Alexei Sayle: Time travelling on the long road north

I took the new Mercedes-Benz R350 to Hull the other week. Built on the floorpan of the recent Mercedes M-Class SUV, it too has four-wheel drive, but the body is stylistically rather closer to that of a people carrier.

It is a big vehicle, indeed so big that at the Royal Hull, the sort of place that always acts as if they're doing you a favour by letting you pay to stay there, the duty manageress told me rather sniffily that I had to move my car from the front of their hotel as it was blocking access for ambulances and fire-engines.

In the version of the R- Class that I sampled, there were three rows of full-sized seats in an attractive black-grained leather, with DVD screens built into the seat-backs to keep the kids amused.

My only criticism is that, despite its imposing exterior bulk, there is only fairly restricted boot space with all the seats up.

Apart from that quibble, this new Mercedes model was an absolute dream to drive, though not as taut as the S600 limousine I tested and wrote about a few weeks ago. It was easily as relaxing to be behind the wheel of, with the added advantage of a driving position almost as lofty as that in an SUV, but without any of the negative vibes that that particular type of vehicle can often provoke in other road users.

I sometimes felt I was actually more rested after a six-hour drive in the R Class than I had been before I got in it.

Yet, despite that, I had one of my most unsettling driving experiences ever while in this car.

A Mercedes delivery driver had dropped off the R350 at my house 90 minutes earlier and at the same time had picked up my former loan car - the Mercedes S600 previously referred to. Driving north up the M1 at the wheel of the R350, I was trying to marshall my thoughts about the S-Class and, particularly, what effect such an ostentatious motor had on other people when a glint of chrome caught my eye and in the outside lane I saw the very car I'd been at the wheel of only an hour and a half before.

This sight gave me the disturbing sensation of being like a man in a time-travel movie who sees a version of himself from the past.

As I shot past myself I thought that the earlier version of me seemed guileless and full of a naïve innocent hope, unaware of the horrors that lay waiting for him in the future.

I pitied him.

motoring@independent.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

    £18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

    Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Administrator

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...

    Day In a Page

    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific
    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    Dame Colette Bowe - interview
    When do the creative juices dry up?

    When do the creative juices dry up?

    David Lodge thinks he knows
    The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

    Fashion's Cher moment

    Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
    Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

    Health fears over school cancer jab

    Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
    Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

    Weather warning

    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
    LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

    High hopes for LSD

    Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
    German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

    Saving Private Brandt

    A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral