I landed in Munich, spent the day and overnighted. I then took the ICE speed train to Stuttgart. As predicted, there were BMW's aplenty in Munich, and it really wasn't a city for me. Munich wasn't the Germany I expected, and really left a bad impression on me.
Stuttgart was better. Picking up the car at the Mercedes Sindelfingen (sp?) plant was fantastic. The procedure was so interesting... all I wanted to to was get in the car and go, but you have to take the tour if you've never done it and you have to do some paperwork before you even get introduced to your car. They have a self-service cafe on the second floor that overlooks the delivery area. I was there on a busy day. It was so busy, I didn't get out of there until 5pm. They close at 4.
When I got the car, I went right back to the Graf Zepplin hotel (courtesy of MB). The hotel is nice, but I would pass it by on my next EDP.
The next day I went to Affalterbach to walk through the AMG facility. I received a nice personal tour and had the opporunity to view and observe their engine production. WOW! AMG used to offer tours to anyone, now you must own an AMG and make a reservation if you want to have a look. They also showed me their AMG workshop, where they customize all Mercs. I saw a few SLK Blacks in there... which are made by hand at that workshop (after being assembled in the factory in Bremen).
I then hit the road and went to Frankfurt. I was starting to enjoy my trip at this point, because I got to experience some flat-out autobahning and some excellent espresso at the cafe's. Frankfurt is a big city, and the river really makes for some interesting one-way streets and traffic. I noticed that the engine was starting to run rough... it was just loading up, so I took a less congested street and blew her out a little.
After spending the night in Frankfurt, I went to Cologne. I fell in love with Cologne. There are cafe's everywhere, good looking ladies, and people are much more polite (as compared to Munich). The hotel I stayed in was in a nice, historically rich neighborhood. There were also some fun toys on the road... an Aston Martin Vantage, and a SL55, to name a few. So I felt right at home. But I did feel like a poser at one point because the Sat Nav took me through these tiny streets lined with cafes and people (bikes and mopeds included). All I was doing was heading to a parking garage near "the Dom." But I had the top down and we all know how much attention an SLK can get... basically, all I could hear from people walking by was something in German followed by "AMG!" I was a little embarassed but I had tons of fun. As I'm sitting in the car, I could see several people pulling out their camera phones and snapping a pic.
After some good times in Cologne, I went to Amsterdam. Oh my! Same crazy sat nav problem of taking the smallest, most crowded streets, but this time I had to make sure not to take a wrong turn! Since the streets are mostly one-way, you're in for a long re-route to your destination. But the same "AMG!" excitement I heard in Cologne was happening here! More camera phones were coming out, people were even blatantly walking in front of me... to the point that I had to stop, just so that they could take a picture. But luckilly, I stayed at a golf resort just outside the wonderful chaos of Amsterdam. It was great to relax and enjoy everything that Amsterdam had to offer.
Moving on, I ended up dropping the car off in Brmerhaven. This mean that the Sat Nav, luckilly, took me on the same route Jeremy Clarkson took the SLR on that Top Gear Challenge... Holland's biggest dike. So I've got Bob Marley playing on the radio, of course, the top down, and an ocean on the left and a lake on the right, for about what felt like 10 miles or so, followed by unreistricted German autobahn!!!! Fantastic! There were a few spots on the dike to pull over, so I jumped out and whipped out my camera.
But once I got to Bremerhaven, the honeymoon ended. I had to take out the personal items, sign some shipping documents, and hand over a key. Then I had to hear about a 7-8 week period that I would go through serious withdrawal and manic depression. When you drop the car off, don't forget the first aid kit, manual, and warning triangle. The warning triangle is required in Germany, so they had to give me that, but customs in the US confiscates that and the first aid kit, along with anything else "not attached" to the car. I completely forgot to remove the windscreen, so I'll see if they notice!
Ironicaly, the EDP first aid kit "is not to US spec," but it's made in Rock Hill, SC!
I did get to experience other interesting things, such as the McCafe... a surprisingly nice and exteremely high-quality cafe from who else, McDonalds! If there was one in the US, I would certainly have an alternative to that evil, nasty, gross Starbucks.
Some of the drawbacks of doing EDP:
Parking garages are tiny... so don't buy an S-class thinking your not going to park it on the street. And don't think you're parking on the street either. In all of the cities, the S-classes were partially parked on the sidewalk! That should give you an indication on how narrow these streets are in the city/village. There was one garage where I was keenly aware of how wide the SLK55 really is. When you have to do a 70 point turn just to wiggle into a parking space, you'll understand!
Another disappointment... the break-in period is for 1000 miles. There's a huge sticker on the window reminding me not to go over 85 mph and not to exceed 2/3 of the RPM range! I think I was the only Mercedes on the autobahn sitting in the slow lane. I did pass a few tucks and caravans, but I really did take it easy.
Good info mate.
"S is for "standard" not too sure about that. I've always read it and heard it as sports, comfort and manual. recently an amg spokes person said C was for rain and snowy conditions. Although I tried it in snow with chains and it was useless with esp on in C mode. anyhow, [S] gear changes are 30% faster than C and [M] has 50% faster gear changes. Although I couldn't ever get used to red line limit in manual so I still use S mode on the track.
I'd miss the twin centre box. I dont have a phone and use the upper panel for things i need quick access to all the time and the lower big bin for less essential items. I love the twin direction opening and think its a bad move if this has changed.
Also manual will drop gears if in high gears at low speed. I.e 7th at below 40.
Never new the fan speed changed at varying speeds. wonder if that is a new thing.
How long did you get on pick-up. also is this optional. ould you take it away for a months drive round the alpes?