I recently upgraded from a much-loved Audi A4 1.8T to my all-time dream car, a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. It’s not that I didn’t like the Audi, on the contrary on many levels it’s an easier, more comfortable car than the C63 – it has more headroom on the driver’s side, a softer ride and in my opinion, a better gearbox. Then again it’s hard to compare the tires fitted to the two cars, or for that matter the powertrain the respective transmissions have to control…

Technical crap aside, it’s all fair and well having a faster, more expensive car but if you don’t have the after sales service to go with it you may as well not bother. I did not buy the Merc new, but it was recently due for it’s second service and so my first experience with Merc Sandton came to pass.

What a breath of fresh air. There’s not much between Audi and Merc, car-wise. I mean, there’s not much between an A4 2.0T and a C200. But there certainly is a big gap in service ethic between Audi Sandton and Merc Sandton (I can’t speak for other branches). From the moment I pulled up this morning, I was surprised – friendly staff, freshly-brewed coffee, orderly processing of vehicles, and a swiftly organised lift from the dealership to my breakfast appointment – all done and dusted in about 10 minutes.

When I picked up my vehicle the seats and steering wheel had been covered in plastic to prevent dirt or scuffing, and the car was spotless. It took another 10 minutes to pick up my keys, sign the paperwork and leave.

And then my heart sank.

I realised my CD changer was empty. All my CD’s were gone. A Leatherman I keep in the middle console was missing. So was the loose change, and, I kid you not, my gum and tissues were gone too.

I was livid. So much excitement, followed by such devastating (and all to familiar) disappointment. In fact I lost a wedding ring to an Audi dealership the same way.

In a state I phoned the service advisor Martin Fortuin to ask if he knew anything about it. He asked me to hold for a second, returned to the phone and broke the news…

My stuff, all of which had been carelessly left in the car by me (I’m bad that way), was all tucked away neatly and safely in a Ziploc bag back at the dealership, ready for my collection. Wow. If only all brands understood service and honesty like Mercedes-Benz do.

I might never own another brand of car. I mean, who needs more than the sound of that V8?