AMG Performance Road Trip

Discussion in 'Cars in General' started by GilesGuthrie, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. GilesGuthrie

    GilesGuthrie Staff Emeritus

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    [Brief Backstory]Bought the wife a Mercedes A250 "Engineered by AMG" in July[/Brief Backstory]

    This is not the A250. This is an SLK55. Keep up!

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    So I got an invitation to an AMG Performance Road Trip. From an Edinburgh Mercedes dealership to one in Coldstream. Lunch, then back. In 6 AMGs. Limited to 12 places. Did I want to go?

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    No thinking required. YES PLEASE!

    Now, where the hell is Coldstream? Turns out it's roughly sixty miles (100km) roughly south from Edinburgh. So, a 120 mile round trip. Seems like a go-er.

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    Turned out there were only 8 people on the event, so I was on my own in the cars. Totally suited me. I'd then get to drive each car on the way out and the way back. We split into two groups. The first, led by a young lad in an A45, had the SLK55, CLS63 (with performance pack) and SLS. The second group, led by a nutter in an ML63, had a C63 Coupe, S65 and SL65.

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    Oh, yes, that's right. Not one, but TWO 600+ bhp V12s to drive today. And an SLS.

    I started in the SLK, which was fine if a little muted. Next into the CLS, which with the 5.5 biturbo V8 was very pumped in its responses. The performance pack lifts power to around 560bhp, and top speed to 186mph. The CLS was of interest to me because a shooting brake would have been a really interesting comparator to my XJ Supersport had it been around at the time.

    Finally in group 1, the SLS.

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    OK, so I can now say that I get the SLS. On paper it doesn't seem supercar-enough, given that it's 70bhp down on the SL65. And I've never really been convinced by the styling, especially from the rear.

    Having now driven one, I can say I was wrong. It's a hoot. So vocal and chatty and loud. So long as you're not too adventurous with the loud pedal in the wet, it goes where you point it, and there's a direct correlation between throttle angle and noise. It's a real "occasion" car. I loved it.

    The C63 Coupe was interesting too.
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    It's how I would imagine a modern-day Ford Capri should be. It can do the seating-4-in-comfort thing, but what it really wants is to be shoved in sport+ and to have its neck wrung, over and over again. It's so eager. So keen and so compliant. Yes, it was one of the least powerful of the group, but it was really a car you could chase down the road.

    Next up was the S65.

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    I'm not sure I get why you'd go into a Mercedes dealership, and choose to spend such an amount of money on inserting such a muted engine into your car. It's very fast, and very well equipped and very luxurious, but if you want to go so fast that you install a 600 horsepower engine in your car, and you're OK paying £50,000 for the privilege, wouldn't you want that motor to make its presence felt? In more than just the "oh, I'm going 40mph faster than I thought I was" kind of way?

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    It was of course extremely competent, but it rather left me cold. One of the driver-passenger pairs put their passenger in the back, whereupon it was judged "amazing", but for driving pleasure the XJ has it destroyed.

    So, it turned out I saved the best 'til last.
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    The SL65 AMG is an hilarious scary ballistic riot of a machine. It's ludicrously epically mentally fast. Huge power, tyres and carbon ceramic brakes make you forget its physical size as you hurtle towards the next corner. The mute biturbo V12 from the S65 has had 14 cans of Stella before being put in the SL65, and is now shouting at the TV. It caused such an adrenaline rush in me that I laughed and laughed and laughed. And then arrived at the next checkpoint a minute in front of the S65 and C63...

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    What a great way to spend a day.
     
  2. XS

    XS Premium

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    Wow! I'm jealous, sounds like an absolute blast. When I worked for MDE in Denver, Colorado I got to test drive the prototypes to the non-AMG base models (except for the SLS, and CLS, we never saw those), but even then I sort of developed a love affair with Mercedes. I can't imagine being able to drive the AMGs. Great write-up too, it was a good read!
     
  3. Dennisch

    Dennisch Premium

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    It looks like you had a fun day. :tup: High number Mercs are hilariously fun to drive. :D
     
  4. MedigoFlame

    MedigoFlame Premium

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    Sounds like an awesome day for a rainy one. :D Thanks for sharing the story! :tup:
     
  5. Cano

    Cano Premium

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    Got damn, great way to spend the day indeeeeed! Jealousy!
     
  6. Doodle

    Doodle Premium

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    I'm jealous! Looks like you had a blast in those Mercs.
     
  7. homeforsummer

    homeforsummer Premium

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    Excellent stuff. You've officially driven more AMGs than me. I agree with you on the C63 too - it's huge fun and at no point do you really think it's lacking power. Great sound too.

    How are you (and the wife) finding the A250? I've driven each variant of the A-Class in some form or another (by which I'm counting the CLA in that list) but the 250 is probably my least favourite.

    For me, the dual-clutch transmission just doesn't really work great with the engine. In the A45 it's turned up to 11 and you can forgive a bit of jerkiness for the extra pace, and in the 200 and 220 diesels it's much smoother. Pick of the range is the 220 CDI for me actually, even above the AMG. The AMG is so quick I'd just end up frustrated not being able to use it if I owned one but the 220 CDI is pretty much spot-on.

    I can of course understand that if the 250 is doing low mileage then there's little point having the diesel.
     
  8. GilesGuthrie

    GilesGuthrie Staff Emeritus

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    We bought the A250 because it has some styling details (OK, "red bits") that the wife loves! That being said, I was planning on moving her away from a diesel. With the school run and various local pickups/dropoffs she's doing 2000 miles per annum...

    We didn't drive the other models in the range, but I actually like the way that the engine & gearbox are integrated. It's a light-year ahead of the Picasso's EGS gearbox. It also seems nicely setup to work with the engine's flexibility. the 2l turbo lump is really quite torquey. It will be interesting to see how it goes once the engine has loosened off nicely.

    There are more photos of the AMG Fest here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjLNgQWc
     
  9. homeforsummer

    homeforsummer Premium

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    Yeah, that makes sense, particularly compared to the Picasso's gearbox. I think I've got quite picky after driving so many different dual-clutch setups. The Mercedes one is unusual though, it just works so much better with the diesel engine for some reason.

    It's a great engine though. Just unbelievably fast in A45 AMG setup - doesn't feel a great deal behind the C63 for raw pace.