AMG Performance Tour 2012

Roar Power!

"AMG has a model for all - and they blitzed Yas Circuit"

Yas Marina circuit sees its fair share of sensational metal, but the tire-shredding machinery from AMG Mercedes with their bonkers power outputs are right up there in the echelons of exotica.

Never mind what dudes in the sheds in the UK or US can do, there are 'rice rockets' in Japan with more than 1000hp - but are they the real deal? They might have the power, usually with a four-wheel-drive, to go from Dubai's Media City to the speed of sound in 0.000001 of a second and have exhaust the size of black holes that devour small planets - but what's the driver feedback under braking and do they corner properly? And do they reward the keen and skilled driver? Equally important is the styling - does it command more than a second glance? Or are they attractive enough to be considered an example of a sculptor's skill?

This is where AMG steps up to the plate. Lewis Hamilton your correspondent ain't, but he knows what he likes.

AMG Performance Tour

Scoring seat time in plutocratic rockets at the CL63 at the Yas F1 track is unadulterated joy. Welcome to the annual AMG Performance Tour.

The levels of luxury and comfort are sheer delight but they do hold a mean little secret. These cars are ultra-quick and they seemed more so during night driving. Night driving on the F1 track makes you think you're in the big one in Abu Dhabi held later in the year. Dream on!

It's a fantastically interesting cross-section of cars all allowing for opulent travel with a side of fast-as-hell. AMG boasts a fleet of those rare cars that succeed on both our involvement index and our comfort index, and for that, they are among our favorite ways of getting around.

The recently-launched E 63 AMG, SLK 55 AMG and ML 63 AMG attracted ultra-close scrutiny. The overall line-up includedthe C 63 AMG, C 63 AMG Coupe, CLS 63 AMG, SLS AMG and ballistic SLS AMG GT3, the potent new trio of AMG models headlining an impressive act. Hot laps in the SLS with pro drivers were in high demand but a tip for young shavers is to leave it a while after you have your evening meal.

Frank Bernthaler, Mercedes-Benz regional sales and marketing director, is understandably upbeat as his outfit is celebrating its best sales results since 2008.

The German auto maker has been screwing cars together very well for 125 years and is currently driven by a mantra, 'best or nothing'.

"There's no two ways about it, what we're doing is resonating with the driving public all over the region," says Bernthaler.

"We're delighted to congratulate our regional distributors. They support our long-term goal of achieving profitable growth and higher customer satisfaction."

Bernthaler says no event showcases what AMG is about better than the mega-popular performance spectacular.

"Featuring not one, not two, but three new models for the Middle East, this year's AMG Performance Tour is one of the most immersive test drive events we have held for our loyal customers and partners in the region."

"Now in its fifth year, the 2012 inception of the tour race (is part of) the AMG strategy by putting our most valued drivers in the driving seats of these incredible precision machines, which, with a roar of the accelerator can transform comfort and luxury to heart-pounding, thrill-seeking joy in an instant."

Great cars need to be rare, charming, to touch your soul, to be all-consuming to drive and experience, like mountain climbing or a fine Chateau d'Yquem. It is something to be savoured, looked forward to; not just used for going to work or Spinneys. Err, that's unless Spinneys and the school are at the end of a long, speed limit-free stretch of German autobahn.

As soon as a car maker says there's room in the boot for golf clubs, the alarm bells ring. It's time to tune out. It means most of the bits and pieces might be there, but the car will lack passion and in many cases have had a charisma bypass.

Bernthaler and his AMG mates didn't mention golf clubs once in the entire time we were at Yas.

ML 63 AMG
AMG says the ML 63 AMG embodies both Mercedes-Benz Middle East and Levant's 2012 strategies of 'The Year of the SUV' and 'Year of the AMG'.

Driven by 525 horses and 700 Nm of torque, the ML 63 AMG 5.5 litre V8 bi-turbo engine, made famous by the award winning CLS 63 AMG, it does the 0-100 kph in under 4.8 seconds. An optional performance delivers an extra 15 hp and 70 Nm, allowing the luxury sports SUV to harness 557 hp and 760 Nm to bolt to three figures in 4.7 seconds.

SLK 55 AMG
This is a treat of a vehicle with an AMG 5.5 liter V8 engine developing a peak output of 422 hp, 540 Nm of torque, and accelerating from 0-100 kph kicks in 4.6 seconds. It has an (electronically limited) top speed of 250 kph and is the most powerful SLK of all time.

It's a delight to look at too, with distinctive AMG light-alloys, specific AMG bodystyling with AMG spoiler lip and two chrome-plated twin tailpipes at the rear making it a roadster through and through. This feisty baby boasts sensational suspension with direct-steer system, torque vectoring brakes and three-stage ESP, plus the AMG high-performance braking system.

E 63 AMG
This is as cool and quick as Usain Bolt, but packs the punch of Mike Tyson. Boasting the stocking AMG 5.5 liter V8 bi-turbo engine, the base level E 63 AMG produces 525 hp and 700Nm which can be called upon across the rev range between 1750 and 5000rpm. It is combined with the optional AMG performance package, and these figures increase to 557 hp and 800 Nm, through 2000 to 4500 rpm. Acceleration from zero to 100 kph takes 4.3 and 4.2 seconds respectively, with an (electronically limited) top speed of 250 kph.

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