LA Auto Show: Meeting The Mercedes AMG GT-S For The First Time (Video)

Posted on 11.25.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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This year’s LA Auto Show was an opportunity for me to see many of cars that have previously had their worldwide debuts overseas or had their worldwide debut at this event.  One such car that I was very much looking forward to getting up close to is the new Mercedes Benz AMG GT-S which is their new flagship sports car slated to replace the SLS AMG.  Does it look as good in person as it does in pictures?  How is the interior?  Why did I cut off the top of my own head in the frame?  Find out the answers to those questions and more in the video below!  You can also check out pictures of the AMG GT-S fresh from the show floor by clicking on the thumbnails!

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Hype: Mercedes Benz Reveals Curvaceous AMG GT Coupe (Gallery)

Posted on 09.09.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT

Did you wake up this morning extremely excited?  Did you spend the first few hours glued to your computer screen?  Of course you did but probably not for the same reason I am referring to.  While you were busy watching Tim Cook reveal the new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch, Mercedes Benz was revealing their new flagship performance car, the AMG GT.  Meant as a replacement for the very lauded SLS, the AMG GT has some pretty big tires to fill.  So how does the AMG GT measure up?  Lets find out…

First thing’s first.  The AMG GT does look similar to the SLS but it is definitely evolved design-wise from its predecessor.  The AMG GT Coupe is very curvy.  The SLS has its fair share of curves as well but there are a few hard edges in its design but the GT coupe has a very sculpted, fluid look.  You would be hard pressed to find an edge or hard lines.  Its also appears to be slightly shorter than the SLS and its front grill is very reminiscent of the radical GT Vision concept MB built for Gran Turismo 6.

AMG’s new coupe will be available in two trims: The GT S and the “base” GT.  What’s the difference?  In a word: performance.  The GT S features a more powerful twin-turbo V8 engine which makes 503HP to the GT’s 456HP.  Both those numbers are down over the out going SLS however the GT will offer a whole host of other performance tweaks that may make up for the lack in horses.  For example the GT S will have a system dubbed “AMG DYNAMIC PLUS” as an option.  This system features dynamic engine and transmission mounts.  Yes, the engine and tranny mounts can move depending on the conditions to help optimize weight distribution!  It will also feature the obligatory electronically controlled dampening system to dial dampers in to specific situations (sport, road, etc).  Both trims will put their power down through seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions with locking differentials.  Ceramic brakes are also available as an option on both GT S and GT.

The interior is as cushy as you might imagine.  In the photos it does seem that they were leaning more towards “luxury” this time but there are lots of racy performance-based cues such as the flat bottom alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and the decision to forgo a full digital dash and sticking with race-inspired traditional needle gauges.  However the center console is teaming with dials and buttons to control all of the electronic goodies.  It looks to be a bit overwhelming and against the trend of simplifying interior tech interfaces the way Audi has over the last few years.  I can see it being a potential sticking point when the reviews start rolling in.

Mercedes Benz has made it clear that they are aiming at the Porsche 911 and the Audi R8 (V8) with the new GT Coupe.  I personally find that somewhat troubling.  With the mighty SLS they had no qualms going after the likes of Ferrari.  Now  they aim at Porsche (who doesn’t) and the 2nd stringer R8?  It makes me wonder if there is yet another car coming down the pipe from Germany that we may yet to know about.  Or maybe, Mercedes Benz just decided that its in their better interests to go after a bigger market of those affluent individuals who want near supercar performance in a package that is easily daily drivable.  When I think deeper about it I can’t really fault them for that.

Really it just seems like Mercedes Benz is doing everything differently when it comes to this new offering.  Take the release dates for example the GT S comes out next spring while the standard GT isn’t due until 2016.  Typically, the protocol is to release the “standard” version first then hit everyone with the high performance model but Mercedes has even flipped that on its head.  In a refreshing move the ravenous performance-addicts get their fix first!

Sure, the GT Coupe may not be as powerful as the SLS on paper but I am sure it will be lighter, more capable in the corners, and more accessible (AKA less $$$) as well.  These days things are less about max HP and more about driving experience.  With a chassis that can move the engine and transmission for optimal weight distribution on the fly, the GT Coupe may just have us asking “SLS who?”

For now, you can check out a (short) spec sheet and all the official pictures in the embedded facebook gallery below:

Spec Sheet:

AMG GT AMG GT S
MSRP TBD TBD
Fuel Economy TBD TBD
Engine 4.0L twin-turbo V8 handbuilt
AMG engine
4.0L twin-turbo V8 handbuilt
AMG engine
Drive Configuration Rear-Wheel Drive Rear-Wheel Drive
Performance 456 hp
443 lb-ft torque
503 hp
479 lb-ft torque
Transmission 7-Speed AMG Dual Clutch
with Manual Shifting Mode
7-Speed AMG Dual Clutch
with Manual Shifting Mode
0-60 (sec.) 3.9 (est.) 3.7 (est.)

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Hype: Mercedes Benz Releases “Virutal” Teaser Of AMG-GT Via Instagram

Posted on 09.05.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

Mercedes_AMG-GT_DriveClub_Teaser

In about 5 days Mercedes Benz will officially debut their new AMG-GT coupe to the planet Earth.  However, for those extra anxious to see it Mercedes just dropped a few teaser images of the car on their Instagram account.  The only catch is the images show the virtual version of the AMG-GT which will appear in #DRIVECLUB for Playstation 4.  The two images posted show a rear shot of the AMG-GT and an interior shot but since both pictures are in “twilight” it is hard to make out too many details in either shot.  But hey! It’s better than a stick in the eye!  Click the thumbnails below to check out the two pictures.

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Hype News: LA Auto Show Expecting To Host 25 Global Debuts. Lets Guess What They Are!

Posted on 08.07.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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November is one of my favorite months and for good reason.  There is just so much to look forward to on the 11th month of the year: Some of the best football games all year, Thanksgiving, the start of the holiday season, and the LA Auto Show.  The last item on that list should be particularly exciting this year as the LA Auto Show has announced that they are expecting 25 world debuts at the show this year from the likes of Acura, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, GM, Hyundai, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Scion, Toyota, Volvo, and Volkswagen.  That is a pretty long list, no?  What will all those brands debut?  Well we don’t officially know yet but if history is an indicator I am sure we will find out about most of the debuts from embargo breakers weeks before the show starts.

However, we are still quite a ways from that as well so how about we play a nice healthy game of speculation?  I am going to list off what I think (or want) each brand on that list is going to debut in LA this year. Feel free to add your own in the comments!

Acura:

Production version of the new NSX (its time Acura, its time…)

Audi:

Production ready e-Tron cars, S3, that cool new R8 with the laser headlights

BMW:

A concept for the Z4 successor, M4 convertible, a new edition to the electric “i” cars (i5, i7)

Chrysler:

We will finally get a production version of the ME Four-Twelve (wishful thinking)

General Motors:

I dunno a truck or somethin’?

Hyundai:

The official successor to the Genesis coupe

Lexus:

Production RC and RC-F coupes

Mazda:

New Mazdaspeed3, Mazdaspeed2 (because we want it), Mazdaspeed6-look they just need to “Mazdaspeed” everything and give it to us.  I want a Mazdaspeed stroller! A Mazdaspeed coffee maker!  Oh, they will also probably show off the new MX-5…and Mazdaspeed it!

Mercedes-Benz:

The new AMG GT Coupe with out that funny looking neon zebra camouflage all over it…that stuff is ugly..

Scion:

The next tC release series, production ready TRD-supercharged FR-S

Toyota:

The next Camry in its new “super beige” color, A somewhat less-concept FT-1 coupe

Volvo:

A consumer version of the semi trucks that Jean Claude Van-Damme did splits on in that crazy viral video

Volkswagen:

Baja bug!

 

 

 

 

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Hype Video: Mercedes Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo Visits Jay Leno’s Garage

Posted on 12.10.13 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

JayLeno_AMGVisionGranTurismo

If the car culture was a monarchy then Jay Leno could easily be the king.  Seriously this guy knows just about everyone there is to know and they all know him.  That’s why Jay often gets to play with cars that most people may never even see in person.  In his latest play date, Mercedes Benz brings their stunning AMG Vision Gran Turismo car to Jay’s garage.  Jay also talks a little about how Polyphony Digital (the team behind Gran Turismo 6) virtually re-created his custom RWD twin-turbo 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado as a playable car in the game.  The coolest part comes at the very end of the video though, so scroll down and watch!

SPOILER ALERT BELOW!

So did you watch?…Isn’t it crazy?! The AMG Vision Gran Turismo is one big RC car!!

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LA Auto Show 2013: Mercedes Benz Gives Center Stage To AMG Vision Gran Turismo Virtual Concept

Posted on 12.03.13 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

 

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Tablet Hype: Mercedes Benz Releases 2012 CLS App For iPad

Posted on 05.23.11 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

The cool book-like brochures that you used to pick up at the dealerships when you were car shopping are starting to go the way of the dinosaur as more and more of the populous invest in tablet devices like the iPad and XOOM.  Car companies like Audi and now Mercedes Benz are saving money and trees by producing brochure apps instead of books for their new models.  The latest app from Mercedes Benz is for the new 2012 CLS.  Within this app you can take virtual tours of the inside and outside of the car to get a closer look.  You can also customize a 2012 CLS within the app using all the available options to spec one out just the way you’d want it.  If you want to start playing around with your own virtual CLS just search the Apple App store for “Mercedes-Benz 2012 CLS”

Press Release:

MONTVALE, N.J. – Taking its digital reach to the next level, Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) has introduced the Mercedes-Benz MY ’12 CLS-Class iPad App. This application is the first of a series of MY ’12 product apps and is available now through the Apple App Store for free.  Users can find the app by searching “Mercedes-Benz 2012 CLS.”

The new CLS-Class iPad App puts a spin on traditional communications by providing a media-rich, eco-friendly channel for prospects to learn more about the CLS-Class. Although this app has been created as a tool for dealership sales associates, it can easily be obtained through the Apple App Store by consumers as well.

Through logical placement and smart navigation, the app provides a smart, user-friendly experience that includes virtual tours of the interior and exterior of the vehicle, as well as an “Explore” section that allows users to customize the CLS. The app also offers a wide selection of videos that demonstrate the groundbreaking technical innovations of Mercedes-Benz.

Additional apps for MY ’12 vehicles will launch throughout 2011 to coincide with the retail release dates.

About Mercedes-Benz USA 

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 12 model lines ranging from the sporty C-Class to the flagship S-Class sedans and the SLS AMG supercar.

MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans in the US.  More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com and www.mbsprinterusa.com.

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Hype Concept: Mercedes Benz Concept A-Class

Posted on 04.07.11 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

With the exception of the Smart Car, Mercedes Benz never really released any of their B-segment or A-segment cars here in the states. Which is a shame because they usually look pretty fresh but they have to worry about things like brand dilution and other jargon that you learn about if you’re a marketing major.  Normally it’s a necessary evil but in the case of their new Concept A-Class it is a major bane to us all because this car is shaping up to be a lil’ badass!  Besides the FRESH design the Concept A-Class sports a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, a dual clutch transmission, and a radar based collision warning system!  How’s that for a grocery list of awesome?!  While I am impressed with what the Concept A-Class would be if produced I’ll admit I also met it with a bit of cynicism since its a slim chance that this car will be produced and if it was we would probably never see it in America.  Although it will be making an appearance at the 2011 New York Auto Show so maybe not all hope is lost.  Why show a concept in America that would never be sold here if produced?  Here’s crossing my fingers that some version of this will make its way to our shores in the not-too-distant-future!

    

    

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Hype: GruppeM Carbon Fiber Ram Air Intake For Mercedes Benz C63 AMG

Posted on 03.09.11 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

GruppeM stuff is hard to come by but if you have the will and the cash its well worth it.  They usually make decent power and they just look tough!  I am loving the carbon fiber ram air intake for the new C63AMG.  It reminds me of inlets from a freakin fighter jet! FRESH indeed.

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Hype Art: “Supercars” Exhibit At The Petersen Automotive Museum

Posted on 03.07.11 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

If you’re tired of reading about supercars and want to see a few up close, I suggest you head over to the Petersen Automotive Museum in downtown Los Angeles.  Last Saturday was the opening day of their new “Supercars: When Too Much Is Almost Enough” installation.  This exhibit lets you get up close and personal with everything from a vintage Lamborghini Muira to the extremely rare Mercedes Benz CLK-GTR!  I visited the exhibit myself over the weekend and I was dumbfounded with the examples on display.  It was my first time ever seeing a Mercedes Benz CLK-GTR up close and I can honestly say I was speechless.  This exhibit should be a must on every car guys bucket list!  If you’re worried about missing out because you don’t live near by you will be happy to know that the exhibit will be open until October of this year.  So even if you don’t live in California you have more than enough time to book a plane ticket or better yet, plan a road trip to the City Of Angels to see all the supercar goodness up close.  There are a few shots below and more in our facebook gallery to pique your interest but trust me when I say that pictures don’t do any of these cars justice.  You need to get out here and see it all  for yourself !

    

 

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