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Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton: I want to build a road car

Lewis HamiltonLewis Hamilton has revealed he wants to design a road car – and is already speaking to Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers in order to secure the budget and let him create one.

He has even thought of a name for it: the Mercedes-AMG GT LH.

Lewis Hamilton reveals new Mercedes-AMG GT R

Speaking at the world debut of the new Mercedes-AMG GT R, Hamilton explained that “I love cars and always go into serious detail with them. With Mercedes and the other companies I’ve worked with, they say drivers don’t normally go into detail like this – they then have to go away and find out if they can do what I want.

“When they first brought this idea to me [helping create the GT R], I had all these ideas… we couldn’t do much with this one – but for the next car…”

Hamilton revealed that he’d talked with Moers about the project. “I said to him, you have all this F1 technology and the F1 World Champion driving the car… utilise that! Let’s do something together!”

The 31-year old reigning World Champion then went further: “At some stage, I want to do my own car with them – we could call it the GT LH.

“It could be a limited edition series, which I can test, I can set up, I can have real, real hands-on design.

“It might even be the next one after this…”

Mercdes-AMG GT S

Mercedes-AMG GT R to debut at 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Mercdes-AMG GT SMercedes-AMG will launch a range-topping GT R halo car at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in June, AMG boss Tobias Moers has confirmed to us at the 2016 New York Auto Show.

The new  GT R will be “the highest-performance model we have ever done,” he added – with lap times faster than the Mercedes-Benz SLS Black Series.

‘The current GT S isn’t far off but it doesn’t beat the SLS Black. This car will.”

The range-topping GT R (trademark lawyers from Nissan will be watching very carefully the spacing of the letters and use of hyphens, we’re sure…) will have a full performance upgrade, with bespoke suspension, brakes, tyres and even more engine power.

There’s speculation it may also introduce a four-wheel steering system to the GT line: Moers says AMG engineers ‘punch above their weight’ for their ability to fully engineer custom chassis setups.

“The GT R will be an ambassador model for the brand,” he added, “although we will not take it to the level of Porsche with thigns such as limited availability (the 911 R is restricted to 911 vehicles, for example)”.

“We will also not sell cars for less than the cost of production,” he added…

The confirmation that Mercedes-AMG’s new halo car will launch at Goodwood is a major fillip for the motorsport festival, and AMG will be certain not to disappoint. Now its launch date is confirmed, watch this space for more news on the Mercedes-AMG GT R.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 43

Mercedes-AMG GLC 43: 367hp AMG SUV to debut at NYIAS 2016

Mercedes-AMG GLC 43Mercedes-Benz will close the gap between high-performance versions of the GLA and GLE SUVs with a new Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 at the 2016 New York Auto Show.

The new performance SUV is the first mid-size SUV to get the full AMG treatment, and will go on sale shortly after NYIAS 2016 in April, with deliveries beginning in June.

Using the familiar AMG-tuned 3.0-litre biturbo V6, the GLC 43 produces 367hp and 381lb-ft of torque, good for 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds and a restricted top speed of 155mph.

It emits 189g/km CO2 and averages 34.0mpg.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 43

AMG has been busy beneath the surface, tuning the ABC air suspension, honing front and rear axle kinematics and developing stiffer new front axle knuckles. There are enlarged AMG brakes and 19-inch wheels as standard (they can go up to 21-inches).

The 4MATIC all-wheel drive system is retained, but given an enthusiastic-sounding 69% rearwards bias; a nine-speed automatic controls the power and also gains a new AMG-developed double-decluching function during downshifts.

Visually, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 is a subtle machine. None of the extrovertness of the big-winged Mercedes-AMG GLA 43 here. AMG changes are focused on new front and rear aprons, meatier exhausts and a sports makeover inside.

Saying that, the high-back sports seats look rather fantastic. And, satisfyingly, this is an SUV in which you can get red seatbelts.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 43

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

Mercedes-AMG’s 2,666hp track day at Goodwood

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

Mercedes-AMG has an annual tradition for motoring journalists: take over the Goodwood Motor Circuit for the day, lay on its latest models, and stand back…

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

This year, the line-up included AMG GT S, the new C 63 AMG (in regular and S guise), CLS 63 AMG and S 63 AMG Coupe. Five cars to test: total horsepower? Just the 2,666-hp…

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

And so it was into the famous Goodwood pit lane, where the cars were tightly squeezed in waiting for us to run those terrifying first Goodwood laps where its sheer speed, and sheer lack of safety net, vividly comes back to us.

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

This was an open-session track day: no rules, no particular order in which to drive the cars. We duly started out with the one we’d come to drive – the new Mercedes-AMG C 63. In, of course, full-on 510-hp S guise.

Mercedes-AMG C 63 S at Goodwood

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

On the road, this is a £60,000 car. In Brilliant Blue metallic, it looks, um, brilliant – easily the best colour you can choose. We snorted out of the pits, warp-drove to the first daunting right-hander and wondered how we’d got there so quickly.

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

The S version of the new C 63, boasting the same 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine as the GT S coupe, accelerates from 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds. Ah, so that’s how we’d got there so quickly.

We’ve spent a lot of time in the latest BMW M3 Saloon and M4 Coupe; we expected the Merc to be a bit more urbane, a bit less sporty than them. Not a single bit of it. This is one seriously focused car indeed. And not just because of its hysterically burbling V8. Although that does help.

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

No, it’s the sheer tautly focused sportiness of the C63 that’s the real surprise, particularly if you put the adaptive suspension into full-on track mode. It’s stiff, reactive, extremely agile and brilliantly fluid and rear-biased balanced through corners.

It has a tremendous spread of drive, effective for Goodwood’s very high speed nature but also good for driving it hard out of key sections such as Lavant Corner, getting those rear tyres digging in and working hard for their money.

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

It does something else brilliantly, too – drift. The Goodwood officials frowned upon us a bit for this – Lord March is very protective of his grass – but we could still get the odd little tweak in (even without setting the ESP fully off: yes, a car that will let you drift, but still catch you if you drift over the edge. Good car!).

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

Of course, the pro drivers Mercedes-Benz had on hand know all this, and the marshalls know they’re pros. And so, during lunchtime, when one of them fancies showing off just what the car can do, well… they let him get on with it. While the boys back at base got ready with another pair of rear tyres.

Mercedes-AMG GT S at Goodwood

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

Appetite whetted by the C 63 AMG S – and after proving the regular C 63 AMG was pretty much identical, save for a little less drive out of corners such as Lavant and The Chicane – we spotted a gap in the queue for the Mercedes-AMG GT S, and jumped in.

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

The first lap was spent being wowed by the effect of the ultra-wide windscreen, massive centre console, general sculptural wonderment and sight of that long, long bonnet stretching far ahead. It’s a big car, alright.

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

Of course, it’s a riot on track, although it’s a bit more daunting than the C 63. You have to really know what you’re doing to dance on the edge with quite the same confidence – but then, the limits are that much higher as a result…

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

A few laps of enjoying what a 510-horsepower car that can accelerate from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds is like – verdict: a tough call between this and a Porsche 911 GTS as, in their different ways, they’re both very good indeed – we noticed there was some sort of big white estate car on our tail. Ah, but not just any estate car. And not the cops, either.

Mercedes-AMG CLS 63 S Shooting Brake at Goodwood

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

It was the CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake, fitted with AMG’s 5.5-litre V8 punching out a ridiculous 585hp. Despite its size, it’s barely heavier than the GT S, so still does 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds. All that power, that 5-metre length and that 550-to-1,550-litre boot capacity behind made for one of the more unique high-speed Goodwood track experiences.

Mercedes S 63 AMG Coupe at Goodwood

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

Breathlessly back at base, we realised something: we hadn’t done the S 63 AMG Coupe yet. Frankly, we weren’t so excited by this one. The S is stupendous on road, but how would the two-tonne, four-seat luxo-barge deal with Goodwood?

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

Silly us. We’d missed the line describing the Magic Body Control suspension with curve tilting function. This is ‘anti-roll for cars’ – like a bike, as you drive into a right-hander, the car’s suspension will, like a bike, push down on the other side to keep it almost perfectly flat. You can turn in at 150mph and it will still look like you’re cornering at 15mph.

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

On track, it’s pretty standout. The 585hp beast’s quick, of course, but the sensation of speed is not there because of the silence and comfort – and, when you turn in, only a feeling of understeer when you inevitably drive over the limit tells you how quickly you’re going. Probably the most effortless, easy-going high-speed track-day car ever at Goodwood – and, surprisingly more engaging than it sounds.

Mercedes-AMGs everywhere at Goodwood

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

By now, confidence was high. The trick to driving Goodwood – drive the corners way faster than you’d ever think sensible, particularly the thrilling St Mary’s section – had been discovered. The circuit was one glorious bellow of hard-worked AMG V8s.

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

We didn’t want it to end. Only inevitably-fast-depleting fuel reserves called time for some…

Eventually, the chequered flag was waved. What had we learnt? That the CLS is a surprise, the S 63 is AMG’s magic-carpet monster, the GT S is a bona fide Porsche alternative that doesn’t fall apart when you take it out on track…

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

…But the highlight has to be the wonderful C 63, particularly in S guise. The cheapest car of the day (from ‘just’ £60,000), it’s much more sporting and focused than we’d expected, and served up the most satisfying and engaging track-day experience of the day.

Mercedes-AMG at Goodwood 2015

BMW M3 or Mercedes-AMG C 63? Ladies and gentlemen, it sounds like we have a genuine fight in store…

Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe teaser

Video: 'Mercedes Stig' teases Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe

Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe teaserMercedes-AMG is getting ready to reveal the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe – and appears to have enlisted the help of its tame racing driver to tease the car.

The Stuttgart-Affalterbach Stig appears in a very short YouTube teaser for the new car, which is unnamed but quickly identified as Mercedes-AMG’s new BMW M4 Coupe chaser (or, indeed, M4 beater).

Indeed, although German Stig doesn’t give much away, they do switch to a menu on the infotainment system that reveals a disguised profile of the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe – indeed, is that a ‘C 63 AMG’ popup we can also see?

Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe teaser

The sideways-loving driver sets their seat, buckles up and then fires the car – which emits the unmistakably rorty roar of an AMG V8. With, what appears to be a 7,000rpm redline: we’re pleased to see the engine was warm before you hit it, Mercedes Stig.

Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe teaser

The video teaser is part of Mercedes-AMG’s build up to the reveal of the new C 63 AMG Coupe, which will top the forthcoming new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe range.

Expect to hear more about it in coming weeks, for a reveal later next month.

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Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe teaser

Video: ‘Mercedes Stig’ teases Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe

Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe teaserMercedes-AMG is getting ready to reveal the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe – and appears to have enlisted the help of its tame racing driver to tease the car.

The Stuttgart-Affalterbach Stig appears in a very short YouTube teaser for the new car, which is unnamed but quickly identified as Mercedes-AMG’s new BMW M4 Coupe chaser (or, indeed, M4 beater).

Indeed, although German Stig doesn’t give much away, they do switch to a menu on the infotainment system that reveals a disguised profile of the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe – indeed, is that a ‘C 63 AMG’ popup we can also see?

Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe teaser

The sideways-loving driver sets their seat, buckles up and then fires the car – which emits the unmistakably rorty roar of an AMG V8. With, what appears to be a 7,000rpm redline: we’re pleased to see the engine was warm before you hit it, Mercedes Stig.

Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe teaser

The video teaser is part of Mercedes-AMG’s build up to the reveal of the new C 63 AMG Coupe, which will top the forthcoming new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe range.

Expect to hear more about it in coming weeks, for a reveal later next month.

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Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe review: 2015 first drive

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe: 2015 first drive

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe: overview

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The GLE is the new name for the revised Mercedes-Benz ML-Class and forms part of a five-strong line-up of G-labelled SUVs. The GLE Coupe is the Mercedes equivalent of the BMW X6, making the AMG version a rival for the BMW X6M. You may not like the BMW X6, but there are enough people in the world who do.

The AMG 63 S sits at the very top of the GLE Coupe tree and – as you might expect for £96,555 and that fabled AMG badge – it packs a formidable punch. How does a twin-turbo V8 offering 585hp grab you? The AMG 63 S has the weaponry to match its tank-like exterior.

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Without wishing to state the blindingly obvious, the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe is no looker. Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder, but it’s hard to imagine anyone looking at the GLE’s sportier cousin and going weak at the knees.

Still, at least it’s imposing and – we’re trying desperately hard to be positive about the styling – if you drive the full fat AMG version, you will get noticed. And we suspect that – in the UK at least – such things will matter to the SUV coupe’s target market.

But is it really the ‘agile sports coupe’ Mercedes would like you to believe? Well not exactly.

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe: on the road

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It’s impossible to speak about the way the GLE 63 S Coupe drives without first mentioning the soundtrack. Turn the key and the oversized coupe bursts into life with an almighty rage. Fire this thing up in the morning and birds will shoot out of their nests.

The noise is unmistakably AMG-V8. Deep, angry, throaty, menacing and, at times, unpredictable. Lift off the throttle and the you’ll be greeted with a brilliant pop-pop on the overrun, something you’ll need to be aware of when travelling through sleepy villages. That said, the ‘bahn-storming’ SUV coupe will tiptoe quietly if required.

The seven-speed AMG Speedshift transmission is exceptional, offering seamless and lightning quick changes, especially in Sport mode. It’s also rather addictive using the steering wheel-mounted paddles, which add an extra layer of involvement to the driving experience. The adaptive air suspension is similarly impressive, while you’ll also be able to select between five different driving modes, with Dynamic Select offering a choice of Comfort, Slippery, Sport, Sport+ or Individual.

It behaves much like you’d expect a 2.3-tonne SUV to behave. The 585hp V8 does a perfectly good job of giving this oversized coupe a huge amount of grunt, but the bark is more impressive than the bite. It’s just too heavy to provide pinned-to-the-back-of your-seat levels of acceleration, but the delivery of power is smooth and controlled.

The GLE 63 S Coupe feels most at home on a de-restricted Autobahn, where you can make full use of the 155mph (restricted) top speed and 560lb ft of torque. When a straight inevitably gives way to a bend, the SUV Coupe doesn’t feel quite as planted as you might hope, certainly not when traveling at speeds in excess of 120mph. Unlikely to be a problem in the UK.

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But it will become a problem on a twisty B-road. Thanks to the standard-fit air suspension, the GL 63 S Coupe rides superbly, even with the bling-tastic 22-inch AMG alloy wheels, the largest ever produced by Mercedes-AMG. But when cornering, the big Merc can’t disguise its height and weight. There’s also little in the way of communication from the road, not idea in a performance-led machine, albeit an SUV. It’s just not as playful as you might expect an AMG-badged car to be.

Things improve when you select Sport+ mode, which acts like someone has gone through the entire car and tightened all the screws. The Mercedes feels sharper, more planted and more worthy of the AMG badge. The pay off is a marked drop in the ride quality, as small imperfections can send the GLE Coupe off line. For once, we’d suggest Comfort mode provides the best compromise, it’s just that it feels wrong writing that in a review of a Mercedes-AMG.

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe: on the inside

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Good news! The GLE Coupe’s cabin provides some welcome solace from the exterior styling. There few complaints when it comes to the quality of the GLE Coupe’s interior, which is the same as you’ll find in its more conservative sibling.

The supremely comfortable seats and Alcantara-shod steering wheel offer multiple levels of adjustment, so finding a good driving position won’t be too hard. There’s further good news for rear seat passengers who will find plenty of leg and headroom, although the black headlining and sloping roof do combine to make it feel a tad claustrophobic back there.

But given Mercedes has reduced the height by 65mm compared to the standard GLE, we can’t be too critical. Five adults will be available to cross continents in extreme comfort, although the middle seat is raised slightly above the outer pair.

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It’s just a shame that the function of the luggage area has suffered in the name of form. By giving the GLE Coupe the rear-end styling to mimic an S-Class, Mercedes has created a high boot lip that makes lifting heavy objects a real struggle. If you’ve got a pushchair or regularly carry bulky objects, choose the standard GLE.

On the plus side, the 60:40 split-folding rear seats do fold flat to provide 1,720 litres of usable space. Just make sure you consult your dog before buying a GLE Coupe. It won’t thank you for forcing it to pole-vault in order to jump into the boot.

Other complaints include an overly-fussy centre console and dashboard, along with Mercedes-Benz’s continued use of numerous stalks behind the steering wheel. It’s far too easy to find the steering wheel adjustment when searching for the cruise control, while using the wipers and indicators can be a bit of a lottery. Still, you’ll inevitably get used to it over time. Besides, the infotainment screen is excellent and it’s refreshing to find the controls for the climate control on a pair of traditional dials.

A word about the optional Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG sound system, which is up there with the best in-car systems we’ve experienced. Even with the volume cranked up to the max, there was no distortion through the music being streamed via the iPod.

Sure, you might expect such a system to be standard-fit on a car costing close to £100k, but given Mercedes wants you to fork out an extra £3,295 for park assist, ventilated seats and keyless entry/start – part of the Premium Package – you won’t be surprised to learn it’ll set you back £3,495. It’s well worth it.

You’ll need all the help you can get when parking this pumped-up SUV, because rearward visibility is atrocious. The view through the rear window is small in the extreme and the C-pillars make reversing a bit of a lottery.

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe: running costs

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Hey, you’re not going to buy an AMG-tuned SUV Coupe and be that concerned with running costs. Assuming you can stomach the near £100k price tag, this won’t be a cheap thing to run. On an admittedly enthusiastic 85-mile sprint, which took in some de-restricted stretches of Autobahn, we managed to consume close to half a tank of unleaded. Given the 93-litre tank will cost upwards of £100 to fill, those cross-continent blasts may turn expensive.

You could, of course, opt for the diesel-engined GLE 350d, but on a more leisurely drive across Bavaria and into Austria, we saw a return of just 28mpg. Clearly, coupes weren’t designed for hauling 2.3-tonnes of V8-powered excess across Europe’s most mountainous regions.

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And you’ll need to factor in the cost of replacing the 285/40 R22 tyres at the front, along with the huge 325/35 R22s at the rear. As for road tax, well that will set you back £1,100 in the first year and £500 for each year thereafter. Make no mistake, the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe will be an expensive mistress, but if you’re about to fork out to buy one of these new, you’ve almost certainly got the means to be able to run one. The last time we looked, Premier League footballers were quite well paid…

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe: verdict

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If look-at-me motors float your boat, you’re sure to find much to like about the GLE 63 S Coupe. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that if you’re planning on buying a GLE Coupe, you really ought to opt for the full bore AMG V8. If you find yourself looking further down the model range and pondering one of diesel-engined variants from a practicality and economy standpoint, you may be better off with the revised GLE.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s not without appeal and we totally get why Mercedes wants a slice of the BMW X6M pie. The soundtrack is brilliantly bonkers, there’s bags of grip, the interior is superbly executed and – whisper this – but it does look its best in full-fat AMG flavour.

But the same is true of the £20,000 cheaper E63 AMG wagon and we know where we’d be spending our money. Not only will it be nicer to drive, people will look at you with a knowing nod, rather than a disapproving shake of the head. Your dog will thank you for it, too.

Specification: Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe

Engine: 5.5-litre V8 petrol
Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic
Prices from: £96,555
Power: 585hp
Torque: 560lb ft
0-62mph: 4.2 seconds
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
Fuel economy: 23.7mpg
CO2 emissions: 278g/km
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Mercedes AMG C 63 2015

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