*I misspoke in the video at one point. The GT R is only a coupe.
The 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster came by for training today! This car is just beautiful. The proportions are perfect, the colors are exactly what I would pick for myself and it sounds as good as it looks! Unfortunately, this one is just visiting. We are lucky to have had two AMG training sessions this month alone!
So, what is a GT C? We have looked at the GT and GT S before. You certainly can't have missed the GT R! The Beast of the Green Hell has been everywhere lately! The GT line-up now includes coupes and roadsters with various levels of power and appearance. The visual clues are easiest to see in the fenders and trim elements.
There are currently four versions of the GT available:
GT coupe and roadster - 469 hp and 465 lb/ft of torque. $112,000/$124,400
GT S coupe - adds power - 515 hp and 494 lb/ft of torque. $132,400
GT C coupe and roadster - adds power, wide body rear, rear-axle Steering - 550 hp and 502 lb/ft of torque. $145,000/$157,000
GT R coupe - adds power, wide body front, carbon fiber body work - 577 hp and 516 lb/ft of torque. $157,000
There is certainly no bad GT in the group! The deciding factors for most people would be looks or power. All four versions have hand-built one man, one engine V8s from Affalterbach. All four now feature the Panamericana grille. The roadster versions are power folding soft tops.
So, you want to drive it every day, put the top down but don't need all that power = GT roadster for you!
You like a weekend monster that the valet will park up front: GT R for you! (Magno matte green Hell of course!)
Daily driver with a kick: GT S coupe
See? It's kind of a fun game to match your GT to your situation! I am sure there will be someone who daily drives the GT R but gernally that's not how this game is played.
For my driving vacation this year I participated in Rally North America - Rally Appalachia 2. This event is a essentially a three day scavenger hunt with 70 other teams. We started in Virginia and ended in Alabama. Each morning we lined up, received a list of checkpoints and bonus point opportunities and then hit the road! It was totally up to the teams which checkpoints and activities they saw each day. The rally raised money for Hope For the Warriors which is a charity that supports veterans and their families as they transition back into civilian life. The whole rally raised nearly $150,000 this year!
There was a huge variety of vehicles participating in the rally. Team Grey market brought their gorgeous G320 and ran it on all the tracks! The GLS on the right was actually a rental car and they said it was excellent for this event! There were a lot of American Muscle cars, a few exotics and some classics like a Corvair and vintage Suburban! It was so fun to meet other vehicle enthusiasts and trade stories.
Along our route there were classic automotive must-dos like the Tail of the Dragon and the Blue Ridge Parkway. This rally is not a race. It is for points, not time, so speeding is discouraged but fun is not! My new C43 was a delight on the 318 turns of the Tail of the Dragon and the shady roads of the Blue Ridge parkway were great with the top down.
Coincidentally another team had also just picked up their new C43! Team Euro Trash arrived in this Brilliant Blue C43 sedan and we spent two days rallying together. They look good as a pair (and sound even better)!
We saw parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. Extra points for Welcome to the State signs! Fun fact, if you turn around immediately you get the Welcome to the Other State sign too!
Track time on two iconic American tracks was included with the rally. We did quite a few laps on Virginia International Raceway (behind the G-Class - check out my Instagram video) which is a curvy, twisty course. The last day we were able to do laps on the oval at Talladega Superspeedway! That banking is serious business. 130 was my top speed in the C43. I had the top town! Other participants reported hitting 150!
Overall it was wan excellent way to see the US, with other enthusiasts, while raising money for charity. A win-win-win! Thanks Rally North America!
2018 is going to be a busy year for Mercedes-Benz! We have new models, new colors, new styling, and new engines! Just this week I have seen some new things arrive!
Parking the GLC300 coupe next to the GLE43 coupe has really shown me the family resemblance! Just walking by them on the lot it is not immediately obvious which one is which. The GLC coupe has not been out for long and we are getting a lot of calls about it. This one happens to be Diamond White with the Espresso Brown interior and looks just great!
This transporter full of cars from Brunswick arrived with our first 2018 GLA45 AMG and the first Canyon Beige GLA250. Both are certainly striking in their own way! The GLA45 features the aero kit which looks awesome and a new Panamericana inspired lower fascia. Love those wheels!
This Mercedes-AMG C43 looks awesome in Cardinal Red Metallic and sounds as good as it looks! I can immediately tell it is a C43 rather than a C63 because of the grey brake calipers. As the models expand it is important that I can identify them from a quick glance! I hate to have to walk behind the car to figure it out!
This 2018 Mercedes-AMG GTS arrived today! It is the first of the GTs to arrive with the new Panamericana grille. This vertically slatted grill was inspired by an historic race car and looks incredibly modern. It will be on all of the GT models this year - GT, GTS, GTC and GTR. Most people are currently associating it with the 'Beast of the Green Hell" GTR and are surprised to see it on the other models.
Those are just the new things from this week! Stay tuned! I have a couple of special designo Edition SLs here, a GT roadster on the way and a redesigned S-Class just a few months away! So exciting!
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!
I 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!
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.
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.
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 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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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+.
This 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.
The 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.
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.
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!
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.