to Budapest (400km / 5h)
The road to Budapest was scenic and good fun to say the least. We credit the route planner on this one. We had a good bit of time to understand and feel out the GLC Coupe. The petrol engine we had in our 300 model (2.0 Litre Turbo, In line 4 Cylinder, 240BHP) was sufficient. Punchy and torquey enough to overtake in any circumstance and furthermore accelerate from standstill to 60mph in 5.9 seconds. The 9-Speed auto box also works well, especially in Sport Plus Mode, where the gear shifts work in your favour so you need not shift down all the time to make power available. Getting used to the cars body and tough chassis, you start to feel like you are in a road car. The assistive cruise control (Distronic Plus) was an especially helpful driver assist for the motorway and traffic we encountered. Lunch commenced on a stunning hilltop in Helikon, Hungary and all needed afterwards was to follow the water towards Budapest. Arriving to one of the most visually impressive cities in Europe, we parked our cars close to our hotel and started our adventure. We were located right next to the famous Chain Bridge and took a walk around to discover some of the beautiful hotspots the city had to offer. From the shoes on the Danube bank and the Hungarian Parliament building to the Fisherman’s bastion and St. Stephen’s basilica, we quickly realised how beautiful this place actually was. Food that night was at a gorgeous Steakhouse in town, KNRDY, and drinks followed before our chance to rest up (which we of course didn’t take) Hopefully the cars got a good rest though.
Budapest to Alba Lulia (510km / 5.5h)
We left nice and early after a good hotel breakfast and got straight onto the road. Journeying through Hungary, we soon found ourselves at the Romanian borders where we were asked one or two questions about the car and the trip. “It’s a new one no? Very Nice”, said the gentleman in control. She’s a head turner. Lunch was scheduled in a Western Romanian City named Arad and that was a first taste of some Romanian Meatball Soup (Ciorba de Perisoare). Fuelled with those meatballs and some good espresso, we ventured on towards Hotel Transylvania in Alba Lulia, where we would rest for the night. During this part of the trip we actually had a satellite navigation problem and ended up in someones farm. It wasn’t a small farm either, and we had a pretty intense struggle trying to find a road that was actually drivable. We decided mutually to off road it through the farm towards the nearest road visible on our GPS. It was like a mini 25 minute adventure, but the cars moment to demonstrate its off-road capability, If it had any. So… Bumps and mud ruts were surrounding us and we had to take it nice and slow during some of these deep holes and gravel slopes. At one moment, my partner had to jump out to check ground clearance but we made it fairly easily, which is a better situation to be in then our friends, who actually got stuck in this very spot for many hours. We found out later on that the recovery car got stuck too but this was all part of the adventure, no? Conclusion… The GLC can be trusted in light off roading circumstances, but don’t expect G-Wagon rock climbing and hill decent control, especially on those 19” alloys. After a good day of driving; Hotel, check in, bed.
Transalpina to Transfăgărășan (170km / 3h)
This was the part we had come for. “#ChasingStars will be awesome”, they said, and they were right! Some of the best driving roads in the world and a notably famous pass through the Carpathian Mountains with altitudes up to 2,145m above sea level! That plus some amazing hairpins, fast esses, chicanes and a lot of camber ensures you are able to fully exploit a cars performance should you wish to. During the whole ride, we had to be most careful for the wildlife and natural surroundings. That and driving off a cliff top. What an amazing experience and a road to drive. The GLC did itself proud and once you figure your way around the gear box and learn to enjoy the car you really can. With plenty of use on the brakes and traction assistance, you can really feel safe and confident to push the car hard and have some fun with it, including just a bit of sideways action! (user discretion advised).
The Transfăgărășan to Bucharest (220km / 3.5h)
DN7C, also known as Ceaușescu’s Folly is THE place to drive after a good nights sleep and thats just what we did. With plenty of the gorgeous mountain views, we took steep hairpin after steeper hairpin all the way to the top and at 2,042 metres (6,699 ft) we took some pretty awesome shots. After a play around with some drones and a #ChasingStars group shot, we ate some food in the form of a picnic bag courtesy of Hotel Transylvania, we headed towards our final destination, the city of Bucharest.
By the time you are in Southern Romania, you have seen the donkeys, the sheep, cattle and horses. You have seen the chickens running around and the children playing outside on their farm lands. You have seen the elderly women sitting outside knitting, and you have tried to ask directions in english and failed. “Hey! Can you help us? We are #ChasingStars!” When you arrive to Bucharest, you are in the capital city, the commercial centre. Things are polished, and pretty, but the beautiful thing about it is that you still feel those cultural roots in the nightlife and the city life. Their Palace Of Parliament is stunning, and there are also many museums (for information) and night clubs (for forgetting information) to visit. After a long trip and many kilometres, we spoke over food and wine about the journey and the car we did it in. Mercedes proves once again, that they know the capabilities of their product, and what we achieved with the GLC Coupe was nothing short of spectacular. It was a mighty good time #ChasingStars.