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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.

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!

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