Major events like the LA Auto Show are prime opportunities for OEM’s to show off what is coming next from their factories and to get a jump start on marketing those products and perhaps make some early sales. So its a big deal when one of the biggest luxury brands devotes prime booth real estate to a car that can only be driven virtually! If you do not know what I am talking about then first let me welcome you to the internet because this is likely your first time here and then allow me to explain.
Back when Polyphony Digital started work on Gran Turismo 6 they invited some major OEM companies to basically create virtual “dream cars” for the game. Cars that they would love to build and sell but can’t because of regulations, cost, or the laws of physics. Well Mercedes Benz was among the first to get their submission in but they took it one step further by building a life-sized rolling representation! Dubbed the AMG Vision Gran Turismo it is essentially everything that Mercedes Benz wishes they could build now. Seriously, this thing looks like it would be more at home in an F-ZERO game than Gran Turismo and I mean that in the best way possible. I think it is absolutely beautiful and it was easily the biggest draw in the Mercedes Benz exhibit. And as I mentioned earlier the best part about the AMG Vision Gran Turismo is that we all get to drive it as soon as Gran Turismo 6 is released for Playstation 3.
When I was done drooling over the AMG Vision Gran Turismo concept I strolled around the booth to see what else Mercedes had to offer this year and there was plenty. Mercedes was celebrating the release of a brand new S class and brought several trims of their new luxury sedan to Los Angeles to show off but my favorite was easily the AMG S63. While other cars in this segment (including other S class trims) continue to experiment with hybrid drivetrains the S63 remains a snorting beast with a massive twin-turbo V8 engine that makes 577hp and a whopping 664 lb-ft of torque! They also shaved 220lbs off the weight of the previous model by doing things like making the spare tire cavity in the trunk out of carbon fiber! Wrap all of that with a super luxurious interior and you have a sedan that I will totally covet. My only gripe is that I wish it got more of an exterior re-design rather than more of a “re-fresh”. Not that it doesn’t look good but I would like to see a whole new take on the S-class’ sheet metal.
Another headliner in the Mercedes exhibit is also something of a sad affair. Mercedes is officially saying goodbye to the SLS AMG with the “Final Edition” which marks the end of the SLS’ four year run as one of the most desired supercars in existence. However, Mercedes is sending the SLS AMG out on a very high note with a collection of details that will really make the Final Edition stand out as a collectors item. First it starts off as a “GT” model (think sportier suspension and better brakes), then they go paint-less on the carbon fiber hood and aero package, the parts that are painted get coated with “design magno graphite matte” paint which was previously only found on the SLS AMG GT3 collector’s model race car, finally the Final Edition gets a full “designo” leather and alcantara interior. It is definitely a fitting way to say goodbye. The good news is that Mercedes is already working on the successor to the SLS which will be a totally new supercar. If the SLS is any indication, the next supercar from AMG will be one heck of a machine!
The fourth and final headliner at the Mercedes booth was the Concept GLA45 AMG. As you may guess it is an exercise in “what if” for AMG and possible future plans for the new “crossover-esque” GLA. As you might have guessed, the GLA45 AMG has the same 355hp 2.0 liter turbocharged engine as the CLA45 AMG but bolted on to a “4MATIC all-wheel-drive system rather than the front wheel drive set up found in the CLA. The AMG engineers also added Mercedes Benz’ “SPEEDSHIFT DCT” 7-speed transmission. From there the Concept GLA45 gets a host of exterior styling mods like custom forged wheels and a one-off motorsport inspired livery. Looking at it makes me wonder what could be if a car such as this became a part of the Global Rally Cross series. How cool would that be?!
As usual the Mercedes booth did not disappoint. Its sad to see the SLS AMG go but it was really cool of them to release a Final Edition, as well as build a 1:1 scale model of their AMG Vision Gran Turismo concept, and give potential GLA buyers something to chew on. For more pictures from the booth just click on any of the thumbnails!