The Journey begins with a flight from London to Porto in Portugal where we had to pick up a new Mercedes Benz C300 Coupe. As an owner of a 2010 C350 Estate I was interested to see how the new car compares to my own one. Well the moment I got in the car I could tell it was a lovely improvement in terms of the interior quality and the technology in the car was really useful. I’ll get onto that later though. For now, here the car is in the amazing city of Porto!
After capturing a few photos in Porto we hit the road to explore some Portugese countryside and explore what the car was like on the open road. I’ve not spent much time in Portugal in the past so was really enjoying the scenery and had to resist the temptation to stop for photos every few miles!
We were amazed how little traffic there was, it felt like we were the only people who knew about the road, which makes photography a lot easier as you can just park up anywhere and take photos.
Our Nav was set for a Dam on the border to Spain. I’ve got to say, it was the most beautiful border crossing I’ve ever seen!
Into Spain and we then set the Nav for a place called Avila, which is a town surrounded by amazing castle walls. It was quite a long drive there and a good chance to explore the steering assist and radar cruise control. To my basic mind the car drives itself which is very cool and it’s nice to be able to free your hands from the steering wheel for a few seconds when doing a long journey.
As is always the way with my road trips, we were still driving when it came to sun set time so we took a random turn off the main road and went to explore some random Spainish countryside. As always the sunset crept up on us quite quickly so with the car in sport plus mode we managed to find a few nice spots quite quickly! I think you’ll agree, the light was beautiful and really shows the lines of the car off well.
On the way back to the main road we had to drive through a little village. I love seeing local culture in different areas throughout the world so to see the farmers herding their cows and the little old ladies walking round the village was very interesting.
A few hours later and we approached Avila and were blown away by the town. Charlie who was with me said “it’s like a real life Assasins Creed” to which I responded he needs to play less video games! (although I must confess it is a bit like the game…).
We made the mistake of driving inside the walls of the town, then realised it was a maze of very narrow one way roads and rather challenging to get out of. Luckily the Mercedes had a better idea of what was going on than us and got us out of there eventually!
The stop for the first night of the trip was in Segovia. A few people had recommended we visit it because it has an amazing Aquaduct running through the middle of the town. Well we could never have been prepared for the scale of it, it was HUGE!
Day 2 – Segovia to Barcelona
When in Segovia we had planned to go up into Andorra to take photos in the mountains, but after looking at the weather forecast we took the decision to drive to Barcelona instead!
It was a 700km drive to Barcelona so we decided to only do one stop for photos as otherwise we would have been driving long into the night, but again we took a random turning off the main road when the scenery looked nice and went exploring. The area we found had a slight american feel to it we felt, long quiet roads with perfect weather! A couple of dusty photos and the car was filthy… Whoops!
Day 3 – Exploring Barcelona
First things first we had to clean the car after the dusty roads of the night before.
After a quick clean we found a spot in the hills above Barcelona to get some photos of the view over the city.
Quite an amazing view and I think you’ll agree the spec of the car was quite nice with the cream leather seats!
Top of the hill and there was a large tower. Tricky to get a photo with but you get the idea!
Back down into the city and into the chaos! This was the best spot we could find for a photo with the Sagrada Familia.
I love the atmosphere of the city, chaos at times but a lovely relaxed atmosphere at the same time.
Sagrada Familia was just amazing, like no where else in the world!
Barcelona has a lovely sea front so it would be rude not to get a photo by the sea.
This was one of my favourite shots of the trip, just a simple shot with a child looking up at the impressive buildings surrounding him.
Day 4 – Barcelona to Antibes
A day of a lot of driving again. When entering into France we had a pleasant surprise of three AMG GTs which were heading into Spain for some testing. The drivers were a bit surprised when they realised we were in a new C-Class Coupe, although I wished we were in the C63 AMG at that moment to fit in better!
Into France and we went to explore the hills around the sea.
The road we chose kept getting narrower and more bumpy until we had to decide to go no further. The lifting suspension was useful a few times though
Just a beautiful area of the world.
Back to the Autoroute and on to Antibes!
In Antibes we had managed to book a hotel with a hot tub on the roof above our room which was a lovely way to relax after a long day of driving.
Day 5 – Antibes to Torino
I have another project on the horizon which involves the marine industry, so as we were in the area we went to view a Yacht to do with this project!
Some of the roads round the coast had spectacular views, we just wanted to drive more though!
Found the Yacht! A 92ft, 4800hp beauty. Perfection on water nicely complimented by the Mercedes I think.
We couldn’t go to the south of France and not go to Monaco. Turns out Monaco is busy so this was the best hairpin photo I could get!
Into the tunnel (yes, we did a whole lap!)
Down by the Yachts
On our way out of Monaco we had to get the standard “above Monaco” photo.
Nav set for Torino to go meet my friend Gabs who runs Cars and Coffee Italy. Gabs gave us a great tour of the best bits of Torino and even taught us the great history of the city!
Day 5 – Torino to Zurich
The day started off very foggy which meant slow progress until we got out of Torino. As the fog started to clear though the views just got better and better. We passed by Lake Maggiore on the way into Switzerland and just slowly drove and enjoyed the views.
The day was only just getting started though, I wanted to see how far up we could get on Passo San Gottardo. We knew it would be closed but there wasn’t any snow so we thought it was worth exploring. Well we found a sneaky hidden way onto the pass which then meant we had the pass all to ourselves. We were creeping so we didn’t draw attention to ourselves, but what an incredible place for photos!
The furthest point we could get to
Then comes my second favourite photo of the trip, the dangerous looking road! Which really didn’t feel dangerous at the time, but in these pictures it does look a bit crazy!
The C300 has a surprisingly good engine note, with some nice bang sounds on the upshifts, so a little tunnel noise making was of course on the cards too.
Back down the pass and into the San Gottardo Tunnel
At the other end of the tunnel we turned off again and went exploring in the direction of the Furka Pass… Bit more snowy here!
Great day, especially on the closed pass!
Day 7 – Zurich to Stuttgart (Mercedes Benz Museum!)
The final day we had a blast into Germany and to the Mercedes Benz Museum. Autobahns are always a nice way to end a trip…
Just before we arrived at the museum we saw a G63 AMG 6×6! Nice way to end the trip having done a shoot with one the night before we left for the trip in London…
Arrived!!! Finished! 3355km, over 50 hours of driving, 7 days and 7 countries!
So what did I think of the car?
In the spec we had it it was quite a striking car, the lines of the coupe grow on you the more you see it too. The handling is actually very good, it goes where you point it and is a pleasure in that respect. I did find myself wishing the car had a bit more torque, but my 2010 C350 CDI is a diesel with a little tuning so it’s a bit unfair to expect more from a car which isn’t a direct comparison. It was nice to have a petrol engine for the nice noises it made, especially when changing gear in sport + mode.
The gadgets in the car are worth a mention for sure as they really added to the experience of the car, first of all the lane keep assist and the steering assist, both of which are great on long drives to help make the driving a little easier. Then add the radar cruise control and the car actually feels like it’s driving itself at times. Some say that autonomous cars will take away from the driving experience, but these featured only added to the experience. It was also incredibly useful to have the cameras built into the car, which when you’re not 100% used to a car make sure your wheels stay safe and the car is unmarked. Also it means you can fit into very small spaces more easily! The car also had bluetooth audio and a great satnav, both little things in todays world, but both very easy to use and very useful on a long road trip.
So would I get one? The coupe wouldn’t be my choice as I love the estate, but driving a new C-Class for a week has made me really want a new (diesel) C-Class estate!
It was a real reward to have a look round the Mercedes Benz Museum to finish the trip, here is a little preview of what’s inside.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our adventure, if you did, please share it on your social media for others to enjoy too.