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Mercedes-Benz has been quite busy in recent years pumping out an assortment of new and updated products, but more impressively was how quickly the Tri-Star brand’s in-house tuner, AMG, went to work on each new model to improve how each car looks, handles and impresses. While there is no shortage of AMG-branded models sitting at Mercedes-Benz dealerships, we had the chance to drive what are undoubtedly three of AMG’s coolest models at the 17th-annual Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance. With a combined value (based on starting MSRP) of $357,725 and a combined power output exceeding 1,500 horsepower, we pounded some North Florida pavement with the new-for-2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster, E63 AMG Wagon and SLK55 AMG.
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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG
One of the newest additions to the AMG line-up is the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG, and this sporty little roadster has replaced the base SLK’s four-cylinder and V-6 engines with a fire-breathing 415-horsepower V-8. Weighing in at just 3,549 pounds, the SLK55 AMG has a great power-to-weight ratio and is easily the most exhilarating of these three AMG cars when it comes to its driving dynamic. For most of this drive, we kept the car in the AMG S+ mode and used the paddle shifters to get the car through its seven gears, which all help this car sprint from zero to 60 miles per hour in a Mercedes-claimed 4.5 seconds. While the exhaust note does not match the raucous burbles from both the SLS and E63, there SLK55 is no less imposing when closing in on rearview mirrors especially in this bright Mars Red exterior color. Of the three AMG cars we tested at Amelia Island, the SLK55 AMG was by far the most affordable with its $68,375 starting price.
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2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster
If there’s any fault to be in found in the hardtop, Gullwing version of the SLS AMG, it has to be the fact that it’s almost impossible to be seen in this car with its small side windows, so Mercedes chopped the top off its top-end supercar to make its drivers easily noticed. In doing so, the car still managed to keep its unique and stylish look including the almost cartoonishly long hood and the sloped rear decklid. Of course, beneath that long hood sits the 6.3-liter V-8 pumping out 563 horsepower to help this 3,661-pound Roadster hit 60 mph from a dead start in just 3.7 seconds to go with a top speed of 197 mph. This $196,975 high-performance roadster has the visual appeal to stand out when compared to most other cars in this price range, but our test vehicle’s Mystic White paint job was perfectly set off by the black wheels and red brake calipers. On the road, it’s easy to forget how long the SLS is, but step heady on the accelerator pedal and this work of art sounds just as good as it looks.
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2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon
The SLS is by far one of the most alluring sports cars on the road right now, but the 2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon is by far the most sinister. This tester came with an equally sinister Sterling Gray Metallic paint job with bright red brake calipers peering out from the five split spoke wheels. The 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is offered in Coupe, Cabriolet, Sedan and Wagon form, but the E63 is only available as a Sedan or Wagon, but if you really want to make an impression at soccer practice, the Fresh Market or local drag strip test and tunes, then the E63 Wagon is the way to go. With up to 550 horsepower available from the 5.5-liter V-8, the E63 AMG can haul as much as 57.4 cubic feet of cargo from zero to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds, and it will set performance station wagon enthusiasts back a cool $92,375 to put one in their driveway.
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