Anne Valvatne and the
Restless at the Arctic Circle.
Fuel consumption combined: 5.1-4.9 l/100 km;
combined CO2 emissions: 132-129 g/km.*
Northerly winds and sporting spirit.
The rough North Sea thrashes against jagged cliffs. Snow-covered mountains, wild waves, white beaches – the backdrop is breathtakingly beautiful. The Norwegian Lofoten Islands above the Arctic Circle are one of the most beautiful parts of the world. In the middle of this rugged idyll stands a
young woman in a black wetsuit. Her name: Anne Valvatne. Her calling: kitesurfing. What drives her: adventure. She keenly observes the wind. When the wind is right, in the space of a few minutes she will glide over the water and through the air as if weightless in space.
There is strength in tenseness.
"You only live once. If you do it right, once is enough." Anne Valvatne knows what she is talking about. In 2010 she entered the German Kitesurfing Championship, "just for fun". And was the surprise winner. Being a Norwegian, she is not allowed to bear the title of German Champion which she won in 2010 – but she won a lot of respect for her sporting achievement. She has always been one of those people who never lets anyone or anything stop them. Born in Austria and brought up in Norway. She moved to Germany to study and she practises her sport regularly all around the globe. A woman like her needs a car that is fit for the task – like the Mercedes-Benz GLA.
Glad in Norwegian.
The starting pistol goes off at dawn: before this active surfer's next adventure starts, we can see whether the car is able to meet her requirements. One person's kitesurfing kit takes up a huge amount of space. But Anne Valvatne has an easy job of fitting everything into the Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 CDI 4MATIC. Thanks to the optional load compartment package, the generous luggage area can be enlarged even further by another 60 litres. Design-conscious Scandinavians do not just care about functionality – a car has to fit the bill optically too: "The GLA fits in to the scenery here. But I could visualise it in a big city too. It just looks really cool." She laughs and she starts the engine and tells us: "Glad means the same in Norwegian as in English. So for me, the GLA is just: glad." And then off she goes.
Gorges and mountains flash alternately past the window. Anne Valvatne clearly enjoys the drive around all the bends. "This car's acceleration is amazing! You get that kiting too: when you fill the kite with wind, you take off at speed. But you still feel quite safe. The same is true here: you put your foot on the accelerator, and off it speeds. And even on icy roads here, you feel safe. Really cool!" And on the rough tracks leading down to the beach, you can still enjoy the same agility and fun driving – the 4MATIC all-wheel drive with offroad program takes care of all that. When she reaches her destination, her eyes are sparkling. "Since I learned to kitesurf I've become addicted, and I spend as many days on the water as I can. My aim is to get better all the time and do the tricks with more power."
The compact SUV has just as much power on the road as the surfer does on the water, thanks to its four-cylinder turbo-charged direct-injection engine. So it's no wonder the two are such a perfect team.
North of the comfort zone
In search of a multi-talent.
Athletic Anne Valvatne trains until sunset. Then she falls into the seat of the GLA and relaxes. An unusual picture of such an active athlete. But she senses that she can let herself have a little breather in this car. "In everyday life I tend to be restless. It's only when I go kitesurfing that I calm down. Then I can breathe normally somehow. This car gives me the same feeling." Hardly surprising. After all, the GLA has enough busy assistants on board to take the strain off the driver. They take care of her safety while the fascinating Lofoten panorama flashes past her. One such assistant is COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST, which can give her an optical and acoustic warning if anything happens as well as prepare the adaptive Brake Assist system for on-the-spot braking.
At the end of this eventful day of adventure, she is quite sure: "This car and me – we're made for each other."