By Bernadine Rodrigo
When thinking of Europe, it is not uncommon for many people to envision luxury vehicles with sleek curves and edges, shiny colours, interiors basking in almost unrealistic comfort, and elegant demeanour. Europe is also known for its varying cuisines, some even considered to be one of the best in the world. Sri Lanka’s hopes were lifted by the move of Diesel and Motor Engineering PLC, commonly known as DIMO, together with Y Entertainment to announce the unveiling of the never-before-seen Mercedes Benz A-Class Sedan coupled which a food festival titled “Taste of Europe” on 21 and 22 September. The event promised to bring the true experience of Europe into the palms of the local islanders from the glory of the mobile wonders to the palate-stimulating treasures of European cuisine.
There was no doubt that those who participated left with a sense of having enjoyed themselves. The event was held in the outdoor premises of Arcade Independence Square, which was the beginning of the irony of the event, seeing as how the location celebrated our country’s independence from a European nation. The rest of the irony was visible in the setup of the event as all that may have been expected by the longing public was not quite met in terms of the “taste” of Europe. The first stall was one serving a popular brand of cup noodles, known by many to only be available in our country, causing a minute amount of confusion. But we can never simply jump into conclusions and assume that there would be no cup noodles to be found anywhere in Europe.
However, as we entered further inwards, it was noticed that commonly known endemic or localised varieties of edibles were available, making one begin to wonder whether the event was one concerning the continent of Europe or the island of Sri Lanka. Needless to say, the food was delicious, but it is naturally rather disappointing to visit an event expecting one thing and receiving another.
Nevertheless, at the end of the street was the majestic brand new Mercedes Benz A-Class Sedan, complete with a 1.4 litre turbocharged engine of 163 horsepower, seven-speed automatic transmission, and even a wireless phone charging docket along with a Burrnster sound system. Furthermore, the sedan has excitingly modernistic, keyless “go-hands-free” access, a panoramic sliding sunroof, semiautomatic driving assistance, and everybody’s favourite LED headlamps with integrated LED daytime running lamps.
Inside, while presenting great leg space, headspace, and rear headroom along with memory seats, the vehicle is not only the seat of luxury, but also one of safety, containing within seven airbags and having undergone a great number of quality tests which DIMO describes as “nothing less than strenuous”. When looking at how travelling in the vehicle is, it promises to provide an easy, smooth drive upon the claim that the A-Class Sedan has the lowest aerodynamic drag of all production vehicles worldwide.
Two of these glorious vehicles were displayed – one in white and the other in black – out in the open where individuals were allowed to get near and observe the vehicles and even have a seat inside, so that the real experience of owning it could be felt. Amongst those readily doing so were Sri Lankan celebrity Stephanie Siriwardhana and influencer Gaia Kodithuwakku, who too seemed awed and amazed by the newly unveiled vehicle as they were spotted posing for photographs near them.
In close proximity to the two vehicles, a slight hint of Europe was visible with a German-influenced restaurant and a stall or two serving schnitzel and similar dishes, providing a small pocket of Europe rather than an entire field of it. Although it was not entirely European, it is not right to condemn what was available because it was absolutely divine. All in all, albeit a little disappointed, not a single individual left the event unhappy.