I landed at the Abu Dhabi Airport and headed to the Yas Marina Formula One Circuit, a favorite home to every automaker. This time we were hosted by Mercedes-AMG and the Annual Performance Tour 2015.
The lineup of vehicles included more than 15,300 horsepowers for AMG enthusiasts to discover. My journey began onboard the fastest hatchback in the world, the A45 4Matic, followed by its cousin, the CLA45 4Matic. I also drove the CLS63 4Matic and the limited edition coupe, the C63 507, which marked the end of normally-aspirated V8 engines. I drove the midsized sedan E63, SL63, S63 4Matic and the S63 4Matic coupe. Shortly afterward and moving onto SUVs, I drove the fastest seven-seater in the world, the GL63. The ML63 was followed by the legendary G wagon, the G63 AMG. Last but not least, and the crème de la crème, was the AMG GT in its S – Spec Edition 1. Then we got a sneak peak at the latest C63 AMG.
We walked by the F1 garages and service areas of the Yas Marina circuit where we were briefed on safety, and met our instructors that were to guide us through this exciting experience. Let the fun begin!
AMG is all about speed and adrenaline pumping thrills. The company started over thirty years ago with the Hammer E coupe AMG; the heritage takes us car enthusiasts to a whole new level of performance and excitement. AMG vehicles are becoming more focused nowadays on agility and handling, and as the auto industry grows, drivers are focusing more on those aspects. Those same drivers are becoming more educated and precise about their need for speed. Mercedes-Benz is building more than cars; they are aiming to create a lifestyle that influences their clients’ tastes. It is a matter of ensuring their continuity of excellent products that evolve with the modern times without losing their identity and legacy.
I was given the opportunity to test every car in various aspects of performance. AMG organized a number of on track events that gave us personal insight into the vehicles. The new AMG lineup is more torque focused than before. After driving all of the cars and lapping the circuit, I felt addicted to the need for power and torque. Afterward, as I was stepping out of the car to compare each driving impression, I realized that while similarities exist, AMG has tried to differentiate every vehicle in terms of comfort, handling and combination of luxury and sportiness. Mercedes-Benz tends to give each car its own individual benchmarks so that drivers want them, but each for a different reason.
Mercedes-AMG GT / GT S
Winds of Change
“Winds of Change” by The Scorpions better describes the shift in the AMG department towards agility and handling, not only straight-line acceleration. With the ever-fearsome 911 Porsche lineup, this would be a mission only for the brave. The GT AMG comes with two engine setups: the 4 liter V8 codenamed M178 comes with 460 bhp at 6,000 rpm and 600 Nm of torque at 1,500-5,000rpm. From standstill to 100 kph, is dealt with in four seconds and the top speed is rated at 304 kph. The S-spec that I drove comes with 510 bhp at 6,250 rpm and 650 Nm of torque at 1,750-4,750 rpm. From standstill to 100 kph, is done in 3.8 seconds and at a top speed of 310kphh. Curb weight is 1,550 kg. The power is transmitted to the rear axle by a GETRAG 7 speed dual clutch transmission that was completely reworked for the SLS to get quicker shifts and improve the gearbox’s durability. A sneak peek under the skin shows that the twin turbo chargers are seated in the middle of the V, a copy of the BMW F10 M5 engine but it’s clever because the size of the motor is decreased so the intake length which results in the turbo lag problem entering the final phases of being resolved. Both engines use a dry sump lubrication that lowers the car’s center of gravity and that, in turn, improves handling. The whole front track is taken from the SLS AMG and features a hydraulic steering wrack which is the unseen point of the Porsche 911 and the rear track is completely new. The suspensions are double wishbones front and rear with forged aluminum wishbones and hub carriers. At the rear we also find the electronically controlled mechanical limited slip differential in the GT S AMG also features dynamic engine mounts that harden and soften up. The carbon ceramic brakes cope well under stress and don’t let go. The paddle shifters feel gets a bit low after a few laps if you keep pushing to the limit. I drove it the GT AMG in a variety of driving modes: comfort, sport, sport + and race. The sound in the GT is exquisite; AMG overcame the flat notes of the turbocharged engines.
Inside is a combination of carbon fiber leather and aluminum with a stunning center console that includes all the buttons for the suspension setups the exhaust note the gearbox setup. The gear lever and the touchpad that controls all gizmos on the car are gorgeously integrated. The seats are proper racing buckets that might be a bit annoying for a few individuals, but for me, they mean business and they give an exceptional feeling of confidence.