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Mercedes-Benz in St. Lucia!

I recently took a vacation to the island of St. Lucia. While I was there I met a couple of Mercedes-Benz owners who showed me their babies. This island is hard on equipment! Keeping them running and in good condition is certainly a labor of love!

St Lucia CLK St Lucia G55 Pitons 2 St Lucia G55 Pitons St Lucia G55 St Lucia RoverThis Land Rover couldn’t even survive the jungle!

If you’re ever headed to St. Lucia please do let me know! I have recommendations!

The Mercedes-Benz Masters Experience

If you watched The Masters Tournament this weekend you might have noticed that Mercedes-Benz is a major sponsor! As a part of that sponsorship, dealerships are sometimes offered spots to send their customers to the tournament for a few days of luxury. A Mercedes-Benz Enthusiast from Massachusetts attended this year and was kind enough to share his Masters Experience with us! The following is in his words. Thank you Mike!

Mercedes

2017 Mercedes-Benz Masters Experience. Photo by Jensen Larson for MBUSA.

The text came from Michael Collins, GM of Mercedes-Benz of Portsmouth, NH. “Do you like golf?” My wife and I have done business with Mike for several years, and we have become friends. It was innocuous enough, although I thought it was still a bit cold to get out for a foursome. Imagine my surprise when I found out we would be going to the 2017 Masters Tournament as guests of Mercedes-Benz.

S550 coupe

2017 Mercedes-Benz Masters Experience. Photo by Jensen Larson for MBUSA.

Upon arrival at the Augusta Airport, it was clear that everything would be first class for our 3 days in Augusta. We were brought to the gorgeous community of River Island in a gleaming new GL 450, where all of the guests of MB would be staying in private homes. Our lodging was a gorgeous 7,500 sqft home with 4 other couples. I wasn’t sure what to expect, sharing a home with other people, but we truly had a fantastic time with one another and will be staying in touch!

Iridium Silver GLS450

2017 Mercedes-Benz Masters Experience. Photo by Jensen Larson for MBUSA.

Tuesday morning was a perfect spring Augusta day. We were brought to the Augusta National Golf Club (in a Mercedes Sprinter, of course) and there it was- the iconic Magnolia Lane. From there we were dropped off at the Firethorn Cabin, MB’s hospitality cabin at the course. There we enjoyed breakfast and lunch, sparkling private bathrooms, and the ubiquitous open bar. With flat screen TVs everywhere you looked, there was no reason to go out to the course (yeah, right!)

2017 Mercedes-Benz Masters Experience. Photo by Jensen Larson for MBUSA.

Rickie Fowler interview at the 2017 Mercedes-Benz Masters Experience. Photo by Jensen Larson for MBUSA.

We spent much of Tuesday on the gorgeous green grass of ANGC. There we saw the golfers skipping the ball on the water on 16, Amen Corner, and the Pro Shop (which was well organized chaos). Wednesday was a rainout, so much of the day was spent at Firethorn, hanging with our new friends and enjoying a cigar and drinks on the front porch. Each night had entertainment, but the final night was the cherry on top; a private concert by Lady Antebellum for the MB guests!

2017 Mercedes-Benz Masters Experience. Photo by Jensen Larson for MBUSA.

Lady Antebellum performs at the 2017 Mercedes-Benz Masters Experience. Photo by Jensen Larson for MBUSA.

There are many words to describe the experience- bucket list, once in a lifetime experience, etc. Overall we had a wonderful time with first class service and accommodations, and made many new friends. What a privilege to be able to attend. Thank you MBUSA!

2017 Mercedes-Benz Masters Experience. Photo by Jensen Larson for MBUSA.

Steven Foster, Nancy Torrielli and Author Mike Torrielli at the 2017 Mercedes-Benz Masters Experience. Photo by Jensen Larson for MBUSA.

AMG Driving Academy – The Fleet Includes This Freightliner!

AMG Driving Academy

The 2017 AMG Driving Academy is underway! The first sessions at Leguna Seca Raceway have wrapped up and they are headed to Road Atlanta in a few short weeks! When they arrive they’ll be picking up this awesome new transporter from Atlanta Classic Cars! It is currently empty but I can almost hear that GT S revving up!

This Freightliner is finished in Iridium Silver paint and is powered by a 15 liter Mercedes engine and DT12 transmission. Nice rig! It was customized by Daimler Trucks North America specifically for the AMG Driving Academy. Freightliner is a part of the Daimler Trucks family. The GT S is obviously finished in Solarbeam yellow!

If you want to see more of this hot rod and all of the other AMG vehicles you can register for the AMG Driving Academy here. If you purchased an AMG vehicle this year you may be eligible for a free seat during the BASIC Program. The AMG Purchase Reward is a great perk for new AMG owners! It is also a great gift for prospective owners. You’ve never been on a test drive this thorough!

I have attended the BASIC program at Road Atlanta twice over the years and loved every minute of it! You really can’t appreciate the AMG vehicles without pushing their limits on the track. The accelerate faster, brake harder and corner better than you have ever considered trying on the road. The driving skills they teach will also make you a better driver. Handling a car that is on the edge is a skill that takes time to develop. The AMG instructors are top notch and give excellent guidance.

Look for the AMG Driving Academy of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for excellent pictures of the vehicles and events. Their preferred hashtag is #atthetrack if you are looking for pictures from attendees.

Rally North America – I Need Your Help!

First: Watch this hilarious video by a Rally North America Team from last year!

Next: Visit my team website to donate to Hope For the Warriors and support me on my rally!

 

Donation LinkEvery dollar helps! My team goal is $2000 and I am about 25% of the way there. Thank you!

Finally: Envision my new car in a Rally Wrap!

rally north america

Do you have any great ideas for my car? I will use logos from my sponsors, Instagram or Twitter handles from individual donors. I am leaning heavily towards some racing stripes so the car is faster! I am open to your suggestions! Who out there is great with photoshop? Send me an image and I’ll try to incorporate your ideas! jcw@atlantaclassiccars.com

The event starts at the Virginia International Raceway and ends on the track at Talladega Super Speedway! There are 70 teams registered to participate in Rally Appalachia this July. It is going to be an amazing four days with other enthusiasts on some of the best roads and tracks on the east coast! I can’t wait! This is my first ever rally and I want to make it a good one. I’m obviously going to have the perfect car for this kind of thing. I would love to make a good showing on the fundraising side as well. Please consider clicking on the link above to donate online.

This event is a scavenger hunt style rally as well so I will be looking for certain checkpoints along the way. I will likely reach out via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook if I need help along the way. Do you live in this area or have knowledge of these mountains? Let me know and I’ll make sure we are connected! I’m really good with my navigation system but I have some studying to do on the area.

Stay tuned! Just 90 days from the starting line!

Georgia Taxes on Leases – HB340 TAVT Bill Passed

Standard Alternate Gerogia TagA few years ago Georgia changed how vehicles were taxed for both purchase and lease. Instead of paying a county sales tax and annual ad velorum based on vehicle value, a one-time Title Ad Velorum Tax (TAVT) was assessed. The TAVT was calculated on the sale price of the new vehicle or the “book” value of the used vehicle regardless of purchase or lease. It is currently 7%, having increased slightly over the last few years.

Recently the state legislature worked on a bill to restructure this system. There were several other components to the bill during negotiations and many of those were removed. Used car dealers were hoping to remove the book value portion of the taxation. There were also provisions related to state vs. county distribution of the taxes collected. The only portion of the bill that passed the house and senate relates to taxation on leases.

Upon signature by the Governor, effective July 1, 2017, TAVT on leased vehicles will be calculated based on the total of lease payments, rather than the full value of the vehicle.

As someone who leases a car every three years, this is great news to me! As someone who helps other people lease cars every day, this is even better news! This should lower future lease payments for the average buyer by a noticeable amount.

Currently if you buy or lease a $50,000 car you will be assessed $3500 in TAVT. If you divide that into a 36 month lease and add interest it is over $100/month in taxes. The new rules would mean that a $700/month base lease payment would be assessed $49/month in taxes.

There is some confusion about the effective date for the new taxation. I have heard both July 1, 2017 and January 1, 2018. I will look for clarification on that in the coming weeks.

Here is a link to the full text of the bill.

Day 3! Please Vote for Me and the GT C in the Auto Show Photo Contest!

It only take two clicks to cast your vote! Day 3! Thank you!

Atlanta International Auto Show 2017 – Featuring Mercedes-Benz!

The Atlanta International Auto Show is this weekend at the Georgia World Congress Center. I stopped by to see what was on display.

Mercedes-Benz brought the big guns this year! The not-yet-released GT C Roadster is absolutely perfect! It’s like they knew I would be there and brought my favorite color combo! The lines on this car are so elegant and sporty. It could not be better!

AMG GT C

The G550 4×4² is the star of any show it attends. I think this one is designo Manufaktur Paprika and it brought the crowds!

Paprika 4x4 Mercedes

The Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet is expected to be limited to 30 units for the United States! This looks very much like the S550 or S63 cabriolet but turned up to 100. The extra diamonds in the interior and the exterior trim make it extremely special.

Maybach S650 cabriolet wheels Maybach S650 cabriolet

The soon-to-be-released 2018 E400 coupe Launch Edition in Magno Matte Cashmere White was one of my favorites. It looks tremendously different from the current body style and distinct from the C-Class coupe.

2018 E400 coupeThe 2018 GLA45 AMG was showing off some yellow trim and a major roof spoiler. This is a refresh for the GLA-Class.

Mercedes GLA45 AMG

The 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 Cabriolet launch edition was present! This is the car I call S’more because of the marshmallow exterior and the chocolate and graham cracker interior. It really is a knockout!

Mercedes C63 Cabriolet Launch

The GLS63 AMG looked aggressive in white with black trim. I don’t get to see nearly enough of these at the dealership.

Mercedes GLS63 AMGThe SMART car display was getting a lot of attention. We have been selling quite a few of the plug-in electric version on our pre-owned lot. It really is fun to drive!

Mercedes Smart

The E400 Wagon has arrived! I was hoping for the AMG variant but it is always good to see the wagon on display.

Mercedes E400 wagon

Electric cars are starting to become more common for Mercedes-Benz and this S550 electric showcases the classic looks with new technology hiding inside.

Mercedes S550 electricThere were definitely some other vehicles at the auto show but only one will stick with you. For me it was the GT C Roadster! Look at that face!

GT C Roadster Special thanks to my colleague Michelle for additional photography! It is always hard to get a good image when there are crowds!

2017 Mercedes-Benz E400 Wagon Arrives at Atlanta Classic Cars!

New Mercedes WagonThe redesigned 2017 Mercedes-Benz E400 Wagon is here! This is the first one to arrive at Atlanta Classic Cars and I stalked it coming off of the transporter. I have always been a big wagon fan! I am so glad that Mercedes-Benz continues to bring them to the US, even though it is a bit of a niche vehicle! This version has a little bit of a shooting brake profile, don’t you think? Very sporty!

2018 Mercedes WagonThe vehicle has not even been unwrapped! The interior is exactly the same as the E-Sedan (except for the third-row seat). It has a great sweep across the dash and feels very spacious. This particular vehicle has the Macchiato Beige/Black Leather and Burl Walnut wood trim. Classic Wagon!

New E wagonIt just so happens that I was checking in a 2016 E350 wagon for a CPO inspection at the same time and had a chance to park them next to each other. The headlamp shape and lower bumper louvers are the most obvious difference from the front of the car. The 2018 wagon is still available in the Luxury (Elegance) trim. That version would have the stand up star and slatted grille. I have one of those on the way too!

Mercedes E wagonFrom the rear of the vehicle the tail lamp shape is an easy tell. The 2018 also slopes off quite a bit more. That’s where the shooting brake profile comes in. The third row seat is small but still there! It is the perfect size for seven to ten year olds. They need to be big  enough be out of a car seat but under five feet tall. That’s my official opinion.

Mercedes Wagons I’ll try to get these two together again later in the week for a video comparison. If there is anything in particular you want to see please send me an e-mail. jcw@atlantaclassiccars.com

Mercedes-Benz Unicorns – You Have to Order!

Benz wagon

In the world of Mercedes-Benz there are common vehicles and then there are Unicorns. These mythical beasts can be new or pre-owned, modern or classic but what they share is rarity. If you are looking for a black E350 sedan with Premium Package I can show you 20 right now. If you are looking for a E350 wagon with Lighting Package and Distronic? Unicorn! You have to plan ahead to get that kind of equipment!

E63 wagonMost wagons in the US market are a little bit of a unicorn but the ultimate is the AMG wagon! These sleepers were almost always special order and rarely make it back to dealer inventory. This 2013 E63 wagon was originally sold in California. Now it is here in Georgia proving that you have to travel far and wide to catch up to a unicorn!

CLK63 AMGThe E-Class cabriolet has not been gifted with an AMG engine in a number of years. It is a rare person that wants to go that fast with the top down! However, when you catch a glimpse of this unicorn it is mystical. This particular cabriolet looked great inside and outside! If you are going to own a unicorn you must take care of it!

G550 4x4

Some unicorns are bigger than others. When Mercedes-Benz makes a special version of the classic G-Wagen you know it is going to be snapped up! The famous 6×6 is rarely seen in the wild but always photographed. The Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet version is currently making waves in Geneva. The 4×4² just arrived in the US and is the biggest unicorn on the lot! We’ll see a very limited number in the US and probably just one year of production.

The moral of the unicorn story is that if you know what you want, you have to get it fast! Colors, options, engines, body styles and production volume are all changing all the time. If you love something, order it!

BenzBlogger at Rally North America – Support Hope for the Warriors!

rally north americaI have signed up to participate in the Rally North America tour of the Appalachians in July 2017! This is my first official rally!

Rally North America is a scavenger hunt style multi-state road rally that visits different parts of the country each year. The summer 2017 trip happens to be in my area. Rally Appalachia will take me from Christiansburg, Virginia to Rome, Georgia and visit several racetracks along the way. There are 70 teams signed up and several on the waiting list. Countdown: The start is July 10th, just four months from now!

Now, I need help! Rally North America uses this event to raise money for charity. The charity for this event is Hope for the Warriors, a Veteran Service Organization. Hope for the Warriors provides support for veterans, family members and active service members. The focus is health and wellness, community involvement and transition from military to civilian life. Here is a chart about how they use donations.

Hope for the Warriors

There are a couple of ways you can donate to both help Hope for the Warriors and to help team @BenzBlogger meet our fundraising goals!

1 – You can visit the online donation area a donate as an individual. Click here, choose your amount and you’re all set!

  • $10.00 Provides a meal to a service member at a hunting or fishing trip
  • $25.00 Covers meals for a spouse visiting a wounded service member in the hospital
  • $100.00 Provides childcare for a service member attending standing Dr. appointments
  • $500.00 Covers books/supplies for a scholarship recipient
  • $1,000.00 Travel/lodging to a brain treatment facility

2 – E-mail me at jcw@atlantaclassiccars.com to set up a sponsorship. I plan to wrap my car with my donor info! I would be happy to use your Instagram or Twitter handle or a company logo. We can work together on placement and look. The higher the donation the bigger the placement! You’ll still donate through the website like a private donation and get the receipt for tax purposes.

My team fundraising goal is $2500. Can you help me reach this goal and support a worthy charity? Would you like to see your name on my new convertible and get exposure on all of my social media channels? I hope so!

Regular updates to come. Thanks in advance!

 

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