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My Saturday at the AMG Performance Event

Old 4/3/11, 04:46 PM
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My Saturday at the AMG Performance Event

Ok I wrote a bit of information earlier, an entire review actually, then made a mistake and lost it all.

As exhausted as I was from writing the other review. I will attempt to re create it. As some of you might remember my first post here was about my thoughts on the 2011 Mustang GT so I hope to do that some justice today.

Due to my previous mishap, I will probably be saving this often so the full review may be much later.

Aside from the nice weather, decent tent coverage, the snacks, drinks, espresso and leather couches I was there to drive these cars.

So let's begin. I started my day out in the shortest line E63 AMG.

As you might be able to tell from the pictures, the color is beige. Fitting because it was beige. I started my trip off with a quick quip about how it's missing a third pedal, greeted with a quick smirk of the AMG driving aid there in the passenger seat.

All joking aside, my first line of defense is always be honest, so I was. When the aid (I don’t like “aid”, we’ll call them buddies from here on) asked if I owned a Mercedes or an AMG, I proceeded to let him know I was the enemy and I roll in a BMW. So that’s not exactly what I said but I did tell the gentleman that I am a BMW owner. He didn’t really say much but with me fumbling around with seat adjustments to get my short, ape like, legs into driving position, the guy could have said anything. So after clambering around in the cockpit, messing with the steering wheel and complaining that I couldn’t play with the ESP settings or ride control, we were on our way. Yes, we were off. The steering was smooth, too smooth. So smooth it was just plain easy and not really telling. It reminds me of the Mustang’s EPAS set to “Comfort”. For a car like this I didn’t expect a Toyota Camry’s ease of steering feel. I shouldn’t gripe because later in the short turn ins, it made things relatively easy but the road less communicated. Almost like a video game really. Oh well, so we are off, the personnel at the starting position have given me the green light. Now it’s time to light up the tires right? Unfortunately the traction control wasn’t having it. Great launch ability if you want the computer to hold everything back until it is up to the proper speed. Otherwise you just feel confused, so much so that I **** near Steve McQueened my way over the first hill. My first reaction as a mid westerner is YEEE-HAAWW so what I want to do is throw this lofty body up over the hill while turning in and let the weight settle on the back side of the hill. If a car could talk it would have said “Negative”. Basically I could tell we were about to get into a world of under steer, and we did. Good thing though, the brakes are silken smooth. Not much for feedback and certainly aren’t the concrete stiff stoppers in my BMW but great braking action when you needed it. So I applied pressure and good thing the back end stays right were I need to and doesn’t lift on me and cause all the weight to come forward, because remember we’re all ready compromised up front as it is. So I right the car and we are on our way, a bit more slowly than I would like but doing ok. I was so upset about the car’s under steer I’m pretty sure I shouted “what the hell is this??” Under steer was my biggest gripe of the day. I got so aggravated by the lack of throttle control and steering like an 87 Buick that I decided it was time for me and this E63 to have an understanding. So on a long straight section the track shifts with small corners from left to right then left again, not quite a chicane but close. So I’m at full throttle which is sadly moving me at a pace that feels like is completely lacking for a 510Hp car at which time my instructor was probably telling me to brake but I’m ignoring because I am having a Zen moment with this mammoth beige behemoth. The car and I take the first right shift near perfect and I correct back to the left and as I do the back end of the car is sliding out just like I want to get me straight arrowed into the shift left, problem is the ESP decides it has had enough of my antics and tries to straighten the car as I am trying to keep it canted at an angle. So we wrestle as the car wants to correct my movements and I want to correct its movements and for a split second I let loose of the wheel and grab it back just in time as the car has righted its self. At this point I’ve hit some cones and I could care less. If I wanted an over grown grocery getter, there are plenty of options for me. I basically just drive it enthusiastically until I can get back to the staging lanes. I then explain my position to the buddy about leaving a little room to drift, it’s just how I like to drive. He seems to agree with the shake of his head but probably none too enthused. Neither was I.

Good notes, the brakes were splendid. I guess that’s what you get for 6 piston fronts and 4 piston rears. But they were glorious. The engine, well, I read a comparison once a while back about an AMG stating it was “God’s own engine” well that’s fairly close. The engine was silk, it purred like a kitten and with the windows up, even under full throttle I thought all it was doing was purring. Outside the car were glorious V8 sounds of handmade greatness. But with all the limitations on, I could hardly take advantage of it. Same goes for the differential. I wanted to feel a differential that when sticking a rear wheel into the turn if I throttle hard it just keeps me trucking right out of the corner, not in this case, it kept me Mack trucking out of the corner. I still thoroughly enjoyed driving the car and would love to do so again. Problem was, I wouldn’t buy one. But I know many a lost Dad’s that would love a car like the E63. For me, I just needed a bit more car and a lot less fluff. On a drop off to one of the straights I thought we about went all magic carpet ride but that was just the suspension flopping the heavy hauler around. The body felt great and seemed as though it were one piece the entire time, no flex and it stayed linear. I liked that a lot.

You win some you lose some, on to the next car. (More below...)
Attached Thumbnails My Saturday at the AMG Performance Event-img_0154.jpg   My Saturday at the AMG Performance Event-img_0155.jpg   My Saturday at the AMG Performance Event-img_0156.jpg   My Saturday at the AMG Performance Event-img_0157.jpg   My Saturday at the AMG Performance Event-img_0166.jpg  


Last edited by Automagically; 4/5/11 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 4/3/11, 04:48 PM
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^^^I was having a dream car moment there in the SLS

So, the SL63. It’s a roadster. That’s about all I had to say about that one. Ok, Ok, let’s be fair here and talk a little bit about the experience. So as soon as I get in the car I’m greeted by my new AMG buddy. Don’t remember any names and that’s alright. Anyway, so we carry on for a minute or so as I’m getting buckled in. I admit, I like the feel of this roadster, I assumed with the long snout and my stunted height, I would be miserable in the car but it felt rather good and I’d drive it again for sure. In my talking’s with the AMG buddy we begin talking about features that I like in a car besides and we got on the subject or purest cars and how the DSG just didn’t tickle our fancy. My AMG buddy this time around was the owner of an E46 M3 and a Porsche GT3 he used as track cars. I thought I was in comfortable quarters now. So I mention the overwhelming achievements that the new Mustang has accomplished and that for around $3000 or less you can have a great weekend track car. Apparently I was the only one thinking this as the remark back to me was that the Mustang was far more hot rod than track car and that it would take a lot more to make the Mustang track worthy. I guess this guy just didn’t get the memo. Well, beloved BMW’s be damned I still stand by my Mustang argument. While this guy owns two cars I lust after, I find his argument for the Mustang very narrow minded. I will continue with some later Mustang comparisons later. Not time for that now.
So we went on about our business and even though the AMG buddy was upset about the tires being over worked the car still was seemingly inherent to under steer. He was right, the tires sucked. Actually, all the car’s Continental Sport Contacts were just ok to good. The roadster did hold its ground far better than the E63. It also had a much better center of gravity and center of turn. Made for a pretty well balanced road car. Engine performance was about the same though, lacking in that deep south torque that I need from anything with eight cylinders and 6.3L of displacement. If I could say one thing about these cars, they really showed their fly by wire status very well. The throttle didn’t feel connected but controlled as if it you were just giving it a suggestion rather than a command. The steering, while lacking communication was the most accurate dimension. Now I didn’t mention that the cars were originally left in Comfort mode until I asked to change the settings to at least S+( or Sports +) for quicker shifts. I was told that they weren’t supposed to let me but they guys in the car didn’t mind. It didn’t really matter as the car had way more control than I did. I don’t really have a great amount to say more about the car though, it was a roadster, the breaks were great, the engine smooth but suffers the same fatal flaws. Oh and apparently to the MB personnel, the SL is a light car. No sir, my Civic should be considered light at near 1000 lbs less than the roadster. (More below...)
Attached Thumbnails My Saturday at the AMG Performance Event-img_0158.jpg   My Saturday at the AMG Performance Event-img_0159.jpg   My Saturday at the AMG Performance Event-img_0160.jpg   My Saturday at the AMG Performance Event-img_0161.jpg   My Saturday at the AMG Performance Event-img_0162.jpg  


Last edited by Automagically; 4/5/11 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 4/3/11, 04:49 PM
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So now the one I had really been waiting for, the largest car in the bunch, but the only one with twin turbos, the CLS 63 AMG. Now from what I gathered from the crowd, I was about to embark on a turbo lag-less journey of self fulfillment. So needless to say I was ready. Cue the epic music as I stroll onto the staging lanes, you know, that over used song from Kill Bill, probably by The Crystal method or the likes. Yeah, now you’ve got the scene. Now I must say, this is an elegant looking car. It’s big, long and has some great looking wheels on it. Hips like an Amazon queen. I felt posh, I won’t lie. Once again, I struggle for the pedals but this time the steering wheel within my grasp is a nice (M thick) wheel with Alacantara. Now I’m just plain spoiled. Ok, on to the actual car. The big car started pretty well but with all the electronic nannies on board I had a hard time telling what was electronic control or late turbo entry. The car pulled hard and if I had a few miles I could spool this car up real well. But I didn’t and the giganto mobile suffered the same driving dynamic as the other cars. Overall the BiTurbo engine had a great deal of surging power and even though I own a car with twins, it just doesn’t have that same feel. The tidal wave effect. Great engine for such a big car. The entire drive made the E63 feel like the biggest slouch of the bunch. I will give the new CLS AMG that it is a confident limousine and I respect it far more than I do the E class. With the new Mercedes design direction you can see from the pictures that the car has become more of a statesman than a googly eyed Coupe de Sedan. I’m left impressed, for such a mammoth. I look at this car and also start to wonder what exactly the S series will be like. I realize this is the lesser S for poorer rich folks but now the two are starting to really merge.

Now, on to my absolute favorite, the little runt, C63 AMG. I saved this car until last for a reason. I thought this car would be a true game changer for me since at some point this car will be in my price range. The M3 competitor. I was giddy at this point as I knew this was the lightest car in the bunch. The AMG buddy could see the excitement on my face and we got to talking about features that the car had and what I needed to know. He pointed out that it was the lowest in the bunch in regards to horsepower but I still thought, but it is over 400 Hp so it’s no jalopy. After I get my ham hocks around the Alacantara steering wheel, we scoot along. Instantly I tell the AMG buddy that the car has the best throttle response I’ve felt in any of the cars and this is while we are moving 10 mph. After the first hill the car positions its self just as I want it to, even drifts a little which was perfect but I must have woken up the stability demon because as soon as I was poised to hammer the accelerator, I was cut of. Like a frat boy at an after party, the engine shut me down and we crept along for a few seconds until the car thought I had learned my lesson. Well, I had not. Even with the ESP I was very pleasantly surprised at how well poised the car was. This is what I was looking for. Still it was understeering but I feel if the stability control had been overridden it would be barely an issue. And yes, at the lowest horse power of the bunch the car truly did have the most crisp throttle response. When it was all said and done I mentioned that the seat kept hugging me through the turns, and I didn’t mean like it was well bolstered, the seat legitimately changed bolster pressure the harder the turn was or how hard you drove the car. That was pretty sweet. I considered giving the car a tip for my massage session but I figured I didn’t really owe it anything.
So, lasting impressions. Great looks from all the cars. Incredibly well done fit and finish on the interior. I do love the Alacantara steering wheel and headliner. Who’d have thought right? Leather bound dashes with nice single stitching done all around. This was an interior that a mother or S&M diva could love. The exhaust was incredible, no rasp, great tone. Engine, smooth as could be but lacking the ferocity I expected from 6.3L in most cases. This was my first time driving a twin clutch gear box and I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth the transmission felt. But I wasn’t wooed by its performance. I didn’t get to test the paddle shifters but I would like to now drive an automatic equipped Mustang just to see if I really feel any better about going dual clutch or if I just feel that overall it doesn’t matter. There are some things that, to me, look great on paper but in the real world just don’t perform in the manner that ousts what it was competing against. Just my opinion though. I thought all of the cars were a joy to drive and would be great on the street. On the Autocross, they weren’t as up to par as I wanted. The brakes, for sure, even the too easy steering. I guess I should try Braubus next. Either way the cars were a joy but the C63 stole my heart. Would I buy one? It’s still up in the air. After those tests, I am now more than ever in the need to know how an M3 performs under my foot.

Just some comparison observations. As I had mentioned before the steering felt nearly the same as the Mustang GT in comfort but not only that, while the engine was smooth, the 5.0L Coyote is 99.5% as smooth and not hand assembled like these AMG models. I truly preferred the feel of Ford’s 5L to these much more expensive V8’s. I guess I just like a little more low-end and a little more throttle control and less fly by wire feel. Yes, I’d take the Mustang’s performance over the AMG. I won’t go into design or materials used, that’s another ball game that the Merc wins hands down. I also felt a bit more planted in the GT equipped with Brembo brakes. I actually would describe most of the AMG cars as feeling exactly like the GT with 19” wheels but not the Brembo cars, until it came time to brake. But all in all the cars felt so much a like it was scary. And if I were too uppity to drive a Mustang I’d see why people enjoy the AMG line.
Attached Thumbnails My Saturday at the AMG Performance Event-img_0163.jpg   My Saturday at the AMG Performance Event-img_0164.jpg   My Saturday at the AMG Performance Event-img_0167.jpg  

Last edited by Automagically; 4/5/11 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 4/3/11, 06:20 PM
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Nice stuff! Please tell me you got to drive them...
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Old 4/3/11, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Antigini-GT/CS
Nice stuff! Please tell me you got to drive them...
Yep! All but the SLS.
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Old 4/4/11, 12:46 PM
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Update 1: Done
Update 2: WIP
Update 3: WIP
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Old 4/4/11, 01:27 PM
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Update 1: Done
Update 2: Done
Update 3: WIP
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Old 4/5/11, 09:29 AM
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Review finished! Thanks for looking everyone.
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Old 4/5/11, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Automagically
Review finished! Thanks for looking everyone.
No, thank you!
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Old 4/5/11, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Automagically View Post
I didnít get to test the paddle shifters but I would like to now drive an automatic equipped Mustang just to see if I really feel any better about going dual clutch or if I just feel that overall it doesnít matter. There are some things that, to me, look great on paper but in the real world just donít perform in the manner that ousts what it was competing against. Just my opinion though. I thought all of the cars were a joy to drive and would be great on the street. On the Autocross, they werenít as up to par as I wanted. The brakes, for sure, even the too easy steering. I guess I should try Braubus next. Either way the cars were a joy but the C63 stole my heart. Would I buy one? Itís still up in the air. After those tests, I am now more than ever in the need to know how an M3 performs under my foot.
Having driven SL63s, SL55s, E55's, E63's, S63's, ML55's, ML63's, CLK55's, G55's, C55's...

AMG churns out some of the best driving experiences- personally IMO.

The 7 speed is actually a Multiplate Wet Clutch (Speedshift MCT) - no torque converters. And the paddles are very pinpoint and direct. Something like 92 milliseconds. (blinking is 150). But rivals that of BMW SMG gearbox at 80 milliseconds. (Ferrari's F1 Auto is about 16-20 milliseconds...). Supposedly the the average manual shift is 100-200 milliseconds. depending on skill...)

And while I loved the SL55's and their supercharged format the NA version of the 63 (really a 6.2L) is truly admirable. As it debuted with what now many of the 63's will feature- As now the E, SLS and C among others... Sport + mode is great- driving along in 7th gear mash the peddle and it instantaneously kickdowns to 3rd gear. Launch control- is also a fun lil bit. The performance package makes for bigger brakes and better body control- and like thing else it can benefit from a wider rear tire.

C63's are nice- but for me- I'd have a hard time not looking at that CTS V in the same sentence... coupe form please!

Cool stories, awesome photos, looked like a good time!
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Old 4/6/11, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by 2010MustangGT View Post
Having driven SL63s, SL55s, E55's, E63's, S63's, ML55's, ML63's, CLK55's, G55's, C55's...

AMG churns out some of the best driving experiences- personally IMO.

The 7 speed is actually a Multiplate Wet Clutch (Speedshift MCT) - no torque converters. And the paddles are very pinpoint and direct. Something like 92 milliseconds. (blinking is 150). But rivals that of BMW SMG gearbox at 80 milliseconds. (Ferrari's F1 Auto is about 16-20 milliseconds...). Supposedly the the average manual shift is 100-200 milliseconds. depending on skill...)

And while I loved the SL55's and their supercharged format the NA version of the 63 (really a 6.2L) is truly admirable. As it debuted with what now many of the 63's will feature- As now the E, SLS and C among others... Sport + mode is great- driving along in 7th gear mash the peddle and it instantaneously kickdowns to 3rd gear. Launch control- is also a fun lil bit. The performance package makes for bigger brakes and better body control- and like thing else it can benefit from a wider rear tire.

C63's are nice- but for me- I'd have a hard time not looking at that CTS V in the same sentence... coupe form please!

Cool stories, awesome photos, looked like a good time!
Yeah, it wasn't that I didn't think the AMG's weren't great cars, I just didn't think they were great enough. But they are heavy and will succumb to physics. Overall, I thought they were great and easy to drive so that anyone could get into the car and drive it no matter your experience.

As far as wet clutch vs standard planetary geared automatics, I wasn't going to compare as a side by side or that they were in the same league. One of my guides mentioned that next year they would be using an even quicker shifting multi-clutch transmission. So that should be cool.

I will admit that I probably down played my enthusiasm since the cars were great and would love to drive one again. But for the money, I think as much or more fun can be had for much less. I thought it would have been a great idea for them to have the CTS-V out there to drive since it's a serious competitor but they didn't.

This was the first event like this I had ever attended so I thought it was really interesting and will probably be the last time I ever get to drive these cars so I just wanted to share.
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