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He says, she says – Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

One car, two points of view. She’s a musician and always wants to go her own way. He’s a lecturer in philosophy and is happy to lose himself in his thoughts.

He says, she says – Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Mix of traditional houses and modern architecture.

Natacha Le Jeune lives in Paris. She has recorded three albums with her bands so far and regularly performs as a DJ in nightclubs. When she’s on tour, she clocks up as many as 75,000 kilometers (47,000 miles) a year in her tour bus. Jim Gabaret also lives in the capital, where he teaches philosophy at the Sorbonne. Last year he made some documentary films as well and wrote his first novel, which is due to be published in 2017. We invited the two of them to try out the C-Class – not in Paris, but in the city of Nantes in Western France, with its mix of traditional houses and modern architecture. Even before the start of the test drive, it was clear that they had quite different approaches to travelling by car. While Jim was content to ride shotgun, Natacha wanted to take the wheel. Each of them had good reasons for their choice, which they told us about as the day went on.

Natacha, musician.

“Most of the time in Paris I get around on a moped, but when I’m away I rent a car as often as I can. I like to travel on my own and without spending too much money; it’s the quickest way to get to know the country and the people. When I’m driving, speed doesn’t matter so much to me, I just like to watch the countryside go by. As a kid I loved travelling around the twisting backroads of Corsica, with the mountain face on one side and the steep cliffs on the other. Back then I felt instinctively safe and I had that same feeling this morning when I got into the C-Class. I knew from the get-go that I wanted to be behind the wheel. I like to be in control and decide where I’m heading. When you’re young, you’re happy to leave the responsibility to others and just go with the flow. That might be quite easygoing, but as time goes by, you value your independence. In life and in the car, I like to decide for myself where I’m going and how I will experience the world.

He says, she says – Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
He says, she says – Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The car audio system helps to find out what our fans will really hear.

When I get into a car I’m not familiar with, I look out for three things: the gearchange, the audio system, and how comfortable the vehicle is. With the automatic transmission in the C-Class, the gear changes are like a knife going through butter: you simply don’t notice them. The seats are very pleasant, and the air conditioning is gentle but effective. I always have some music with me, and as soon as I got in, I plugged in my USB stick. The sound from the loudspeakers is really good, with a decent bass. When I’m recording a new album, I always listen to the result in the car. In the studio we work with audio equipment that’s very precisely calibrated, but nobody actually has stuff like that. Testing it in a car audio system is a good way to find out what our fans will really hear.”

Jim Gabaret, philosophy lecturer.

“I spend a lot of time sitting in libraries, reading, carrying out research, and, as it were, going on voyages of discovery in my mind. Although it’s very satisfying to immerse yourself in the thoughts of great philosophers, now and then I feel like getting out into the real world. Often, it’s enough just to meet up with a few friends over dinner, but what I enjoy most are proper road trips that go on for several days. I’m happy to be a passenger. It’s a luxury to be driven and be able to focus on the conversation and your surroundings. Especially if you’re sitting in a comfortable car. In the C-Class it felt as if I was in a hotel armchair on wheels. There was nothing more I could ask for: the temperature was just right, the seat suited me perfectly, and we were listening to Natacha’s Nancy Sinatra playlist.

He says, she says – Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
He says, she says – Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The car felt powerful.

The car felt powerful, but at the same time gave off an unmistakable impression of luxury. You could see the quality of the finish in details such as the upholstery or the satisfying clunk of the doors closing. And of course the miniature cameras offering a 360-degree view around the car were fantastic. Looking at the screen inside the car, it was as if we were being guided by a drone the whole time. I find it fascinating to see how involved in driving you are, even as a passenger. Not only because you’re helping the driver find the way, but also because you’re concentrating on the traffic conditions all the time. In such a comfortable car my body even seems to be aware of the speed it’s travelling at. How else can you explain why, when I feel like reading in my armchair on wheels, my body just wants to look out at the countryside?”

The car felt powerful.

The car felt powerful, but at the same time gave off an unmistakable impression of luxury. You could see the quality of the finish in details such as the upholstery or the satisfying clunk of the doors closing. And of course the miniature cameras offering a 360-degree view around the car were fantastic. Looking at the screen inside the car, it was as if we were being guided by a drone the whole time. I find it fascinating to see how involved in driving you are, even as a passenger. Not only because you’re helping the driver find the way, but also because you’re concentrating on the traffic conditions all the time. In such a comfortable car my body even seems to be aware of the speed it’s travelling at. How else can you explain why, when I feel like reading in my armchair on wheels, my body just wants to look out at the countryside?”

He says, she says – Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

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