Full write up and more comments at the link below including pics. The first sentence sums it up for me...
My AMG GT-S Experience | Lexus Enthusiast Community Forums
My AMG GT-S Experience | Lexus Enthusiast Community Forums
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.