She’s a Model…

… and her partner also has great looks. Petra Nemcova and the newcomer from Mercedes-Benz make a dream couple. But not just outwardly – it’s also about their inner strengths.

“Isn’t Berlin just amazing?”

She flew into Berlin yesterday from L.A. to be photographed for Mercedes-Benz magazine. Then she was straight off to a charity event in Nice. Petra Nemcova, 36, seems completely unfazed by this schedule. She looks radiant and is in excellent spirits. “Isn’t Berlin just amazing?” she shouts, still posing for the camera. The Czech supermodel has already done work for the GLC campaign. But today it’s the first time driving the plug-in hybrid. As the photographer packs away his equipment, she invites us to talk in the car. We climb aboard the GLC 350 e 4Matic, which takes her – needless to say – straight to the airport.

GLC 350 e 4MATIC:

Fuel consumption combined: 2.6 l/100 km;

combined CO₂ emissions: 60 g/km.*

Ms Nemcova, what do think of the car?

Green, stylish and practical. As it is adaptable to any terrain you can use it on road and off road. You couldn’t wish for more. And just look at these stitched seams – it’s like being driven around Berlin in a giant Chanel handbag!

Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 2,6 Liter Super/100 km; CO2-Emission kombiniert: 60 g/km*

Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 2,6 Liter Super/100 km; CO2-Emission kombiniert: 60 g/km*

Citizen of the world.

Do you always travel such a lot?

Yes, I visit at least three countries a week, often on different continents. I think it’s amazing to get to know different cultures and places. I’ve been doing this for the last 16 years. Nemcova began her modelling career as a teenager at the age of 15, when she won Elite’s Look Of The Year Competition. She worked for Max Factor, Clarins, La Perla and Victoria’s Secret. In 2003, she was featured on the cover of the “Swimsuit Issue” of U.S. magazine Sports Illustrated. With that she finally made the step up to the premier league of international supermodels.


Where do you consider home?

Everywhere. I don’t see myself as a citizen of the world, more as a denizen of the universe.

Happy Hearts Fund.

What do you mean exactly?

I’ve been learning about spirituality for the last 17 years and with that you have a different understanding of the world and the universe, especially about how interconnected we are. One of the reminders I have to stay connected with everything is on my wrist: the number 108. It’s considered asacred number in many traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and others. In Nemcova’s walk of life, many people describe themselves as spiritual – perhaps so as not to appear superficial. Or because it is easier to express a few thoughts than to assume responsibility for a cause. In Petra Nemcova’s case, neither is true: she isn’t just a model, she is also a philanthropist who uses her celebrity status to fight poverty. Her spirituality is genuine: in 2004 her life came to a terrible turning point when she was in Thailand during the tsunami. Her fiancé died in the disaster, she narrowly escaped by clinging to a palm tree for eight hours despite her serious injuries. After recovering from the ordeal, Nemcova set up the Happy Hearts Fund, which builds safe, resilient schools in nine countries. So far, the total is 118.

Was there ever a time you wanted to abandon the world of glitz and glamour for good?

When I got my first two jobs after getting back to full health after the tsunami I couldn’t stop crying. I just kept saying to myself: “What are you doing here? What’s the meaningful purpose in this?”

How did you emerge from that low point?

suddenly found meaning in my work again, because I saw that everyone I worked with wanted to help. In the beginning, the Happy Hearts Fund was supported first by people from the fashion world: photographers donated their pictures, designers their dresses. That kind of charity is beneficial to both sides: on the one hand, the donors feel they are doing something meaningful, and it makes them happy, and the recipients get the opportunity to study at safe schools, which makes them happy. We build a bridge between worlds. I’m at almost every opening ceremony for every new school.

Cruising around the city.

How important is driving to you?

I like driving, but also being driven. When I lived in Paris, I spent all my spare time cruising around the city. I got used to a pretty crazy style of driving, specially around the Arc de Triomphe.

What about being away from home so much of the time?

I see travelling as a great gift. I grew up in a communist country. I was eleven when the Velvet Revolution took place, and until then I had never experienced, freedom to travel, freedom of speech, not even the freedom to dream. My parents never learned to dream. For 20 years they could never tell me where they would like to go on holiday.


Subtle and harmonious.

Unlike the angular, edgy letter K, curvaceous C is rounded and harmonious – and a fitting element of the Mercedes-Benz designation GLC. The new model contrasts starkly with the classically angular off-road design of its predecessor, the GLK, introduced in 2008: the new mid-size SUV is athletic, powerful – and elegant at the same time. To observe the GLC driving across Berlin with supermodel Petra Nemcova aboard, you would never think the car was equally suited to cross-country terrain. Daimler’s chief designer Gorden Wagener puts it in a nutshell: “Our design philosophy has given the GLC emotional accents as well as enhanced functionality.” It is a vehicle equally at home on big city boulevards and rocky plains.

The designers have made only subtle references to its safari capabilities – the GLC is a master of understatement. At the same time, such formal purity is groundbreaking for Mercedes.

Sensual purity.

“All our SUVs will in future embrace our philosophy of sensual purity and become much sportier,” explains Wagener. The coupe-like silhouette, short overhangs for off-road use, extended rear roof spoiler and distinctive front end with underguard provide a hint of the GLC’s capabilities and also help improve aerodynamics: a Cd value of 0.3 sets a clear benchmark in this segment. Nor does the newcomer need to brag about size – it just has it. The GLC is 12 centimetres (4.7 in.) longer than the GLK, 5 cm (2 in.) wider and 9 millimetres (0.35 in.) higher.

The extra dimensions are particularly noticeable in the interior: maximum trunk space of 1,600 litres (56 cu. ft) exceeds that of its predecessor by 50 (1.7), and rear legroom is improved by 5.7 cm (2.2 in.). The car’s designers have succeeded in translating into automotive form a maxim from Petra Nemcova’s line of business: beauty is worth little without intrinsic values.


Power and efficiency.

The Mercedes engineers have equipped the GLC with intelligent technology to make it the perfect vehicle for the urban environment, longer journeys and off-road excursions. It comes as standard with Dynamic Select dynamic handling control and 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive, enabling the GLC to tackle inclines of 70 percent. Equipped with the additional Off-Road Engineering package featuring the continuously variable Air Body Control multi-chamber air suspension option, the car boasts a maximum ground clearance of 227 mm (9 in.). There are also five specific off-road programs available, including Incline, Slippery and Trailer. If the car should become grounded, the driver can simply select Rocking Assist – and leave the rest to the technology: driving level increases by 50 mm (2 in.), engine management, automatic transmission and all other control systems adapt automatically to help free the vehicle.

As lean as a supermodel.

The interior display shows the driver how the vehicle is responding. The GLC comes with a choice of three conventional engine variants: two diesel units with outputs of 125 and 150 kW respectively, and a gasoline engine with 155 kW. In addition to the engines and aerodynamics, the GLC’s lightweight design also contributes to overall energy efficiency: the body incorporates components made from aluminium, high-strength steel and high-resistance plastics. Although the car is bigger and better equipped than the GLK, it weighs 80 kilograms (176 lb) less. Fuel consumption is as much as 19 percent below that of its predecessor. But the thrill of fuel saving is even greater in the GLC 350 e 4Matic, in which Petra Nemcova is being chauffeured across Berlin. The plug-in hybrid can cover up to 34 kilometres (21 miles) purely in zero-emission all-electric mode.

In combination with the gasoline engine, the system generates an output of 235 kW. And fuel consumption is as lean as a supermodel: just 2.6 litres per 100 kilometres (90.5 mpg).


Luxury and safety.

The GLC 350 e 4Matic has a plethora of onboard high-tech systems that make life easier for Petra Nemcova. When she gets into the car between photo shoots, for example, the interior is already at a pre-set ambient temperature. Pre-entry climate control enables the driver to set a desired temperature for a specific time or via smartphone using the Mercedes connect me app.

All GLC models are also equipped with a new control element, the basic principle of which will be familiar to users of smartphones and notebooks: a touchpad integrated into the armrest of the centre console enables operation of onboard systems by finger gestures. Letters, numbers and special characters can even be entered into the touchpad directly – by handwriting, as it were.

„Silent Start“.

It makes entering street names into the navigation system much easier. But comfort is enhanced not just by digital technology. The high rigidity of the body, vibration damping and interior tranquillity also combine to promote a relaxing effect in the cabin. Nemcova’s car even features an entirely inaudible electric “silent start”. And when the combustion engine kicks in automatically in hybrid mode, the noise from the drive system, wind and tires is barely perceptible. Measurements taken in the wind tunnel show that the GLC achieves aero-acoustic values more typical of the current E-Class than the Sports Utility Vehicle segment. Virtually all of the driver assistance systems familiar from the C-, E- and S-Class are also available in the GLC in the interests of safe and comfortable driving.

These include as standard, for example, Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Active Blind Spot Assist and Pre-Safe Brake with pedestrian detection. Most electronic assistance systems operate using radar sensors and cameras to monitor the vehicle’s environment. The Stereo Multi Purpose Camera beside the rear-view mirror, for example, can see 500 meters (1,640 ft) in front of the vehicle. Within a 50-meter (164-ft) range, it recognizes the trajectories taken by other cars or pedestrians and transmits this data to systems such as Brake Assist.

Berlin’s busy traffic.

Having arrived from Los Angeles only the previous day and now already on her way to Nice, Petra Nemcova is only too happy to be driven on this occasion through Berlin’s busy commuter traffic with human assistance: a chauffeur drops her off at the airport.

Berlin’s busy traffic.

Having arrived from Los Angeles only the previous day and now already on her way to Nice, Petra Nemcova is only too happy to be driven on this occasion through Berlin’s busy commuter traffic with human assistance: a chauffeur drops her off at the airport.