fuel saver of note

AFTER months of struggling to get a Mercedes Benz E200 CGI BlueEfficiency for testing, Mercedes Benz SA called to say the car was available.

I quickly checked my schedule and told the iron lady from Merc SA that I was fully booked and would like to take the car some other time but she politely told me that the vehicle will be taken off the fleet at the end of the month.

So I thought for a second and decided to take it anyway.

My team was sitting with two test vehicles each, and I had three. This is what we call a crisis here. With this dilemma facing me an opportunity presented itself just then for me to travel to Free State.

And I remembered what Mercedes Benz technical specialist, Graeme Ingram, said during the launch late last year - the CGI engine is a fuel saver of note.

It was for this reason that I decided to put this claim to the test.

It was still dark when I left my house that morning, and the freeway was quiet and open. The E200 CGI seemed to be at home on the N1. With the comfort levels only kings and queens enjoy, I knew I had made the right decision by taking the E200 CGI.

The big thing all of us in the car wanted to witness was how the German beauty would be in the fuel department. All turned out well.

The E200 CGI displays fewer switches and more functions. The controller on the centre tunnel puts a whole range of functions at the driver's fingertips. It is linked to the large colour display on the dashboard and allows operation of the navigation system, car radio, telephone, DVD player and other components of the infotainment system.

The 12-button multi-function steering wheel is another main protagonist of the sophisticated control and display concept.

The exquisite integration of the switches and buttons into the interior design concept was just as important as the pleasant feeling of touching the control surfaces or the soft click heard when pressing the buttons.

Under the bonnet of the E200 CGI lies a 1.8-litre engine with power output of 135kW.