Wallpaper* has been on something of an AMG kick recently, what with the C63 driven above and the SLS-AMG sampled a few weeks ago. We have also taken time out to sample recent AMG offerings on the iconic Goodwood Motor Circuit - the preferred environment for these ultra swift cars.
Take one relatively inexperienced track driver, at his disposal a 571bhp supercar, introduce an unchanged circuit since it was unveiled in1948 on the site of a WWII airfield. In its early days, the track’s fatality record made depressing reading. McLaren founder Bruce McLaren lost his life on the circuit during a testing session in 1970 and Stirling Moss spent a month in a coma in 1962 after losing control at St Mary`s corner. Armed with these sobering facts we made a tentative start in the SLS AMG under the watchful eye of Mercedes’s driving pro. With some helpful tuition and a dash of good old-fashioned concentration the circuit became less daunting and lap times started to fall. The car is so accomplished - even with a novice in control - that any slight mistakes here or there are kept in check by the clever traction control. Even while cornering at over 110mph, the 6.3 litre V8 is ever willing to pull harder and harder and, thanks to the dual-clutch semi-automatic transmission, you can be confident your needs are met with endless torque levels.
The company was good enough to lay on someone able to demonstrate the car’s true capabilities. Garry Paffett (German Touring Car (DTM) champion 2005 and occasional Mercedes Mclaren F1 test driver) made things rather more interesting. Engaging full manual transmission and disregarding the various engine and traction-management gadgetry, Paffet proceeded to slide, spin and drift us round the circuit in what can only be described as a plume of discarded Pirelli smoke. Possibly not the quickest of laps but it was a glimpse into what AMG bring to the party. The ’power war’ between supercar makers is by no means over and a host of other ultra-fasts are due to be launched over the next few years. To return to the central dilemma, will AMG be able to sate Mercedes’ most power-crazed customers with electrically propelled vehicles? The bar they’ve set themselves is high, so watch this space.