Sunday, June 19, 2016

Forza Motorsport 6: AMG GT meets the halo cars

The Mercedes-AMG GT is one of the most dramatic sports cars the high-performance division has ever made and with all that motorsport knowhow derived from its F1 team after one consecutive win after another in two Formula One seasons, it seems that Mercedes really made a well-balanced sportscar that ticks all the right boxes, apart from some people who believed that the AMG GT is not worthy of being a bonafide halo car Mercedes made.

As a matter of fact, let's look back at some of the best halo cars Mercedes ever made while driving round the GP Circuit part of the Nurburgring because stuff I do on track takes less than five minutes while stuff I do in the Nurburgring Nordschleife took about either seven, eight, nine, maybe ten, perhaps, unless some actions need to be taken to capture such moments.

Let's start with the Mercedes CLK-GTR, basically a road-legal version of the CLK-GTR whose original track version became a threat in the ill-forgotten FIA GT1 and Le Mans races. The original version has a 6.0L V12 engine but the road-legal version has its engine size increased to 6.9L but produces less power than the race version while mated with a 6-speed gearbox. 0-100kph takes about 3.8 seconds and onwards to 344kph, which is way fast even at modern standards.

Although it looks exactly like a CLK-Class, the GTR shares no common traits from the normal CLK. Turning in one of these at a certain mall's parking space and a certain CLK owner might believed that that the CLK-GTR parked next to it would be extremely jealous why it looks rakishly awesome than his. Anyway, because it draws inspiration from the race version it was based on, the CLK-GTR really feels at home on the track, although drivers may need some decent driving skills to master such a monstrous machine which is as monstrous as the monster from Frankenstein. As time passes by, the CLK-GTR remains one of the best timeless supercars Europe has ever made and so far, no other Benz does it better than this.

The SLR is the result of the Anglo-German collaboration between the two companies; Mercedes-Benz and McLaren. Despite being a Benz, it was made by McLaren. The 5.4 V8 that powers it was built by Mercedes,producing 626HP of power and 208mph of top speed, while its dynamics was the work of McLaren themselves, trying to employ its knowhow from the McLaren F1 team.

Driving a car with Anglo-German ties sounds fabulous but it can be resulted to a heated debate and as I drive this car, I can really feel the so-called tensions between UK and Germany. For Germans, the SLR should have been made to be a grand tourer while for the Brits, it should be a decent track weapon. Whatever that is, handling this car is like rehearing the topic about what would Brits do on its role to Europe, whatever that is.

The SLS AMG, meanwhile, combines tradition with performance in one memorable package. Although the design was heavily inspired from the 300SL, apart from its signature gullwing doors that makes this car look flashy for no reason, it comes with a 6.2L V8 engine that produces 571 PS (420 kW; 563 hp) of power and 650 N·m (480 lb·ft) of torque. With so much torque, the SLS AMG behaves like an American muscle car with all that brute noise from its exhaust as well as its dynamic character that novices will find it very tricky to get through corners. With tire-shredding is what the SLS do best, some cynics would think that the SLS is considered to be an exotic but this is not an exotic car compared to Lamborghinis and Ferraris. This is just a grand tourer just wants to let it roar on the road and track and cannibalizing its own tires seriously.

Now, I'm heading back to the AMG GT and although it doesn't have the surprising traits of the past halo cars Mercedes made such as the road-legal CLK-GTR, the SLR (in collaboration with McLaren), and the SLS AMG but by the way it performs, the AMG GT is simply one of the best ways how Mercedes-AMG defined the sportscar in its own terms.

Sure, the 4.0L V8 BiTurbo is less powerful than the old SLS AMG's V8 but with all the right dynamics heavily inspired from Mercedes' F1 team knowhow since their two-time win, it shouldn't be much of a problem to learn about how the AMG GT behaves. Believe it or not, I even manage to lap this car round the Nurburgring GP Circuit faster than the old SLS AMG...but only just.

In conclusion, the AMG GT is just one of the main reasons why Mercedes made a potent sportscar that does its job very seriously while retaining its AMG lunacy it deserves. In short, it's still a great car even it doesn't have the mojo that past Mercedes halo cars made.

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