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Mercedes-Benz AMG GT and C63 2015 review


Australia's motoring mecca plays host to a mob of marauding V8s.

It's said you can have too much of a good thing but when it comes to Mercedes-Benz performance cars, you can never get enough.

Catering to the hedonistic tendencies of a number of well-heeled Aussie "prospects", Mercedes-Benz has reinstated its Festival of AMG (the brand's performance arm) at Bathurst where sundry punters and a few car journos were invited to test drive not one or two Mercedes-Benz AMGs but about 80 of them, with a collective value of about $13.5 million.

Benz used the event back in 2008 to promote AMG cars and sold quite a few in the weeks after. This time around they're a lot more serious, spending seven figures on the event.

If that sounds like an extravagant number, consider the fact AMG sells more high-performance V8s than any other luxury brand in Australia.

The Festival offered up the whole AMG range, including the stunning new AMG GT coupe, the new C63 and the four-cylinder CLA 45 AMG — a 265kW all-wheel-drive hatch that provided an interesting contrast to the rear-drive big bangers.

Benz hired Mt Panorama for a week to run groups through one-day drive experiences. They also employed perhaps all the available race driving instructors in the country to school the punters in the intricacies of piloting a 400+kW car around the 6.5km of Australia's Nurburgring.

Every car had something special to offer and all were super fast

After rocking up in the morning and signing their life away, assembled participants are briefed on how the day will pan out — practice in the morning and hot laps in the afternoon rotating through all the cars available — with a steel-nerved instructor in the passenger seat riding shotgun.

Personally, I wouldn't do that job for quids, judging by the skill level of some punters present on the day.

Every car had something special to offer and all were super fast over the entire length of "the Mountain", with the ceramic brake equipped cars the pick of the crop due to superior stopping power. When you are blasting down Conrod Straight at 250km/h plus heading into The Chase you need all the brakes you can muster.

All of the AMG cars are easy to drive fast and have predictable behaviour to go with their fine dynamics. They make mugs look good.

Pick of the crop was the new AMG GT, with its superlative steering and braking and more power than a mere mortal could ever want.

Looks fairly awesome in the metal too, apart from the overtly Porsche tail-end styling.

But AMG sales are underscored by the super popular C63 AMG, a small, tough sedan crammed with luxury and safety technology.

And now, more power. The new generation C63 sedan comes with a more powerful V8 engine. It may be smaller — with a "mere" 4.0-litre capacity compared with 6.2 litres for the previous model — but the twin turbos breathe fire into its gizzards, liberating more power and torque (375kW and 700Nm).

That's a lot more mumbo than the earlier C63 and it now manages a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 4 seconds. Better still is the fact that it sounds just as good despite the obstructing turbos in its exhaust. AMG reputedly spent months researching the right exhaust note for this car and what they achieved will definitely please the mechanically attuned ear.

Verdict

We would be ecstatic to have any one of these cars in the garage. They have huge street cred and deliver a driving experience that's hard to beat.

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