Mike Stevens | Mar 23, 2009

Today Mercedes Benz is celebrating what it has described as “an outbreak of common sense” from the Victorian government, allowing probationary licence-holders to drive previously prohibited vehicles.

Under the previous law, vehicles fitted with a turbo or supercharger were automatically deemed high performance vehicles, regardless of a car's actual performance characteristics.

Mercedes-Benz has championed the use of low-pressure supercharging for years for the purposes of better fuel consumption and emissions. Under the new rules, P-plate drivers can now apply for an exemption for certain previously off-limits vehicles.

mercedes-benz-clc200

The likes of Mercedes-Benz' own 135kW C 200 will now be an option for young drivers, although probationary licence holders will be required to apply for an exemption before being able to drive one.

The move will be of significant benefit for families who own such a vehicle. Under the exemption, any forced-induction car with a power to weight ratio of no more than 100kW per tonne can be granted an exemption. Cars deemed family vehicles (not sports cars) can have a power to weight ratio of up to 125kW per tonne.

Mercedes Benz pointed out the superior safety features of its vehicles such as stability control, multiple air bags and pre-safe crash preparation, and argued that drivers in the crucial learning stages of their driving careers were being deprived of properly prepared, safe vehicles.

Mercedes Benz has congratulated the Victorian Minister for Roads and Ports, Tim Pallas, on his decision to overturn the ban. The move now brings Victoria into line with other states.

“We are very pleased that the Victorian Government has taken the very reasonable position of recognising that some turbocharged and supercharged vehicles that could not, in good conscience, be classified as HPVs will now be granted exemptions, and that true HPVs will continue to be banned for young and probationary drivers.” Said Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Australia, Horst von Sanden.

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