There can be great comedy in driving. Which is hard to believe, we know, because most car commercials feature either super dramatic treatments with “epic” music of drums and horns, or a sedate and upscale voiceover by Jon Hamm, John Slattery or any other wealthy male performing actor from Mad Men. Not exactly the stuff of real life.
Which is why we champion the written word, which allows truth to be told in whatever fashion it appropriates, such as in Automobile Magazine’s recent story about a writer taking a 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL450 out onto a frozen snow track to drive with the big boys.
As you probably know from Raleigh’s encounters with wintry weather this year, even the gentlest layers of snow and/or ice can be enough to waylay hundreds if not thousands of drivers in the triangle alone. The idea of going out on to a snowy track to do speed runs could sound somewhat daunting to the owner of a Mercedes-Benz SUV. Instead of keeping your GL nice and safe inside your garage, how could barreling it around a track designed to skid, entrench and roll your vehicle be a good thing?
Certainly these thoughts must have been going through the mind of writer Chris Nelson, who piloted this particular GL in the hills of Beaverton, Michigan. One thing we know for certain is that in Beaverton this time of year, it is cold. To combat the GL’s bouncy suspension and high center of gravity, Nelson worked with Tire Rack to procure studded tires and Mercedes-Benz for 21” rims.
The result is hard to typify. Certainly accelerating up to racing speeds and then trying to slow on ice is a somewhat delicate operation for the GL’s nearly three tons of inertia. As Nelson put it, “The crossover was about to slide into a parallel snow berm that looked to be about two feet high. We held the wheel tight, braced for impact, and thought, ‘Oh crap, what’s going to happen if we roll this $78,000 Mercedes?’”
Did the GL do all right? You can read the full article here or cheat and watch the video above. Both will likely convince you that a set of winter tires are a wonderful thing to own.