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Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet – Ready For Rally North America!

In a couple of weeks I will be taking my new 2017 C43 cabriolet on a road trip! I am participating in Rally North America which is a multi-state, scavenger hunt style rally that starts in Virginia and ends in Alabama.

My friend Ben Wayne makes excellent car videos and I thought this was a great opportunity to showcase both the C43 and Rally North America.

I am raising money for Hope for the Warriors as a part of Rally North America. This organization helps veterans reintegrate into the community. 100% of the funds raised goes to the charity. Chick here if you would like to donate!

I will be posting about the Rally on my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. You can find me as BenzBlogger on all three platforms.

Enjoy the video!

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class will be Redesigned! (Probably)

G-Class redesign

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is going to be all-new! After years of rumors and speculation, MBUSA showed an early example to dealers at a meeting recently. It is still over a year away and I have no details but it is already time to react! The photo above is a classic G55. It is a testament to the design that you can’t tell if it is a 1985, 1995 or 2015!

The redesign info important for two reasons:

1 – If you love the classic Gelandewagen you need to snap one up now! Usually in the last year before a redesign there is a short production cycle. They need to retool the factory and get ready! There will be limited vehicles and production will stop early. It looks to me like it may already be locked in through October. Don’t wait 6 months and struggle to find a color you like. I have light Ivory, designo Mystic Brown and Polar White in stock and ready to go!

2 – You should order the new one now! You don’t want to be 10th on the list if you know you are going to want a new G-Class! In my experience, G-Class owners are a loyal bunch who tend to get another G-Class every few years. Once they hear about the redesign they will get on a list! I do not know what engines we will get or how many will be sent to the US. Better safe than sorry!

Mercedes G-Class

The best info I have on the redesign right now is that it is longer, wider and less tall. It also has a significantly more luxurious interior and more space in the backseat. It will still look like G-Class but could be a little more S-Class on the inside. If that sounds like your kind of SUV then the 2019 G-Class might be calling your name! We won’t see any real pictures or specification for a few more months.

Now you know!

Rally North America – My C43 AMG is Ready!

Rally North AmericaI spent the weekend getting my new Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet Rally Ready! I am Participating in the Rally North America – Rally Appalachia 2 July 10th-14th. It is a scavenger hunt style rally with 70 teams. It starts at the Virginia International Raceway and ends at Talladega in Alabama. Along the way we have checkpoints to hit, bonus points to find and scenery to see! It should be amazing!

C43 cabriolet

My race wrap was inspired by the C63 coupe Launch Edition that I affectionately called Bumblebee because of the yellow stripe, and a Lego GT that has been all over my Instagram recently. I ordered the Lego car and it should be here today! I can’t wait to assemble it! I wanted something that looked like a factory AMG but a little over the top for the rally.

Benzblogger

I chose the number 43 to reflect the C43, obviously. I also had my eye on 722 for Sir Sterling Moss if the 43 was taken. The matte black is subtle but photographs well. The other decals are metallic silver and a gloss yellow.

Hope for the Warriors

There is a fundraising component to the rally that benefits Hope For the Warriors, an organization which provides comprehensive support programs for service members, veterans, and military families that are focused on transition, health and wellness, peer engagement, and connections to community resources.

If you are interested in contributing there is a link on the left side of the page that will take you to my team fundraising page. Every little bit helps! Also, the higher up I am in the fundraising totals, the closer to the front I start in the rally!

Atlanta Classic Cars

Atlanta Classic Cars is sponsoring my team and I think the logo looks fantastic!

Look for updates on all of my Social Media Channels – YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – Benzblogger on all. Also, if you live between VIR and Talladega let me know! I will need hints to find all of the check points and bonus points!

Countdown – 1 month until the rally!

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 Facelift!

GLA250 new bumpers

Our first 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLAs have arrived with a facelift! The changes from the 2017 model are not dramatic but they are obvious when you park them side-by-side.

The photo above features, from left to right, the 2018 GLA250 Ice edition, 2018 GLA250 non-sport, and a 2017 GLA250 from my loaner car fleet for comparison.

What’s New:

  • 8″ display screen standard, no Multimedia required
  • New Instrument Cluster design
  • Front and Rear Bumpers redesigned
  • New Wheel designs
  • Standard Rear View Camera
  • Sail Pattern trim replaces aluminum
  • Parking Assist Package Available
  • LED replaces bi-Xenon in headlamp upgrade
  • Handsfree access added to Premium 1
  • Android Auto available, in addition to Apply CarPlay
  • harmon/kardon moved to stand-alone option from Premium 1
  • New Paint: Canyon Beige (Goldish orange-y in pictures)
  • Ice Edition – 400 units – See video for details

GLA250 facelift

From the rear of the vehicle you can see that the nearest vehicle, 2018 GLA250 Ice Edition, has the AMG sportline exterior with additional bumper elements. It also has the night package with black accents on the wheels, roof rails, window trim and mirrors.

GLA led tail lights

The tail lamps on the Ice Edition are different from the other 2018 models as well but I cannot find any mention of that in the ordering guide. They are more rounded, darker and have the stardust effect like the 2017 E-Class. When a few more GLAs come in I should be able to tell if it is unique to the Ice Edition, the AMG sportline cars or some other item. If anyone knows, send me an e-mail!

I also made a video for comparison purposes. I think the white cars do a good job of showing differences. Please subscribe to my YouTube Channel if you like it!

This is the first facelift for the GLA, which was introduced in the US for 2015. It should stay like this for another three years and then will likely get a full redesign. I hope to see the first 2018 GLA45 soon!

US AMG Driving Academy at Road Atlanta!

Road Atlanta AMG GTS

The AMG Driving Academy was at Road Atlanta this week. I was able to attend the BASIC training and I am now a certified Race Car driver! Ok, that might be a stretch but I did improve my skills and get to see a lot of amazing AMG vehicles!

Mercedes AMG at the track

The day consists of training modules designed to improve your skills as well as lots seat time doing hot laps in a variety of AMG vehicles. There was a wet skid pad to improve oversteer and understeer reactions. The not-yet-released Mercedes-AMG E63 was used in an ABS stopping exercise that will really make you appreciate how well the cars stop. A small autocross course used the CLA45 for a timed lap.

C63 AMG

There was also a huge stable of AMG vehicles on display! The GT-R, GT C roadster and the GLC63 were all at the track, despite being weeks from a US release date. That was very exciting for me! It’s a track day and a car show!

GTR Hell Green

I was able to do hot laps around Road Atlanta in the GTS coupe, E63 sedan, C43 sedan, C63 coupe and the SL63. Top speed on the back stretch was just north of 120 mph, which felt fast until I rode with the professionals. I did a few taxi rides in the GTS and a very fast lap in the SLS black series and I know we were a little over 140 mph!

Driving Academy

The AMG Driving Academy Instructors are awesome! They are both very skilled and very patient with my lack of skill. They can coach you to be being a better driver while still keeping the race line and gong 120 mph!

The AMG Driving Academy still has 2017 dates remaining at Leguna Seca, Lime Rock Park and Circuit of the Americas. If you purchased an AMG vehicle in the last 12 months you are entitled to a free BASIC training session. I highly recommend you take advantage of this perk! If you are thinking about an AMG or are a motorsports enthusiast, this event is for you! It is an incredible amount of driving time in a lot of very expensive AMG vehicles.

 

FAQs:

  • What car do I drive?

All of them! In 8 hours I drove 10 different cars ranging from the 4-cylinder CLA45 up to the new 603 horsepower E63. You will rotate out of all of the vehicles for the skills sections and for track laps.

  • Can I drive my car?

No! And you don’t want to! Track conditions are hard on your brakes and tires. Use the ones that AMG provides and feel good that your car stays safe on the sidelines!

  • Is it worth it?

Uh, yeah. Even as a dealership employee I never get a chance to drive these cars the way they are meant to be driven. Experiencing the acceleration, braking, cornering and poise of the AMG vehicles can only be done on the track. The combined value of the vehicles and the instruction is a value at twice the price!

  • How do I sign up?

Website. New AMG owners provide their VIN to use the credit.

Next year, I’m thinking Advanced Class at COTA!

The Mercedes-AMG GT R in Magno Green Hell!

I was incredibly lucky to get a sneak peek at the upcoming Mercedes-AMG GT R today! It is a monster for the streets and looks perfect in Magno Green Hell. This is the second vehicle that Mercedes-AMG has developed from the ground up. You can feel the track intentions!

AMG GTR

The matte paint really shows off the long lines! The GT R has a wider body than the other GT siblings and it really shows.

Mercedes GTR

The impact of the Magno matte Green Hell paint cannot be overstated. You think you have seen green cars before but you have not. This car is GREEN!

GT R Aero

Every part of the GT R has been aerodynamically perfected. The rear wing is fixed but is manually adjustable for your preferred track settings. The front of the vehicle has active AirPanels and AirCurtains to move air for both cooling and aerodynamics.

Mercedes GTR grille

The Panamericana grille is my new favorite, displacing the silver diamond grille. The 15 vertical slats are incredibly dramatic, emphasizing the size of the air intakes.

Mercedes GTR

The GT R designers were careful to be efficient without tacking on a bunch of flips, wings and other ugly aero elements. The scoops and louvers that are included are both attractive and functional. Estimated 0-60 is 3.5 seconds and the top speed is 198 mph.

Mercedes-Benz GTR

The GT is supposed to be the daily driver. The GT S is a little bit faster. The GT C wears 50% of this body kit and the GT R is a full on track ready street car. With a base price of $157,000 I think the GT R is going to become the attainable dream car. I can’t wait to see a Green Hell GT R in the wild!

Here is a quick walk-around of the vehicle. It still can’t show you the incredible color! You must see one in person as soon as possible!

Classics & Coffee – May 20th at Atlanta Classic Cars!

1970 Mercedes 280 SE Light Ivory

If you love classic vehicles, this is the gathering for you! Join other collectors and motoring enthusiasts for this monthly event presented by the Atlanta Concours d’Elegance.

Crank up your classic automobile or motorcycle (Pre-1960 US or Pre-1970 European) and motor over to enjoy coffee, donuts and plenty of classic motoring eye candy!

Let us know what classic beauty you’ll be motoring over in.

Our May 20th event is graciously sponsored by the great team at Atlanta Classic Cars, 1705 Boggs Road, Duluth, GA 30096.

If you have questions or need more information, email lisa.robb@atlantaconcours.org

Visit the Facebook Page to check in.

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Visits Atlanta Classic Cars!

Cardinal Red E63 AMG

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S came to visit this week! This was my first look at the vehicle and it is impressive. I think it was made even more impressive by the gorgeous Cardinal Red Paint!

Mercedes-AMG E63 engine

The 4.0L V8 birturbo engine is impressive in both specs and looks! It has 603 horsepower and 627 lb/ft of torque and is rated for 0-60 in 3.3 seconds! It has the new AMG Speedshift MCT 9-speed sports transmission and the AMG performance 4matic+. The “+” in 4matic is for the new Drift Mode that makes it rear-wheel drive for more fun!

E63 4matic +This particular vehicle was equipped with the Carbon Ceramic brakes, Premium 3 Package and matte black wheels. Sharp! I was able to go for a short ride in the car and it everything you would expect. It was very quiet and controlled in comfort mode yet wild and loud in Sport+.

E63 interiorThis E63 is equipped with the standard seats, not the sport seats. It was very deeply bolstered and supportive without being too tight. I think this is the right choice if you plan to put a lot of miles on the E63.

E63 grilleThe nose on the E63 is my favorite part! I love the new vertical slats around the star and the functional intakes at the bottom are impressive.

Cardinal red 2018 E63

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 is currently in production and we are hoping for a US release date late this summer. Pricing is not yet available.

Key Highlights

  • AMG 4.0L V8 biturbo engine
  • Two twin-scroll turbochargers
  • 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque
  • 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds; governed top speed of 186 mph
  • AMG Cylinder Management cylinder deactivation system
  • AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT (Multi Clutch Technology) nine-speed sport transmission
  • AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive
  • AMG sport suspension based on AIR BODY CONTROL
  • AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs
  • Rear differential lock for optimal traction
  • Extended wheel arches for greater track width
  • New grill with chrome louvers, vertical black struts, and AMG lettering

Here is a little video I made of the E63 while waiting for my training class to start! Please do subscribe to my YouTube channel for more!

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.

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