Hang on tight — AMG's boss sets a hot pace
WANT TO SEE WHAT NEW MERC CAN DO? RIDE WITH ITS CREATOR
If you’re after the ultimate driver to take you for a hot lap in the Mercedes-AMG GT S, it has to be the sports car’s boss, Tobias Moers.
In Australia for the Melbourne F1 grand prix, AMG’s CEO Moers went to the Gold Coast’s Norwell track for the exclusive media test drives of the GT S.
The 4-litre, V8 biturbo, mid-engine car produces 375kW of power and a maximum 650Nm of torque, is paired with a seven-speed twin-clutch transmission with a top speed of 310km/h (which I reckon Moers nearly cracked), and goes from stop to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds.
It is on sale in New Zealand mid-year, priced from $275,000. The Edition 1 model is tagged at $294,900.
Stylish luxury and race-car performance ... Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers believes the company has got it right with the GT S.
The GT S was on show at the opening of Australasia’s first AMG Performance Centre at Brisbane the night before the track session.
Mercedes-Benz NZ’s general manager, Ben Giffin, told Driven at the Brisbane event that he was expecting to sell about 30 of the GT S this year. The sports coupe’s direct competitor is Porsche’s 911.
The next day the Australasian motoring media went to Norwell to drive the halo yellow coloured GT S.
After driving four laps with a driving instructor in comfort mode, I donned a helmet, moved in to Sport Plus mode — alerting the suspension, engine and transmission setup — and held on tight to the steering wheel as the coupe turned into a circuit-hugging sports machine.
The GT S’s exhaust notes were delightful as I braked around the tight, winding – and bumpy – 2km circuit.
Cornering held tight, and on the limited straights the GT S hammered through the gears in an attempt to monster the 310km/h limit.
But when I asked if I could be taken on a hot lap, Moers volunteered to show me how the GT S should be driven.
He dialled in Track mode, turned off Traction Control. “I always do. As I drive, I want to know what the car is doing,” said Moers.
He then planted his foot, blipped up the gears through the steering wheel paddles and showed the GT S who was boss — literally.
Moers has been AMG’s CEO since 2013, but has worked with the company for 15 years, overseeing every aspect of the sports performance vehicles.
He was also the brains behind the GT S, and as he drifted at eye-watering speed through corners he could have yelled “who’s your daddy?” to the car — and he would have meant it.
I tried videoing the hot laps with my iPhone but within two seconds I was too busy keeping my balance than to focus on Moers’ driving and the track’s corners coming at me at death-defying speed.
By the second lap, Moers pushed the GT S even faster around the circuit.
As I whooped my delight while we drifted in quick succession around two tight bends, he said “I’m only giving you 80 per cent [capacity] because I’m CEO of the company so I don’t want to break the car.”
“And also because you have a journalist in the car?” I asked.
Okay then, Moers takes no prisoners.
I asked him: “As you’re driving the GT S now, do you think to yourself that you could have done more with the vehicle, achieved more power or performance?”
“I feel as if I’ve got it all right with the GT S. In some cases I think we could improve [the vehicle], but with this car I think we have it right,” said Moers, slowing the car as we approached the track’s stop-start area.
And there, watching the hot laps were all the Australian motoring journalists, having left the air-conditioned comfort of the track’s lounge to see Moers at work.
Strangely, only one other journalist asked Moers for a hot (make that scorching) lap.