This thing is pure pantomime. It is a comically wide, hilariously loud chrome disco ball. It is as subtle as farting in bed after a night of curry and beer, you’re bound to notice.
Now I will be the first to admit that I don’t know a huge amount about Mercedes. To my mind they are the type of car that is driven by taxi drivers and your Dad and often beige in colour. However they do have a way of clawing back some of that reputation by popping down to Halfords and sticking some chrome letters on the back. That, and shoehorning a thumping great V8 in the front of them. Even still, I failed to see their appeal.
I even drove an E63 AMG Estate at Mercedes World in Woking, sure it was entertaining, loud and at the same time comfortable, I just never could shake off the thought of men in tweed transporting themselves to and from the golf club. To me they were rich boys toys, over styled, over weight and, dare I say it, vulgar. But what do I know? The sheer volume of them on the roads proves that I may be alone in this thinking.
However, in late 2015 Mercedes announced the AMG GT and GTs. Everything I knew about the three pointed star had been changed, and I was very happy.
The proportions of this GT cruiser are so well considered, that long bonnet, the swept back windscreen, the short cabin and curves that seem to never end. Who wouldn’t want to go mile munching in a thing that looks this pretty. Well that is exactly what the guys at Team Galag thought when they commissioned Xquisite Productions to build them a car for the Gumball 3000.
What Xquisite did was not just bolt a body kit, because you can’t really call it as such. It is more of a complete reshell. It is said that there are a further six inches added to the width of this car already very wide car taking it well past the two meter mark. They managed this without disrupting the flow of Mark Fetherston’s original vision.
Just look at how the body extends well past the rear taillights, normally the standard body would follow the contours of the lights. Not any more. In case the reshell was too subtle a rather large (read bloody huge) carbon fibre wing was added. In fact it had to be cut down so that it didn’t extend past the cars width.
Up front we have a front splitter the size of a tea tray, canards that resemble Jaw’s fins and fender vents that looks like, well, fender vents. Round back with that large wing we spoke of but also a functioning rear diffuser. If it is all still too subtle for you, you could just remove the mufflers and wrap the whole thing in chrome. Oh…ok. Well it is Gumball after all. And as such you want your car to look like a race car but would you really want to do 3000miles in a race car?
Didn’t think so. So the interior was left as stock and to be honest, it is a great place to sit, everything works save for the sports exhaust button. The reason for that is they have removed the rear mufflers so it is on all the time. Naughty. There are exhaust flaps up front which get opened when you but the car in race mode.
The seats are supple and supportive with AMG details on the back rest, the driving position is comfortable with great visibility. Heated seats, cruise control, air conditioning, satnav, RACE BUTTON, it has it all. I love the red stitching details and the Edition 1 AMG alcantara steering wheel. I’d love to jump in and chew through some miles across Europe.
Following the car through town to our shoot location was both hilarious and gob-smacking. The noises it makes in race mode are filthy. It is a dirty, filthy, brutal bark punctuated by pops and bangs. It’s like a heavily congested, snoring elephant rolling around on bubble wrap during a firework display. It was great to school kids gather and point as it set off from traffic lights, gawping motorists as went past and the cackling from myself and Phil as struggled to keep up with it. I love this thing.
The speed side of things is due to the fact that this AMG now how has a much smaller twin turbo V8 only 4.0L versus the old 6.2L n/a of 5.5L twin turbos but it makes more power, and is more driveable AND it has better fuel economy. The noise, well, as we mentioned, it doesn’t have any mufflers out back.
Now when Phil and I first saw this at the Ace Cafe which you can see in this blog here it was dark and hard to see all the little details. But getting up close and personal to it during this shoot allows you to appreciate some of the differences this TG3 (Team Galag 3) has to the GT3 variant. I for one prefer the standard front grill versus the bar version. the original cooling ducts for the brakes remain too as well as the standard headlights. I’m not going to pretend it is understated but the redesign does a nice job of sitting between the standard and the race version of this car.
With light rapidly falling away it was time to wrap up and head home. I really didn’t want to leave this silly, obnoxious, brilliant car behind. So on the way back I spent some time hanging out of the passengers window of Phil’s BMW catching some rolling shots. I’m lying really, I was just trying to get a better listen of it one last time. Now, if only I could find a spare £100k…
I want to pay a special thanks to Kay at Xquisite Productions and his team for allowing the opportunity to shoot it. I really do appreciate it, any time you have something else cool to shoot, don’t hesitate in asking us to pop down.
Words & Pictures: Dave Cox (Shooting Dave)
Additional Pictures: Phil “Paps” McCusker
4.0L Twin Turbo V8
Mid/Front Engine, Rear Wheel Drive
503bhp @ 6250 rpm
479 lb-ft Torque @ 1750 rpm
7 Speed AMG SpeedShift Dual Clutch transmission
1674kg curb weight
0-60mph – 3.8 Seconds
top speed – 193mph