Geneva 2008: AMG and Ford Parties
Jean Jennings has a night on the town and visits AMG and Ford.
AMG’s NEWEST ROCKETS REVEALED
Just saw the live and in person AMG SL63, described by AMG chief Volker Mornhinweg as having "almost no changes technically except for some steering and some small suspension changes," but being completely redesigned.
There is the matter of the radical new Speedshift MCT7 manumatic transmission. Quite a discussion ensued over whether this was really an automatic tranny, since it did away with the torque converter, or whether AMG had some new classification or marketing speak to describe it. Says Mornhinweg, "We’ve taken the best of our automatic transmission, its smoothness and the ability to skip gears, and we’ve combined it with the direct contact of a manual, the direct feel between the gears and power to the wheel." He says there is no lurching or lag during shifts, that it is not necessary to shift sequentially, and that every shift is instantaneous and accompanied by immediate forward motion in direct relation to the accelerator.
The torque converter is replaced by a wet start-up clutch which runs in an oil bath. According to the press release, "the resulting direct connection to the powertrain, together with the double de-clutching and Race Start functions, guarantee an extremely emotional, supremely dynamic driving experience."
Here’s a little more from the AMG press office:
MCT stands for Multi-Clutch Technology and only employs clutch elements to perform gearshifts. Vibrations are effectively eliminated by a new, two-stage torsion damper, with resulting benefits in perceived passenger comfort.
The center console holds an array of buttons that allow the driver to select one of four shift schedules: comfort, sport (20 % faster than comfort), sport+ (which shaves another 20% off shift times), and straight manual which shifts 50% faster than the comfort mode-100 milliseconds per shift. Race Start is AMG’s launch control button. You can also choose to have ESP on, in sport mode, or off. Suspension can be set on comfort or sport. Finally, the AMG button serves as a one-position memory tool to memorize the ideal combination of all of those buttons you spent so much time screwing around with. We’ll be driving it shortly and seriously looking forward to that!
Caught the tail end of the big Ford party across town at the President Wilson hotel, where PR kingpin Ray Day was sucking down maraschino cherries (like, in the dozens, if I’m lying I am dying) in the lobby, while the last revellers (read: freeloading journalists) had abandoned the new Fiestas on the stage in favor of just plain drinking. The Fiesta is the pride of Ford of Europe, and not coming to us until 2010. That is at least TWO YEARS from today, although we’ll be driving it later this summer.
I’m sure the hitmakers in Dearborn are just sick about having to wait so long for such an obviously hot little car. Never mind how long it will take to get the Euro- Focus on our shores. Times a’wastin’ and things in Detroit ain’t getting any prettier.