Special feature: AMG Emotion Tour, Kochi
For what's said to be the weakest force in physics, gravity has some serious gravitas to it. Defined as the natural phenomenon that brings two objects towards each other, it's what keeps us tied to the ground. It's also what keeps pushing us to go further and further, to find new ways to feel it.
What is it exactly that thrill seekers seek? New experiences, new locations, the wind in their hair. It all comes down to gravity, and the different ways it works on us. For some, it's about fighting gravity, going faster, going higher, going to the edge of what physics can explain. The body understands gravity slightly better than the mind does, in fact. It's changing your state of gravity from a constant force to something you can feel (either in its presence or it's absence) that makes us want to sky dive, or scuba dive. We feel the smart ones have it figured it they use horsepower to get their fill of manipulating physics. And that's exactly what makes Mercedes-AMGs so special. It's g-forces on tap, wherever, whenever and completely at your control.
And what better place to give people this raging power against gravity than in god's own country? Now, Kochi (and Kerala) in general, is no stranger to fast cars, but there's still something extremely special about seeing all that horsepower concentrated in one place Kochi's first and only AMG Performance Centre, at Rajasree Motors. The physics lessons of the AMG lineup come in different shapes, flavours, and number of engine cylinders the V8s in the ultra evocative GT Roadster and the under-the-radar C 63 in its special S form, the V6s in the monstrous AMG GLE and GLC 43 Coupes and back to V8 power in everybody's favourite physics-revelation, the G 63. And of course, supplementary courses, in the form of the strongest four-cylinder engines ever made, in the CLA and GLA 45s.
The plan was to drive towards Kovalam, a beach town in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram, a mere 225km from Kochi. As anyone who's ever driven in Kerala will tell you, either set out early in the morning, or really late at night. We didn't, and experienced a very different sort of gravity the one where it feels like your car attracts every single car in existence. Now, getting stuck in traffic feels bad anywhere, but feels especially bad in a 3,000PS plus convoy on some of the best driving roads in the country. Whatever else you've heard about Kerala's roads being narrow and traffic infested, they're still right up there with the best in terms of flawless tarmac and corners that flow into one another. Behind the wheel of an AMG, you'd get the feeling that life couldn't get any better. One participant, a huge fan of Mercedes-AMGs, has two of his own, and still can't get enough of the addiction that is nailing the throttle and watching the revs race towards redline.
So, every time the traffic thinned out and the road opened up, lucky participants got a chance to experience g-forces like never before instant and with a healthy serving of AMG's famous soundtrack. After a point, we began to wonder if people were falling more in love with the incredible turn of acceleration that comes standard with each and every AMG model, or just the series of growls, cracks and pops that are guaranteed to have you grinning from ear to ear. Of course, with a soundtrack like that, it was no wonder whoever drove the convertible GT Roadster chose to keep the top down.
Right at the end of the journey, the convoy finally hit four-lane highway, the best part of the coastal highway under recent construction. For the convoy, it was like Christmas came early it meant a chance to experience more trademark AMG G-forces!
And at the end of the journey lay the sprawling property of the Taj Green Cove, Kovalam, our oasis for the night. It's everything right with Kerala, all in one place. Palm trees? Check. Backwaters? Check. Beach? Double check. It also gave potential customers the perfect demo of the real-world usability of each AMG-bred horsepower. Despite some tricky paths leading to the top level of the resort, even something like the low-slung GT Roadster was able to be driven up for some beauty shots. Even more surprising was how easily the Roadster dealt with the cobblestoned pavement and wildly undulating surface. Everyday performance? You bet.
However, just because the AMG Emotion Tour had reached the end of the land available didn't mean it stopped there. The next destination was the great unseen, the world underwater. Scuba diving is often compared to space flight, since you're essentially weightless when you're under water, and you see a completely different side of the Earth. The process, made simple and very quick, by the expert dive masters, basically has you acclimatise to breathing through your mouth under the water. Tougher than one would expect since the natural urge when you're under water is not to breathe at all!
But a small period of adjustment aside, diving feels like the most natural thing in the world. It's the opposite of the AMG spectrum of g-force, since you feel nothing at all leaving you free to take in the small pockets of coral around Kovalam beach, and the view of schools of fish swimming up right beside you. Unlike piloting a car, however, the controls aren't in your hands, at least not until you've ranked up several hours of dive time. Your instructor guides you around, and controls your buoyancy via the pressurised vest you're wearing, all so you can sink right down to the surface of the sea floor, or rise and float just beneath the water's surface, which itself looks like a film through which sun light filters through lazily.
Out of the water, it became apparent just how life-changing the experience can be. We had more than a few participants with words having escaped them after all they'd just experienced the very best of gravity. At its maximum behind the wheel of an AMG, with the forces pinning them to their seats, and at its very least, freeing their bodies of weight. Driving, or diving, the AMG Emotion Tour once again delivered an experience not to be soon forgotten.