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Given Mercedes Benz’s reputation for luxury, it’s tempting to dismiss the automaker’s cars as being strictly for trust fund sorority girls or high-flying lawyers who just made partner.

Mercedes does have quite a bit of performance cred too, though, particularly for its extra-sporty cars that bear the mark of AMG, the company’s in-house tuning and motorsports division. But while you can find plenty of driving enthusiasts who get excited by the cars coming out of Stuttgart, in a new video Mercedes tries to stir the hearts of a new demographic: Zen monks.

The video features Mercedes’ new souped-up sportswagon, which unabashedly bears the alphabet-soup-style moniker of A 45 AMG 4MATIC. But while you can snicker at the lengthy name and x-treme spelling, the car’s engine, a 360 PS (355 HP) turbo-charged 2.0-liter four banger, demands nothing but respect.

In order to scientifically prove just how thrilling their new creation is, Mercedes decided to gather a group of observers and measure their brain waves as the car drove by. At this point, roadster fans are asking “So what?” After all, Mazda hooked up sensors to measure the neural reactions of their test drivers during development of the third-generation Miata.

While you can argue that data from the driver is more meaningful than data from people not even inside the car, Mercedes did add one important wrinkle to raise the bar in their test. The German automaker would be trying to excite a group of Japanese monks doing everything they can to remain calm by practicing Zen meditation.

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Before going on, we should point out one important linguistic difference. While in English it’s perfectly possible to “meditate on a subject,” in essence focusing your thoughts, the aim of zazen (Zen meditation) is to completely eliminate the conscious workings of the mind. If your brain shows any activity, you’re doing zazen wrong, and the standard correction method is to have a senior monk hit you with a stick.

▼ The proper state of a Zen monk’s brain during zazen

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For the experiment, Mercedes attaches sensors to the foreheads of five monks, who then sit themselves on the tarmac and begin their zazen.

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Once they’ve reached a proper state of inner calm, their master nods, and the test begins.

An AMG engineer radios to the driver. The car springs to life and goes roaring across the pavement towards the circle the monks are seated in.

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Tires squeal and the exhaust note echoes off the surrounding mountains as the driver whips the car around the zazen practitioners.

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▼ For drift fans, this, right here, is the real absolute truth of the cosmos.

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▼ It kind of seems like cheating at the 1:45 mark, when the A 45 AMG 4MATIC kicks a sheet of water onto the face of one of the monks.

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Eventually, the car comes to a stop, and the engineers turn to their monitors to check the data they’ve recorded Were the monks able to remain stoic throughout the test?

▼ Not even close.

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▼ Well, time to go to work.

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Looks like the monks’ training isn’t quite complete yet. For the rest of us dealing with more worldly concerns, like how to get to work and back (in a hurry), there’s the A 45 AMG 4MATIC.

Source, images: Mercedes Benz Japan
[ Read in Japanese ]