My AMG GT-S Experience

mikeavelli

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Cliffs...if you like the styling and can afford it (120-150k) and want a soulful amazing sounding V-8 2 seater that drives incredlbe with one of the best interiors around, buy this car. :)

I wanted to share my experience back in December concerning the absolutely amazing Mercedes Benz AMG GT S. This is the second AMG built from the ground up and after a day on the road (mostly mountain roads) and track I was honestly blown away by this car and I feel Mercedes Benz has a real winner on its hands. I drove the GT S mostly which had the full 503hp compared to the entry level GT which has 456hp. The car features a twin turbo 4.0 V-8 which sounds GLORIOUS at full throttle with the open exhaust engaged and comes with a fast shifting and reliable (no issues all day at the track) 7 speed dual clutch.

This event was hosted by AMG in Palm Springs, CA. The main event was held at the new Thermal Track in Palm Spring which I thought was a very well done track.

I've always held Mercedes Benz and AMG in very high regard and this experience not only solidified my thoughts but really impressed me to be an owner one day. The hospitality from staff from booking flights, hotel to the staff onsight including the expert drivers was amazing. I arrived Monday night where they had a reception for the guests at a beautiful resort and I even got to catch up with a couple of friends who were also there. The heads of AMG were in attendance and it was extremely laid back and comfortable with some cool visuals in the dinner area.

We all woke early and were taken by shuttle to Thermal. There they had all the AMG GT S cars to view and the entire AMG product range. There were even some privately owned SLS cars there (we didn't drive those) and the NEW C63 sedan (we didn't drive those either). After the driver introduction (very impressive credentials by them all) we were told we would split into two groups, the group to hit the track and the group to drive through the mountains. I was in the latter group and met a really cool guy also from Miami who was the PERFECT compliment to my driving (in other words he drove as hard as me lol).

First I got to drive the S63 AMG coupe, which of course is a rocket to drive. What was more impressive to me is the beauty of this car. To my eyes it is just about perfect. Of course it shares the S-class sedan interior which again, is just about as luxurious as anything you will sit in. Its not a great handling car (but good for its size) but who cares, its beautiful, luxurious and one of THE state symbols. There are so many adjustments (I had to put on the massaging seats lol)Honestly if I could, I would buy this car.

Next up was the CLS 63 which is now AWD. I have extensive experience with this car driving the Vossen Project CLS63 countless times. The car is one of my favorites to this day and the front leg room is one of the roomiest around. This had the new red interior with matching stitching which was cool but the new dash with the "iPad"screen doesn't flow as well and is showing some age. Of course this car is BLAZINGLY fast and with the AWD it just doesn't want to kill you like the old car did when you floor it. Which of course is safer but to me, it lost some luster. Faster and more power doesn't mean more involving.

We got extremely lucky as our turn to drive the AMG GT was right when we hit the mountains. I cannot say enough positive things about this car. No matter what mode it is in, the ride is not harsh. The sound is intoxicating and the driving position is near perfect with tons of room and I'm a big guy (6"5, 250). The car BEGS to be pushed hard and the transmission shifts extremely fast. It was just an absolute thrill in the mountains. The grin on my face had to be huge and I could have driven the car all day if I could. Only once did I feel the rear get loose going pretty fast down the mountain on an elevation change in the road but it just wanted you to do it more. This car wants to party!!!

We stopped up top the mountain for snacks and the group got to chat and take a break. On the way down we stopped at an overlook that was really cool. On the way down I then drove the S63 sedan which is no mountain car lol. Like the coupe its just one of the best places to be in the world with power and braking to match. I can only imagine an LS F!!!

The big surprise for me was the GLA 45!! I have to admit the looks and idea of it wasn't appealing but this car was a ton of fun. That boosted 4 cylinder (345hp) was a blast and when it spools its ready to rock. It handled really well and being higher up was kind of cool to see more of the road (can't believe I'm saying this lol). The interior has a lot of hard plastic and of course its missing features but honestly, it really surpassed any expectations I had.

When we returned to the track we had a great lunch and then off to drive the AMG GT S. We started off with a small autocross to warm up with plenty of room. It became quickly apparent to me with over 500hp this was not the car for this course lol. I had a lot of understeer especially in the sharp first couple of corners and I think the tires were pretty beat up at this point. After a few laps I noticed that putting it in Race mode was just too much for this course and Sport + and Sport were great. Comfort really makes the car more relaxed and not the weapon for the course. AMG gave us all the time in the world to practice with instruction from the drivers which was great.

After that we had a short break then onto the real course! I do believe it was the North and South Palm circuit for a good 3 miles of driving. AMG told us to drive the cars as hard as possible and I know I did. Again I got lucky with a partner that could also drive hard and aggressive behind or in front of me. Sadly some of the other guys were treating it like a Sprinter Van so it slowed the group up quite a few times :(.

How did it drive on the track? Utterly amazing. I'm not expert track guy but I've taken a few cars on a few different courses and this AMG GT S was something special. The view is great as the seats. The Gauges are perfect. The car really responds in Sport+ and Race mode and that exhaust not again is just incredible. The car BEGGED to be pushed harder and harder and it was an easy car to learn and dictate. I never felt lost or out of control in this car, it had a great balance to it while also wanting you to push hard in corners. I was utterly floored in driving it.

There was a very noticeable difference between the standard steel brakes and the optional Carbon Ceramics. (this was very noticeable on the mountain roads and even driving around town in the CLS 63)The Ceramics were much much much better at the track, more feel and felt better suited here. The seats were grippy and held you in place. I do wish there was slightly more room for my big head and a helmet lol.

Afterwards we were taken to another room for a technical briefing on the AMG GT S and then it was off for the night. Flipside909 actually met me there and we had our usual In & Out tradition lol.

Thank you to Mercedes Benz & AMG for their incredible generosity and hospitality and for making such an amazing vehicle in the AMG GT S. I also would like to thank my boss Jav and Mercedes Benz of Coral Gables for the opportunity to represent them.

-mike-
 

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mikeavelli

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Arriving in Palm Springs...Mercedes had Sprinter Vans has shuttles...very friendly staff

Arriving at the Resort it was known what was going on lol

Beautiful way to start the week...


Calm before the track lol


Some Travel Essentials...Also note the AMG box and items..


AMG Dinner


AMG Dinner


AMG Dinner


The first cars I see arriving :)


AMG Road & Track Briefing


AMG GT S for Days!!!


One of the organized "switch points" where the group of 2 switched sides and or cars
 
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ThePenguin

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Wow, fantastic writeup! That sounds like an absolute blast. I've only driven one AMG, a G55, but that thing was fantastic. Rock hard suspension but the supercharger whine made you forget about the ride.

How were you able to attend this event? Personally invited by Mercedes?
 

mikeavelli

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One of the organized "switch points" where the group of 2 switched sides and or cars



The new CLS 63 now with AWD standard...note the optional Carbon Ceramic brakes (highly recommended)


Updated Interior....Red Leather seats are my thing!


One of the Majestic S63 interiors..


The Surprisingly Fun GLA 45


The amazing interior of the AMG GTS ...I think its near perfect...
 
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mikeavelli

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Wow, fantastic writeup! That sounds like an absolute blast. I've only driven one AMG, a G55, but that thing was fantastic. Rock hard suspension but the supercharger whine made you forget about the ride.

How were you able to attend this event? Personally invited by Mercedes?

Hey bud, sorry still posting pics. The event reinforced my positive feeling of the brand and some. My boss at Vossen is a longtime AMG owner (CLK to SLS to Black Series), he could not attend so his dealership (Mercedes Benz of Coral Gables, great people) allowed me to attend.
 

mikeavelli

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The first stop point up the mountain. It was a fabulous piece to drive on, tight and when traffic let us pass, it was a blast...We only got one police scare lol
.

Another AMG S63


If I recall the AMG GTS has I think 8 interior options...if not more...


This bar actually isn't structural, its for looks..they have different finish options too


Back down the hill in the S63 sedan


Stopping on the way down..breathtaking cars and views


I could stare at this car all day....


Well thought out stopping points


The View
 
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mikeavelli

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When we returned it was time for the Track...but first Lunch!


One of the Pace Cars..


The Small AutoCross Course..Challenging but Fun!


The different modes for the GT S and unlike most cars you can REALLY feel the difference.....Highly impressed


First time seeing the new C63...


Interior is really awesome..love the wood..


The Track Layout
 

mikeavelli

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Yes yes yes!!!!


I could have driven in the AMG GTS all day...very flat and composed....and that sound!


Just an amazing car!


Technical Talk


Dry Sump Engine and optional active engine mounts...


Carbon Fiber Driveshaft...they had one for us to hold..it was I think 15 lbs..


Aluminum Chassis
http://postimg.org/image/5lzjai8zp/e67b3ba6/

Another color choice


7 Speed Dual Clutch


Farewell and hope to experience you again!
 

mikeavelli

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There were not flights back to Miami that night so I got to stay. Texted Ryan *Flipside909* who made the journey from LA to Palm Springs to hang out! He took me to the local In&Out and we chatted it up. He also drove me around town and took me to the local Lexus dealership where I saw my first NX! Thanks again Ryan!

That is the type of spirit this community is about!

 

phm14

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Nice. My Wife rented a new SLS for my 50th a couple of years ago. Impressive car, even though you'd be lucky to get a suitcase the trunk. I wound up buying a 2011 ISF about a year ago. Feels like ~80% of the car the SLS is, at 1/3 the cost. This last year, she surprised me again with a "Waldorf Astoria Driving Experience", where we flew to AZ to drive a new Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Huracan, and Porsche 911 turbo (458 was the best). Still, if I had a 15-20 car stable, I could maybe see a spot for a SLS in my dream garage :)
 
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mikeavelli

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Thanks guys. I've been waiting for the forums to be launched to share it :) Glad I kept notes lol.
 

flipside909

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There were not flights back to Miami that night so I got to stay. Texted Ryan *Flipside909* who made the journey from LA to Palm Springs to hang out! He took me to the local In&Out and we chatted it up. He also drove me around town and took me to the local Lexus dealership where I saw my first NX! Thanks again Ryan!

That is the type of spirit this community is about!

I wish I had more vacation time to have joined you that day. It's hard to ignore the new S63/65 AMG, E63AMG, C63AMG and of course AMG GTS!
 

Nozomi

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When I grow up, I want to be just like Mike! Fantastic write up and what an opportunity.

So here's a question. Since the AMG GT is suppose to be the 911 fighter, if you had $150k laying around, which would you pick? To make it even more complicated, what if Lexus produced a $150k LC600h or something like that?
 

mikeavelli

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When I grow up, I want to be just like Mike! Fantastic write up and what an opportunity.

So here's a question. Since the AMG GT is suppose to be the 911 fighter, if you had $150k laying around, which would you pick? To make it even more complicated, what if Lexus produced a $150k LC600h or something like that?
For 150k you can get a GT3 which is still considered one of the best at any price...so that seriously complicates things...the GT3 has always been a dream car of mine so I am biased.... Another car to think about here is the Jaguar F-Type R...it is very VERY well done to me. The GTS is more luxurious and the adjustability of the suspension was truly impressive from going to cruiser to sports car on the track. The GTS is going to be pretty rare, heck you can load up a non GT 911 to 150k!

Unfortunately I have no track experience with the current 991 so its hard to compare head to head. The GTS has me smitten so I would go with it :)

In regards to Lexus, a 150k LC600h would be incredible but I feel offer more of a GT feel to these cars. Unless you know something I don't :). I also think there is opportunity with Lexus in the 80k-150k range.....
 

Nozomi

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While I've not driven the GT S (track nor road), I was always under the assumption it was more of a GT car. The amount of creature comfort also suggests GT.

But from your description, it would seem to me it's way more than that. So forget price but you would actually put the AMG GT S in the same comparison with a 911 GT3?

I trust your butt (literally). So if you tell me, those are 2 cars that is worthy of being compared, then to me, it means AMG really did a great job in making a Jekyll / Hyde car. Hmm, I better start saving my money ...
 

mikeavelli

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While I've not driven the GT S (track nor road), I was always under the assumption it was more of a GT car. The amount of creature comfort also suggests GT.

But from your description, it would seem to me it's way more than that. So forget price but you would actually put the AMG GT S in the same comparison with a 911 GT3?

I trust your butt (literally). So if you tell me, those are 2 cars that is worthy of being compared, then to me, it means AMG really did a great job in making a Jekyll / Hyde car. Hmm, I better start saving my money ...
Honestly I did expect it to be more of a GT but was really shocked at its track abilities. This being a ground up AMG (not based on anything) helps tons here. The interior is extremely luxurious compared to more track focused cars. I believe Benz is making a GT3 version of the car, more hard edged but the current model is really good to me and perfect for most.

Again, I truly left impressed with AMG as a brand and the car here. We ordered one here at Vossen so I hope to share more soon. Ironically it is replacing a 991 Carerra Convertible... (to our conversation lol)..
 

Nozomi

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Honestly I did expect it to be more of a GT but was really shocked at its track abilities. This being a ground up AMG (not based on anything) helps tons here. The interior is extremely luxurious compared to more track focused cars. I believe Benz is making a GT3 version of the car, more hard edged but the current model is really good to me and perfect for most.

Again, I truly left impressed with AMG as a brand and the car here. We ordered one here at Vossen so I hope to share more soon. Ironically it is replacing a 991 Carerra Convertible... (to our conversation lol)..
Lucky dog! If you've never visited Affalterbach before - you need to (especially the engine testing room). Very cool to see an engine glowing orange in person.
 
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