Sprint to the Keys: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG vs. Cigarette Racing Team AMG 46' Rider XP

A. J. Mueller

Leg 1 : Grove Harbour Marina to Alabama Jack's

Bud takes it easy at first. But "easy" is relative. My own boat, with its 150-hp outboard, tops out at 40 mph. The Cigarette doesn't even climb onto plane until it's going 40 mph. At 60 mph, we're going faster than I've ever been on a boat, and we're at less than half throttle.

But if we're going to beat Lorio to our first stop, a honky-tonk biker bar called Alabama Jack's, we'll need to step up the pace. I have no idea what triple-digit speeds will feel like on a boat, but I imagine it'll be like sticking your head out the window of a mobile home in the middle of a tornado. I've heard that Cigarettes are hazardous to the survival of sunglasses, so before Bud opens 'er up, I don eyewear that won't peel off in the slipstream: a swim mask. Or, as I now call it, "speed goggles." Of course, I removed the snorkel. I don't want to look like some kind of idiot.

When Bud jams the throttles, the twin V-8s issue a noise like an F/A-18 going off the catapult of the USS Enterprise. The motors don't roar, they hiss -- it's the dominant sound track of truly enormous turbochargers inhaling through low-restriction intakes. The water behind us boils, the contrail of our wake stretching into the distance as the speedometer climbs. And climbs. And climbs. Eventually, we're hurtling toward our destination at a perfectly composed and perfectly legal 120 mph. The pocket of air in the cockpit is relatively calm, but when I peek over the windshield it feels like my face is being exfoliated by the very air molecules of the atmosphere. I notice that my teeth are dry, and it dawns on me that this is because I can't stop smiling. This is a massive quad-turbo endorphin rush the likes of which I've never experienced. I hope this isn't addictive, because this brand of addiction would make Keith Richards' lifetime expenditures on pharmaceutical debauchery look affordable.

"Of course, I removed the snorkel. I don't want to look like some kind of idiot." The accompanying picture gave me face cramps.Best automotive article I've read all year. Cheers!
Chevy motors in a Mercedes boat.That just kills the whole concept and loses my interest. Never got past page 2.

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