Guest feature: the GT Spirit Tour 2015.
A perfect blend of V8 and V12 engines.
Our trip begins in Stuttgart. We stand in the Daimler AG Headquarters and the local Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim Plant. Having travelled here several times before, we know exactly what to expect. Waiting for our team to assemble, we spot transporters unpacking the last cars to return from the recent Mille Miglia event. Our trip would take us close to the route, however, it is a completely different event which is of interest to us this time around. As we enter the courtyard, our line-up reveals itself; two S 500 Coupé models, two Mercedes-AMG SL 63 models and two new Mercedes-Maybach S 600 models. The perfect blend of V8 and V12 engines for a long weekend travelling across the European Alps. The collection even draws the attention of Mercedes-Benz employees.
S 500 Coupé:
Fuel consumption combined: 8.8-8.3 l/100 km;
combined CO₂ emissions: 204-193 g/km.*
Mercedes-AMG SL 63:
Fuel consumption combined: 10.1-9.8 l/100 km;
combined CO₂ emissions: 234-229 g/km.*
Mercedes-Maybach S 600:
Fuel consumption combined: 11.7 l/100 km;
combined CO₂ emissions: 274 g/km.*
Divine scenery in front of the Alps.
Our first destination is Bregenz, Austria. The capital of the Vorarlberg region, Bregenz teeters on the border of Austria and Germany, on the eastern shores of Lake Constance. At the foothills of the Alps, Bregenz is gifted with some stunning scenery. Our overnight stop is the beautiful Schillerkopf resort, high up in the mountains overlooking Bludenz. The perfect scenery for a panoramic photo! And the ideal destination for a quiet mountain retreat. The roads we choose to take us to our second overnight stop lead us through Liechtenstein and Switzerland. After a brief detour to admire the historic Vaduz Castle, we reach the Splügenpass, our gateway to Italy. Unfortunately, by the time we get to the top of the winding alpine pass, the weather has closed in. Still, the supreme comfort, grip and safety features of our fleet see us through the bad weather in supreme style. The final part of our route skirts around Lake Como towards Lecco, Italy.
Variable weather conditions.
Ultimately, our second day proves to impressive effect just how competent the different cars are – despite the variable weather conditions. Depending on the model being driven and equipment fitted, different features are there to help – allowing motorways to be handled in sublime fashion thanks to the DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control and damp mountain roads to be made all the more comfortable thanks to the innovative curve tilting function.
Or, courtesy of MAGIC BODY CONTROL, to help us almost forget how poor some of the Italian road surfaces can be.
A journey into the history of motorsport.
Our third evening sees us finally arrive in Turin after a steady motorway cruise. The focal point of the city is the tranquil Parco Valentino. Overlooking Parco Valentino with its decadent French facade dating from the 17th century sits the historic house known as “Castello del Valentino”. We are fortunate enough to spend an evening alone here. The architectural triumph seems to fit the character of our elegant German sextet. It is the perfect spot in which to watch the sun set and create some lasting memories. The following morning, we wake early to travel back to Parco Valentino. Our arrival coincides with the first Parco Valentino Salone & Gran Premio. The historic Gran Premio del Valentino used to take place in Turin’s Parco Valentino between 1935 and 1954. An annual motor race, its list of winners includes some of the big names of the era, such as Alberto Ascari and Tazio Nuvolari.
Travelling first class - the Maybach.
The route takes us past some of Turin’s most iconic sights. It leads to a grand finale at the La Venaria Reale, another stunning architectural masterpiece. Our evening ends in style on the shores of Lago Maggiore. Our final trip back to Stuttgart sees us travel in style in the Mercedes-Maybach S 600. A class-leader, the Maybach is easily the most comfortable car to be chauffeured in. Travelling in the rear seats is the equivalent of a first class flight, complete with fridge and “in-flight” entertainment system. Our route back takes us through the centre of Zurich. Catching the reflection of the stunning Maybach in shop front windows, it is difficult to avoid the sense of elegance the car exudes. Despite the relaxed driving style, the trip back to Stuttgart passes quickly. A few hours after leaving Zurich we hand back the car keys in Untertürkheim. Our fantastic road trip has come to an end. But what stays with us are fond memories of a few terrific days spent with these luxurious and sporty vehicles.