Mercedes-AMG Emotion Tour: Celebrating AMGs in Ahmedabad!
Complaceny. That is your biggest enemy as an automotive journalist. A new luxury car in the garage every week, flying around the world to drive even more cars, all of that makes it is much too easy to get carried away as you work at the best job in the world. The editors who I grew up looking up to ― and consequently who are my bosses now ― always made it a point to hammer across the message of being humble to us cub journos. And then a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen ― the very G that ferried around pop star Post Malone during his concert in India earlier last month! ― rolled up at my place to give me a wakeup call ahead of the AMG Emotion Tour. Humility then, is bound to have flown out the window and caught a chartered jet. As much as I resist, it’s difficult to not get carried away...
Ahmedabad was our port of call for this edition of the AMG Emotion Tour and no sooner did we land up at Landmark Cars Ahmedabad, the AMG Performance Centre in the state’s capital, some of my colleagues were already swooning over the eclectic lineup of AMGs ― right from the A 35 to the EQS. It was turning out to be a good day at work as we bagged the all-important Instagram content, better than I’d liked to admit to my colleagues as I tried to keep an objective frame of mind. That was until I came across a deep red SL63 which got me all hot in the pants. I’ll admit that the times have moved on, the current-gen E 63 makes the same 603bhp from an engine that packs in less displacement too. But just look at the silhouette of a sports car like the SL! It oozes personality ― and I haven’t even mentioned the retractable hardtop that turns it into a two-seat roadster. And then there’s the exhaust note, but I’ll come to that in a bit.
Having finally stopped ogling at the SL, it was time to get all the pre-drive prep done. The mandatory registration and the pre-drive briefing was done away with in a jiffy ― at the AMG Emotion Tour, all the participants were eagerly looking forward to the driving bit. All the AMGs stickered up, walkies in place, and the Ed flagged off the drive. Our destination was Mehsana, just under 60 clicks away, where we had set up a unique AMG Experience Centre for the participants to unleash the full potential of the AMGs they would very soon be driving.
God’s vocal box
The participants at this year’s AMG Emotion tour included a mix of current AMG owners as well as first-time buyers who had just stepped into the AMG fold, and the glee that they had on their faces was clearly visible when we pointed them towards the Ahmedabad-Palanpur highway where they had a chance to let their AMGs roar. The roads in Gujarat are a gem, however the traffic is far from it. Consequently, that also meant we were overtaking slower-moving traffic a fair bit during our hour-long drive, which made us all very happy as it meant we could resort to flexing our right foot in the finest machines from Affalterbach. Nirbhay Sinh in his SL63 clearly didn’t have a problem with that. I remember how Sirish described an SL’s exhaust note over a decade ago when the first fleet of AMGs landed on Indian shores. “I heard God for the first time in an SL. And he was shouting very loudly,” he had written.
Today I’m a first-hand witness to what he intended to convey in his prose that baffled me as a kid in short pants and blooded me to become a motor noter. People get out of the G’s way thanks to the sheer ferocity of that silhouette in your rear view mirror, flashing its lights angrily. With the SL63, you don’t see it creeping up on your bum in the rear view ― you hear it a from a kilometre away first. That deep, growling, V8 baritone which seems to befit a muscle car from the US of A. The note penetrates the cabin of my support car, those quad pipes sound like thunder, albeit more terrifying. God could not have chosen a better car to exercise his vocal cords with, as we roared on towards Mehsana.
Sideways and smiling
Mehsana is just over an hour away from Ahmedabad and this was where we turned up the action at the AMG Experience Centre that we had set up. We had a full gamut of activities planned for the participants, and what better way to kick off the proceedings than with a drifting experience in the A45 S? We’re no strangers to engaging Drift mode and sending AMG’s pocket rocket sideways. We did that for the first time at the evo India meetup in Mumbai, where we gloriously destroyed some tyres. We took things up a notch recently at the NATRAX skid pad, where we set a National Record for the longest drift in India, with an A45 S being thrown sideways for over 10 minutes! Taking participants for a joyride over the short course we had set up would be a piece of cake for the Ed then.
A majority of the participants admitted that they had not been sideways in their AMGs, and the A45 S with variable all-wheel-drive that allows massive sideways action with the safety net of AWD was an eye-opener for them. The performance wowed them too. In fact, until recently, the A 45S also boasted the highest output for a series-production four-cylinder engine car, a mantle now taken over by Mercedes-AMG’s own C 63 S E Performance, powered by the same M139 engine that does duty in the A45. “It was a great experience,” said Vaibhavi Soni, one of the participants present at the event. “And the donut drift was cool!” she adds. Vishal Soni proceeded to tell us about his experience with the AMG brand. “I went to buy a C-Class, and then he (the salesman) turned me onto an AMG ― so I got an AMG. It has been a really nice experience,” Vishal said. The drift experience was the perfect showcase of how hard you can push an AMG. “I haven’t drifted yet ― I’ve just turned 19! But my first experience was a good one,” said Dev Shah, who drives an A35 AMG.
Living the high life
There is more to an AMG customer than just a penchant for fast cars. Even though AMGs have always promised blistering performance, what has always been a key driving point for the brand in India has to be the curated customer experiences that the brand organises for its customers, which includes drives such as the AMG Emotion Tour. AMG isn’t just selling its customers high performance cars, but rather a lifestyle, one that its customers certainly appreciate and it keeps them coming back for more.
Keeping true to that theme, the AMG Emotion Tour also featured a dedicated AMG lounge for the participants to relax and unwind at, in utmost comfort, between the various activities. The lounge even featured a PlayStation ― perfect for playing F1 on screen and sharpening their driving skills before heading out again and getting behind the wheel of their AMGs. The lounge also featured an activity called ‘batak’, a game that tests your mental and physical agility, and one that is used by Formula 1 drivers to check their reflex times. The lounge also had an air hockey table and AMG merchandise, in addition to screens where participants could view evo India’s drift record attempt with the Mercedes-AMG A45 S. Simultaneously, the action continued to unfold at Mehsana airport.
Wake up in the sky
The flight experience was present this time around as well as a part of the AMG Emotion Tour, and participants got a taste of the joys of flight with a single-engine Cessna 182 aircraft. The experience was run by Blue Ray Aviation, with each participant experiencing a 15- to 20-minute low-altitude sortie over the sights of Mehsana. This was unlike a flight in a commercial jet where one flies at a much higher cruising altitude, and the flight in the Cessnas with the pilots treating the participants to a set of thrilling in-flight manoeuvres was one that certainly got their adrenaline pumping. “It was a great experience, thanks to evo India and Mercedes for the great opportunity. I hope you guys carry on conducting these events every year,” said Shyam Pratap Singh, a participant at the event. “This was a really good experience, I think a once in a lifetime one!” added Rahul Choudhary. Not that the action on the ground was any less thrilling however.
Against the clock
Think of an AMG and the first thought that pops into your head is that of a fast car, and it would be cruel to not let the participants experience the full potential of an AMG in a no-holds barred environment. The enthusiast in us had taken cognizance of the fact and that is why we had laid out an autocross ― one that tested speed, agility, and a driver’s reflexes in a slalom behind the wheel of the E 53 AMG packing 429bhp. The participants were thrilled at the prospect of being let loose in a sleeper sedan that can do naught to 100kmph in 4.5 seconds, and the presence of AWD meant that things did not get messy or out of hand as the participants tried to set a fast time against the clock. All the participants had a blast putting the E 53 through its paces, and sang praises of its ability. “It was pretty fun to drive an AMG car on a track that was set up, so it was pretty unique. Never done that before. The traction when turning, since it is all-wheel-drive, is very good!” said Lay Majmudar, after his autocross session.
As the day drew to a close however, one couldn’t help but be in awe of all the AMGs present, lined up for a photo-op against the golden sunset. In the distance, Sirish sneaked in one last drift session in the A45 S, of which our shutterbug Rohit Mane bagged some epic shots. We were wrapping up things on the video front as well, with the lighting provided by the projector LED headlamps of the supporting AMGs. As the SL gleamed in the light of the golden hour, I realised the significance of the moment. We could’ve done this drive with a variety of performance cars, but nothing really celebrates the sense of occasion like an AMG does. Driving an AMG, it makes you feel great about yourself, about having made it in life with the whiff of a rorty exhaust in tow. Not to mention the lifestyle experience itself, complete with the camaraderie of like-minded enthusiasts. The AMG Emotion Tour is the best example of that ― where else can you flex being a member of the world’s fastest family?