AMG Performance Tour at Kyalami – Luxury and performance - Not for the faint-hearted

By Angus Mackintosh

One thing I can say for certain about Mercedes-AMG, they know how to roll out the red carpet and throw a party.

Friday, 21st July was a bitterly cold, blustery winter’s day at Kyalami Grand Prix racetrack. Thanks to open-arm hospitality and a pleasantly warm venue, as well as hot cappuccinos on tap, the experience was most enjoyable.

With an impressive line-up of current and forthcoming models, I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel and try these bad boys out.  On centre stage was the unveiling of the highly anticipated SL 43 AMG.  In addition, they showcased the A35 AMG and A45 S AMG as well as the GLB 35 AMG in the compact car division. 

All well and good, if you know and understand the Mercedes model numbers (I’m a little rusty here).  Merc fundis will get it, though.

Going to the future, they also unveiled the Mercedes-AMG EQE 43 4MATIC and the Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 performance luxury sedans.  These cars have state-of-the-art battery technology and deliver an amazing driving experience.

Soon to be introduced locally, the all-new C63 S E and the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E. These cars combine Formula 1 technology with unmatched drivetrain design, giving the driver an amazing experience on road and track.

After a great presentation by Mercedes-AMG and some industrial theatre to show off a couple of their new cars, we were sent off to do some driving on track and skidpan.

I opted for skidpan first, to be followed by track time.

At the skidpan, we participated in a number of activities, including drifting, sprint and gymkhana. All exciting stuff and the instructors were great.

Back at the track, I made a beeline for the SL queue and was a bit nervous as the track closing time was creeping nearer and nearer.  Fortunately, they allowed one more session before closing.

Following a pace car, I revelled in the sheer luxury and superb performance of the SL 43 AMG.  Opting for paddles instead of automatic, I found the gearchange as smooth as silk.  The gutsy two litre turbocharged engine, with an output of 280 kW, throbs gloriously, especially on the down-change.  Acceleration is fantastic, with 480 Nm at around 3500 to 5000 rpm, and powering out of corners was a breeze.  Of course, roadholding was as if it were on rails.

The one and two-thirds laps were over too quickly and my only wish was to have more.

The day ended and I left Kyalami thinking, “If only I have the two and a half million bucks asking price.”

All in all, a great day and my thanks go to Mercedes-AMG for leaving me with great memories.  Until next time, AMG, au revoir.