AMG Performance Tour stops by in Calgary

Posted by: Shelton Kwan onOctober 13th, 2011

The AMG Performance Tour Road Show made a stop in Calgary this week, bringing with them 14 AMG vehicles for a lucky few to sample. AMG owners were invited by their respective dealerships and sales staff to join AMG in testing out their current line of vehicles in an enviroment they were designed for, on the race track, at Race City Motorsports Park.

Being the biggest AMG fanboy out there, and having owned 4 different AMGs in the past few years, I was given an invite to this event. Seeing as this is the final week for Race City (it’s officially closing after this weekend), what better way than to spend a few hours on the track I grew up with, hammering on some of the finest (and personal favorite) vehicles from Affalterbach.

Pulling up into the Race City parking lot, we were greeted by the AMG trucks that hauled the AMG fleet across the country. The Performance Tour runs throughout Canada and US, the AMG team responsible for this fleet arrived last night after completing their stop in Vancouver. A little further up the parking lot, 14 AMG’s were parked, waiting patiently for us to enjoy.

Canada has the largest number of AMG’s sold per capita in the entire world, so we get some pretty cool cars here, such as the E63 AMG Wagon. I’ve driven a E55 Wagon years ago, and absolutely love the stealth factor of this car. It looks like a family hauler, but can outrun 95% of cars on the road. It has the signature AMG exhaust bark, and is probably one of the most bad ass cars on the planet.

Some of the other cars in the roster includes the C63 AMG (both Coupe and Sedan, as well as the pre-facelift Sedan), the CLS63 AMG, E63 AMG (Sedan and Wagon). 14 cars in total, 7000+ hp at our disposal.

Almost forgot to mention, the AMG flagship vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. All of the attendees were itching to give this one a try!

Before we hit the track, we spent about an hour going through the history of AMG, how the cars are built (one man, one engine), some of the philosophy of the company, and of course the new Green image that’s being promoted. With the introduction of the new 5.5L Bi-Turbo V8, they were able to achieve higher power output and better fuel economy compared to the outgoing 6.2L V8.

We were treated to several AMG films during the presentation, and I could see most of the attendees starting to get the itch to hit the road. I have all these films on my iPad (AMG launched an app with all these movies), so I was much more anxious than everyone else. Overall, it was a great presentation for prospective AMG buyers, which really is the goal for these events. Once this wrapped up, we headed for the cars.

The first session was the slalom, where we were able to throw 4 or 5 different cars through a serpentine course. This gave us a chance to see how well the AMG’s handled. At the end of the course, we were able to drive flat out and perform a full on brake test into a stop box. This was basically a simple AutoX course, which is one of my specialties. I got a chance to drive all the cars through here, the SLS with it’s fat tires was by far the fastest, but the C63 Coupe was the most nimble and fun. The biggest surprise was the CLS63. It’s a huge car, and shouldn’t be nimble at all, but with the AirRide suspension set to full stiff, it felt only a little worse than the C63 Sedan. Impressive.

The next session was an emergency lane change test, which effectively was an entry into the bus stop on the back straight. Being one of my favorite corners at Race City, I hauled some serious ass at this test. The AMG Team suggested an entry speed of 65km/h, I think I cleared 110km/h in the SLS without breaking a sweat. That car has some serious high speed grip.

The final session was the most fun one, the drag race. It was more of a 0-100-0 test, since we only used 1/2 of the drag strip, but it was nicely disguised as a race. We were paired up, and we raced each other in the E63 and C63. The competitive environment was throughly enjoyed by everyone.

At the end of the event, we were asked to choose a favorite. As expected, most people choose the SLS AMG. I really enjoyed the car, it reminded me a lot of my CLK Black Series, but at twice the price, I could not pick it as my favorite. I ended up choosing the C63 Coupe, which to my surprise handled significantly better than the C63 Sedan. It is by far the best bang for the buck in the AMG lineup. The CLS63 got a few votes as well, having such a Jekyll and Hyde personality, arriving at the track in comfort, and able to rip through a roadcourse by clicking the suspension to sport 2 and transmission in manual. I never got a chance to drive the E63 AMG Wagon, that could have possibly been my pick if I had the chance.

I would like to thank AMG, Mercedes-Benz Canada, and Lone Star Mercedes for putting this event together. It was a great treat for car enthusiasts like myself to test drive these cars. Most AMG buyers never get a chance to test drive the cars that they buy, and after today, I think I have a good idea what my next AMG purchase may be!

High res pics of the event are available on the AMG Performance Tour thread on the forum.

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