Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Northern California, Bay Area
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2017 GLA ED pickup
It has been a good day today. The Graf Zeppelin is a great hotel with an amazing room service meal last night and incredible breakfast buffet this morning. The "box" picture is the honey comb at the restaurant. Fantastic honey and points out that most honey we buy in the US is fake. I would highly recommend staying here. It literally is a walk across the street from the main train station. Swimming pool, fitness center, large rooms, modern, and includes a Mercedes discount for nights past the first night (that MB picks up).
The taxi driver that took us to Sindelfingen used to install motors in the E Class. The taxi he was driving has one of the motors he had installed. He said Mercedes does something like a 65% discount to local cab drivers, so cabs are generally Mercedes. He had 650,000 km on his and it didn't have a shake or a rattle in it.
The Center of Excellence was beautiful and, again, we were treated like royalty. We enjoyed complimentary coffee in the cafe and did some wandering while the paperwork was quickly completed. Some construction was going on so we could not go to the upper mezzanine to look down on the delivery area. So the pictures of Pam's new ride are from the main level.
We were half way through our training session when we had to break for the factory tour.
The factory tour was great (no pictures allowed). This is its own city. They employ 33,000 people at this one plant. 10,000 are engineers. 1,000 are students (they have their own University on site and offer Bachelor's degrees to those who finish). They have 5 cafeterias serving 11,000 hot meals each day. And the robots, controls, and assembly lines ... what can I say?
Their frame alignment jig verifies alignment to 1/100 mm (half an average human hair thickness). The upper strut housings are press gussetted for strength. The entire build is impressive.
They assemble E and S Class cars here ... 300,000 a year. There was a large group (tomorrow at the AMG factory Pam and I will get a personalized tour) and yet we were allowed to walk quite freely during the tour.
We came back to a great lunch, and when we didn't use the full 60 Euro value of our voucher the waitress brought us two bottles of water and a chocolate bar to take with us. The picture of the fruit plate includes the Mercedes star in powdered sugar. First rate food and service.
As for Pam's car ...
Android Auto works on a borrowed HTC phone, but not with our Galaxy Note 5 phones. We may not have installed the app correctly, or ... We'll need to look into that. But Android Auto is real finally.
Pam's illuminated star is illegal in Europe, so that gets added on when the car reaches the Vehicle Preparation Center in the US.
All seems to be right with the order, but with all the variations in the car orders (as witnessed on the assembly line), the "produce to sequence" is incredible. Every car gets a spec box attached to it when it is a partial frame. That box is verified by multiple robots and cross checked with bar codes on everything that is added to it. A right drive car may be followed by a left drive car. The dash installing robots knows the difference and assembles the dash into the car accordingly.
Auto Park works very well. I don't like that the computer is willing to turn the steering wheel when the car is not moving rather than doing a reverse steer before changing direction, but this is a gimmick anyway. We added this feature so we would have the distance sensors.
The new display is bright, even in full sun. It is thinner and blends into the dash better. It still has a larger than needed border, but the display area is still big.
The back up camera is beautiful. The distance warning sensors and displays are spot on.
The ability to lock and unlock the car by touching the door handle as well as keyless start is going to be one of those things we will wonder how we got along without.
There isn't much to not like!!!
The downs ...
The power steering seems to have been amplified. It is too easy to steer, but stable nonetheless. We'll see how that plays out in the Alps in two days. Road bumps are eaten up, and road noise in general seems quite low. The summer performance tires ride and feel much better than the run flats.
The steering wheel is a bit slippery. I'm thinking I should have pushed Pam for the Alcantara (that neither of us like).
The Red Cut interior is nice, but more of a gray charcoal than black.
I think we will want to add a throttle control box to clean up the response pulling from a light, but I need to see how the brain adapts.
Surprisingly, as much as I like the shift buttons in our 997, the MB paddles are easy to adapt to. They require a bit more hand movement, but that isn't bad. The up and downshifts are smooth. Unfortunately the gear you are in only shows when you are manually shifting. I admit this isn't a big thing, just that I'm used to that in my Porsche.
But these are first world problems!!!
Pam likes the sunroof. With this being a down size from her Lexus, the sunroof takes the otherwise potentially cramped interior and opens it up.
I haven't floored the throttle (the break in period ends in Spain) but the exhaust without the Sport Exhaust button on is quite tame (for the neighbors). I also haven't tested the Sport Exhaust button itself (yet).
We're getting used to the GPS that does not give advanced information quite as nicely as Waze ... we took the scenic route to the car drop off center as well as back to the hotel.
We went to the drop off center to see if we could get a late drop off (so we can keep the car for the Porsche Museum and factory tours). No problem. Again, people going out of their way to make this a great experience.
There do not appear to be many changes from 2016 to 2017. The GLA did not get the CLA updates (LED headlights or foot sensed rear door opening). A keener eye than mine might realize the trim variations. I need to compare with older pictures I have. More on that later.
I need to install the door cup guards tonight and read the Owner's Manual. Then I will study the display interfaces a bit more.
We did hit the Center of Excellence store for a couple umbrellas and some detailer spray. I brought a stack of microfiber towels, but not the Griots Garage spray bottle. Pam couldn't find a coffee cup she liked, and many of them were too big for the cup holders.
Not much more right now.