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Travel Torque: High performance, high fashion

2017-03-15 12:58

As a prelude to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town 2017, Travel Torque’s Melinda Ferguson gets behind a clutch of high performance AMG 43s.

If you happened to follow my Instagram account last week, you’d be forgiven if you assumed that I had swapped my tatty author overalls for the life of the mink and manure Mercedes-Benz high-flying elite. Brag swag alert!

First stop was being chauffeured in the big daddy S-Class 400 Hybrid from the One&Only at the V&A Waterfront, to the Veuve Clicquot Polo on the sprawling Val de Vie estate, as a VVIP – yes, note the double V – guest of African Fashion International. I rubbed shoulders with the Somizis and Bonangs of the jet-set elite as I kicked back on a perfect cloudless Cape day to watch men on horses chase little balls.

When I got bored of horsies and perfectly manicured lawns, I turned my sunshades to a beachwear ramp show – a prelude to Mercedes-Benz Cape Town Fashion Week 2917, which will transform Camps Bay, into a world fashion capital next week, between March 23 and 25.

Two days later I found myself on a red-eye flight to Lanseria, off to Zwartkops racetrack, to experience a clutch of high performance AMG 43s in celebration of 50 years of Mercedes-Benz AMG. I have to say I prefer being behind the wheel than being chauffeured.

On road

First up was a speedy ride around the surrounds of Muldersdrift in the mighty SUV Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 followed by the AMG GLC 43, finishing off in the stunning young free and single AMG SLC 43 little hotshot roadster.

Roof down, hair blowing I felt like a million bucks – which is what most of these delicious cars cost (and some). The only challenge was to avoid speeding fines.

There a number of attributes that all the AMG 43s have in common – my favourite being the beastly growl that emanates from the sports exhaust system, thanks to fabulously sportier engines especially when in “S” or “S+” transmission modes.

Then there’s the AMG 43 steering wheel. The three-spoke design gives superior control as well as luxurious comfort. Crafted with Nappa leather, a flattened bottom section and an embossed grip area, it’s an incredible tactile experience just holding that wheel.

True to Mercedes-AMG legacy, the drive in all three of my rides around Muldersdrift was superb. They’re all Mercedes-AMG 43 4MATIC models, mated with massively powerful 270kW 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engines, delivering 520Nm of mind-blowing torque. A permanent Performance all-wheel-drive system and sophisticated suspension technology have been added to make the AMG 43 top of its game, inspired by and adopted from the superb Mercedes-AMG C 63.

For those of you dying to rip out your cash stash, there’s a huge choice of new Mercedes-AMG 43 sports models in the C-Class range as a sedan, coupé and cabriolet, as well as four SUVs – the GLC and GLC Coupé, the GLE and GLE Coupé, and my personal favourite - that cat on a hot tin roof, AMG SLC 43 roadster.

Race track skid pans

It was on Zwartkops race track that I truly got to feel the superior Control Sports Suspension and Performance 4MATIC system. The unique and distinctive sports suspension system provides three-stage adaptive adjustable damping, ensuring outstanding traction. With a top speed capped at 250km/h and 0-100km/h in just 4.7 seconds, the Mercedes-AMG 43 is all about high performance and breaking the limits. Talking of braking – on the wet skid pans, the AMG 43’s superior braking system gave me driver skills that I never knew I had, winning all four of my slalom challenges.

Fashionistas

After an exhilarating day on and off track, it was back home to Cape Town, where the following evening, gorgeous girls and boys gathered for the media launch of Mercedes-Benz Cape Town Fashion Week 2017, at Shimmy Beach, hosted by the ever gracious, beautiful and brainy, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe.

It’s a no-brainer why Cape Town is the perfect city to host MBFWCT 2017. With a reputation as one of the design capitals of the world, the Mother City has become home to a growing number of designers and entrepreneurs in the art, fashion, interior design and film sectors. Mercedes-Benz Cape Town Fashion Week promises to be the highlight of the South African fashion calendar, with top local and African fashion talent showcasing the hottest trends across the continent.

Trendy Camps Bay, by way of the Camps Bay Sports Complex, emulating Bryant Park at New York Fashion Week, will play host to the most-anticipated fashion event this year. Now I just have to organise that sexy AMG SLC 43 roadster to be my partner.

Pricing: AMG SLC 43 from R1,043 000

Rating: 5 stars

» Mercedes Benz Cape Town Fashion Week 2017 tickets are available through Webtickets on LINK PLEASE www.africanfashioninternational.com

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December 10 2017