AMG

The 2013 Mercedes W04

It has been an interesting offseason for Mercedes who have seen massive power shifts in both the front office and in the driver’s seat. In what was easily the biggest off track story of 2012, Lewis Hamilton announced that he would leave McLaren and head to Mercedes, to take spot of a retiring Michael Schumacher. Many are still questioning if Lewis’ decision was the right one.

In his first public appearance since joining the team, Hamilton and teammate Nico Rosberg were out to unveil Mercedes’ 2013 contender, the W04.

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It’s tough to see any difference between the W03 and it’s successor apart from a slight nose job. Like all of the other teams, the W04 is an “evolution” car and will certainly look different come race day.

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According to Mercedes, the W04 is the result of “many thousands of hours of work”.

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The W04 may have more of a burden than any other car on the starting grid in 2013. Mercedes have made big claims since acquiring Hamilton. Their 2012 season fell flat after the first few races and much of the responsibility will be on the shoulders of Ross Brawn if this car follows a similar path.

Granted no racing has been done, but I still don’t understand the move from Hamilton’s perspective, apart from having more free time due to less sponsorship constraints. There’s also the strange hiring of Niki Lauda as Mercedes’ special informant. Between Brawn, Lauda and Toto Wolff, this team has way too many captains and I think it’s only a matter of time before this ticking time bomb goes off. There have already been rumblings of a Brawn departure from the team. None of this is good news for Hamilton who left McLaren to get away from the “drama”. I expect 2013 to be a very interesting season for Mercedes and we’ll all be following them closely.

Photos courtesy of Mercedes.

Daily Driver

Apart from a few, brief stints, I’ve daily driven my Subaru since 2005. While I’ve done everything I could to keep the car looking good, driving on California roads has not been kind to it. The car hasn’t been up to my standards for years now and needs a lot of work. But until it’s retired from daily driving duties, I don’t want to invest the money to fix it.

Which car would be my ideal daily driver? It would have to be something powerful from the factory, yet comfortable and refined. It would preferably be European, since I’ve already got the Japanese thing covered. I’ve lusted over owning an M3 for years, but I’m afraid I would mod it and then I’d have a second car to place on the mantel. I just can’t help myself; I see a car, I see what can be improved. I never look at one for what it is. I guess that’s something all car guys do.

At this moment, I’d have to say the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is what I see myself in. That’s not to say it’s a better car than the M3. Even though Mercedes would tell you the C63 is their answer to BMW’s ultimate driving machine, it just isn’t. The C63 is German muscle, in it’s most eloquent form. It’s a bulldog on the streets, a terrorizer that loves to slide around and make a lot of noise doing it. The M3 on the other hand, is more refined, a precision tool at home on the track.

Naturally, the M3 is more appealing to me. I prefer it’s looks and it’s handling. But I also see it the way I see other cars, not as it is, but “better”. I see it with a VRS front lip, BBS LM’s and an Eisenmann exhaust. The C63 appeals to me because I know I’d leave it alone. I like the Mercedes in it’s factory form, so there would be less of a desire to mod it. It’s more exclusive than the M3 to boot. I see E46′s and E92′s on a daily basis, I’m lucky if a see a C63 in a month’s time.

You’re probably thinking “that’s because the M3 is the better car”. You may be right, but better how? Better in terms of a spec sheet, or better in terms of how big the smile it puts on your face? Subaru and Mitsubishi guys have been going at it for years, which is better? They’re both better for whoever happens to own either. It’s as simple as that.

The C63 is also Formula 1′s official medical car.

That’s engine sound, not a specially tuned exhaust. The V8 of the C63 is louder than the SLS AMG safety car. It also looks astonishingly good as a wagon, but I digress.

I could keep this comparison going all day long, but it’s just down to an opinion. A few things are for sure though. BMW’s are becomming more technology packed than ever (good or bad), they’ve also gotten heavier in recent years (so have all cars) and many aren’t thrilled about their conversion to forced induction. While none of these may be considerations to you, consider this; the competition has gotten a lot better over the years.

Photos courtesy of JSitthi.

DTM C-Coupe Unveiled At Frankfurt

The Frankfurt Motor Show is in full swing and Mercedes-Benz was there to unveil their new DTM AMG C-Coupe.

After a closer inspection of the body work, it’s easy to see where the Black Series inherits it’s good looks.

Mercedes GP drivers, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg where on hand to unveil the C-Coupe. Parked along side it was Michael’s #7 MGP W02, which did one hell of a race on Sunday. I hope everyone was able to catch the Italian Grand Prix, I’ll be discussing that more this week.

Photos courtesy of Daimler.

VRS X AMG

As if the looks of the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG weren’t aggressive enough already, VRS has 3  new aero options for the car.

VRS is the European styling division of Varis and they’ve already gotten their name out with original parts for a range of BMW models. At last year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, VRS debuted their C63 AMG demo car complete with an original front lip, trunk spoiler and rear diffuser skirt.

As with anything made by Varis you can expect the upmost attention to detail and near perfect fitment. The VRS front lip looks right at home on the C63 AMG, so much so it could be mistaken as OEM by some.

The rear diffuser skirt and trunk lip add a nice touch of carbon to the exterior.

Mercedes-Benz have definitely be giving their AMG division more attention lately and I’m beginning to see more and more on the road. The C63 still isn’t nearly as common as the M3, but it’s nice to see Japanese manufacturers creating new parts for the car. The VRS C63 AMG will be at Fuji Speedway along with the Sunbeam M3 for Euro Club Sport Meeting on January 22.

Photos courtesy of Varis.

Black Series

I spotted a bit of a unicorn the other day. After grabbing some lunch in Tustin, I came across one of my favorite cars.

This is the first time I’ve ever had the chance to see the Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG Black Series in person. This is a car I’ve drooled over for a very long time. I’d easily trade up an M3 for the chance to own one someday. It is in many ways a DTM car for the streets. The Black is also equipped with the same epic V8 engine, found in Mercedes’ other AMG models.

I must say, the Black Series is incredibly discrete in person. I had to do a double take to realize it wasn’t any normal CLK. Once you begin to examine the car’s features though, it becomes quite a different animal. The wheel arches are the Black’s most defining feature and are a direct homage to the car’s racing roots. Unfortunately, I was armed with only an iPhone for pictures so this is the best I could do. They don’t do the car justice, it really is a glorious machine.

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6.3L V8? Yes please! If you read my post earlier today then you’ll know I’m on a bit of a Mercedes binge. The CLK 63 Black Series is probably my favorite Mercedes, but the C63 AMG is what I would buy immediately, if I had the money. When it comes to German cars, I’m a BMW guy at heart, but you just can’t deny the looks and performance of this beast! I was browsing Flickr earlier and I came across these amazing pictures.

I prefer sedans to coupes and this car is about the same size as my WRX which is why I’d go with it over the CLK Black. Besides, you can always add the flared wheel arches yourself. Yes the M3 will handle better and yes there are far more aftermarket options for it. But if I just need something loud, fast and comfortable to drive to work, the C63 AMG could very well be the best option.

I love the car’s massive brakes and aggressive body lines. The gill slits on the front bumper are a nice touch. It looks fantastic in red too! My only gripe is that it doesn’t come with a manual transmission. This photographer does top notch work, make sure to take a look at his Flickr page.

Photos courtesy of JSitthi.

It’s Like An M5

As far as German cars go, BMW steels the spotlight just about every chance it gets. But what about Mercedes-Benz? I rarely see people modifying Mercedes-Benz’s. I know they’re out there though and when I do see one on that rare occasion, it’s something pretty impressive. The other day I saw a C63 AMG getting off the freeway. It was perfectly styled and sounded like a bat out hell. That perked my interest a bit and got me looking into more of Mercedes-Benz’s offerings.

This is the E55 AMG. If you have no idea what that means, it’s basically a BMW M5. AMG has busted out 2 versions of the E-Class. The E55 AMG has a supercharged V8 and the E63 AMG (which was on the last episode of Top Gear) is equipped with a slightly larger V8 and isn’t supercharged. The W211 above is amazingly well built. The black wheels and grill are the perfect contrast to the otherwise stark silver that Mercedes has become famous for. The Brembo 6-piston calipers add just enough flare without overdoing it. I know nothing of the performance, but I don’t need to, it’s an E55 AMG and it’s fast.

BMW dominates the market and Audi has also found a nice niche to slide into, over the last few years. You can’t forget about Mercedes-Benz though. After seeing cars like this E55 AMG and some of the other builds I’ve come across, it’s certain they have just as much potential to look great, demand presence, and make huge power as BMW’s and Audis. My friend has been wanting to pick up an E55 AMG for days, and now I understand what he’s on about.