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Mercedes GLA goes subterranean

Mon, 31 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0700

FOR SUV owners looking to test their cars’ off-road credentials, the obvious place to put them to the test probably isn’t nearly 200 metres underground.

But that’s exactly where the new Mercedes GLA found itself as it descended into Winsford Rock Salt Mine, 620 feet beneath the Cheshire countryside.

The working mine, which supplies much of the UK’s gritting salt for wintry roads, played host to four standard (apart from extra driving lights) GLA models, which were lowered down into the mine nose first before being let loose in the 130-mile network of tunnels.

The slightly raised chassis of the GLA gives a more commanding view of the road ahead than its cousin, the A-Class, along with a little more ground clearance. 4MATIC four-wheel drive also proved handy on the loose surface inside the tunnels.

Winsford Rock Salt Mine has left a ‘void space’ of 23 million cubic metres under the earth’s surface, but it’s now being put to new uses. The extremely dry air and constant 14-degree temperatures make a perfect storage environment for delicate paper-based records and historical documents.

The National Archives now stores millions of files in the mines, which also have the advantage of being extremely secure.

By Press Association reporter