This years F1 season was a show of dominance from yet again just one team, Mercedes Benz F1 code named the Silver Arrows proved to be too good for the rest of the pack as they rounded up the constructors title before the last race. Their winning formula apart from the engineering team were no doubt their two drivers who pushed the limits during many of the calendars races and hence saw them fighting for the title in Abu Dhabi, it was a close affair up and until the first lap which saw Lewis Hamilton leap frog his title contending partner Nico Rosberg and coast home to first place, securing his second drivers title.
In celebration of Mercedes Benz winning the constructors title, I was invited by Mercedes Benz Umhlanga along with other budding petrol heads for a day to experience what the engineers in Affalterbach have produced in their AMG range. The day started off at the dealership as we were greeted by some of the staff, Wayne Naidu the AMG specialist and Jarryd Smith, the marketing manager who briefed us on the days events and whats to be expected. We were given the choice of 5 AMG models to drive to our destination in the midlands with various stops to change drivers and cars.
The line up included the A45 AMG, CLA45 AMG, GLA45 AMG, ML63 AMG and the beast that is the C63 AMG 507 Edition. As luck would have it, well luck being me nagging them for the keys, I got the C63 first up. It was a rainy day and the roads were quite wet so one had to becareful with a car of that much power. The first thing that gets you is the styling, it certainly looks menacing with the lowered stance, massive rims and massive air intakes, the tone of the 4 exhaust pipes roar as you start her. It becomes vey apparent that this car means business. Whilst cruising in traffic, the car goes well with only the stiff suspension making it feel like a racer. Once the road cleared up and became dry I got a chance to throw down the hammer. It's like awakening the beast within, the exhaust cracks noise as the cars automatic 7 speed gearbox changes gear and with almost rocket like propultion you and flown back into your seat. Never have I experienced power like that and even at high speeds the car seems very responsive and assuring to the driver.
After my brief sprint with the 507 edition it was time to drive one of the smaller engine cars, now the 2.0 turbo engines that come fitting in the A Class AMG range isn't any slouch. It's probably the most powerful 2.0 engine produced at the moment pushing out 265kW making it the fastest hot hatch in production. I got into the CLA which is the sedan version of the A Class, it's killer looks just got to me as it mimics the same design philosophy as the CLS. Whilst the interior cabin does look good, the quality of the finishes in the car could be better for what you're paying. Although less powerful on paper to the C63, the car makes up for it with its 4 Matic all wheel drive system and lighter chasis, as the C63 did get in front but never managed to shake us off. I did however feel the car did get jittery around long bends at high speeds.
At the lunch time stop over, I got a chance to discuss with the other drivers what they thought of the cars, they all seemed relatively impressed by them, one that got raved reviews was the new GLA45 AMG. Recently launched, it forms part of the A Class range but bringing in a new dimension as a compact SUV. With a higher ground clearance, more spacious cabin and redesigned rear lights, the car is looker in its own right. Once behind the wheel, the differences between this and the other two are more apparent. The GLA just seems to grip the road better giving the driver more confidence, the handling is remarkable and even with the 20" rims and higher suspension, the ride is smooth.
Overall it was really a fun day out driving cars that would make any man jealous, driving those AMG's was a real eye opener to see what raw power feels like to control and sends the adrenilin levels in your body into new heights. Even 2 hours after I had left, I was still giddy with excitement from the days experience. It is certainly one I won't forget in a hurry, a big thanks to Mercedes-Benz Umhlanga for making this possible.
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