AMG has grown from performance and cosmetic upgrades to existing Mercedes-Benz models to an actual division with its own unique product portfolio and as usual, performance models of existing Mercedes-Benz vehicles. With AMG you get handcrafted engines and different body panels and interior materials and the results of recent have been nothing short of remarkable. With a wide range of engines with 2.0L turbos on 4 cylinders to 4.0L V-8’s along with the V-12, one can now get the pure AMG experience in the widest range of Mercedes-Benz vehicles. I have driven the GLA45 and GTS and in this issue, I have written about them, but I thought it valuable to speak with someone at AMG about the variety and the vision. Brandon T. Coté, Manager, Exclusive Vehicles, AMG, Designo for MBUSA was kind enough to give us his time. Our dialogue follows.

Damola: …Introduce yourself - what you do with AMG and then we could talk about the one man, one engine...
Coté: So I’m Branden Coté, head of AMG product management for MBUSA.
Damola: So talk about this new GLE AMG and is this the S or just the regular 63?
Coté: So this is the all-new GLE63 S model. So historically, this vehicle was called the ML. In the USA there was only the 63. We now have an S model variant. So now with the facelift we changed the nomenclature from ML to GLE and now this is also the S model…this has 577 horsepower in it…0 to 60 in about 4.2 seconds.
Damola: So talk about what you guys added. Obviously, adding that amount of power, how did you change the rigidity, the engineering, architecture, frames?
Coté: So what’s really, really unique about AMG is that, you know, we don’t just go in and put a new engine in the vehicle, we actually completely re-design the vehicle. So the engine, the suspension, the transmission, the brakes, the wheels, we go in and re-engineer the vehicle so that it can be capable to handle this amount of power and be able to perform the way you expect an AMG to as well. This also has active sway bars in it, for instance, with our active curve system. So as you go around a corner, the natural incline of the vehicle is to kind of sway out or have a little bit of body roll. Well, this actually has motors on our sway bars which twist the vehicle back upright...the vehicle stays completely flat…
Damola: So speak about the one man, one engine…
Coté: This is really, really one of the biggest claims here. So AMG is a design engineering firm and we build our engines by the philosophy of one man, one engine. None of our competitors can claim this. So what’s really unique about that is our engine builders take an engine block and put every wiring harness on it, all the cylinders, the cam, chassis, build the entire engine to a test running motor and then they put their signature nameplate on the top, attesting to the quality and craftsmanship that go into that motor.
Damola: So with this 577, wheel size.
Coté: So we have a couple different wheel sizes on this vehicle. This here is the S model which offers a 21-inch wheel and we also have our coupe variant of this model, which has a 22-inch wheel as well.
Damola: And we’ll see that too. So what are some of the other things…
Coté: …AMG C63 - this vehicle features an all-new motor for us that we just designed, the 4-liter biturbo V-8 motor. It features hot inside V, so you put the turbos inside the V of the engine, which allows us to have the exhaust portion of the cylinders go directly into the turbine so you have zero turbo lag in the vehicle. It also allows us to situate the engine a little lower and further back in the chassis both to give better handling and performance. [The] vehicle goes on sale actually in about 2 weeks. So by the time the auto show is over you can go into the dealerships and purchase one.
Damola: So tell us about the performance on this model.
Coté: So we offer two variants of this, we have the C63 and then we also have the C63 S model. So the differences are 462 horsepower versus 503 horsepower on the two vehicles and 0 to 60 time for the S model is about 3.8 seconds with about a .15 second in 0 to 60 differences between the two vehicles
Damola: So how much of a premium…is the pricing between the S and the regular C63?
Coté: Base price of the C63 is [$63,900], S model is [$8000] more at [$71,900].
Damola: So [$71,900], 503 horsepower.
Coté: Can’t beat it.
Damola: …And then let’s go to see the GT S…So tell us about the GLE AMG coupe.
Coté: So this is GLE63 S coupe, we debuted this vehicle a couple of months ago in the Detroit auto show and now we bring it here to the New York auto show. The vehicle will go on sale, end of summer, early Fall, but really this is the coupe variant of the GLE SUV which we just took a look at and as you can see from the lines it’s a very, very sexy vehicle, very sporty, extremely nimble and really is for that person that wants an SUV, wants to be a little bit higher off the ground but doesn’t want to sacrifice the attractiveness of what a beautiful coupe line gives you as well.
Damola: So show us what’s inside, though, because the interior package looks markedly different from what we just saw.
Coté: Yes. So we offer a variety of interiors on all of our vehicles. This particular one has [a] beautiful Nappa interior with the brown leather, with the black upper dash, the brown seats and inserts. We have a natural finish wood so you don’t have that high-gloss coating. So you have a nice natural finish there. All-new interior, completely redesigned for this year and of course running boards on the vehicle, AMG, door seals, 22-inch wheels. This vehicle is just an absolute monster not only from a performance standpoint but from a statement standpoint in design. There is not a better-looking SUV in the market right now.
Damola: So this actually has a bigger wheel package.
Coté: Than those on the regular SUV...This vehicle has the largest wheels in the entire Mercedes fleet with 22-inch wheel options. 
Damola: And it looks like it even has a bigger panoramic roof set.
Coté: It does. It also features the panoramic roof on it and the storage space back here is actually quite large as well. It’s very deep, very wide, so you don’t really sacrifice a lot of storage with that sloped roof on.
Damola: So [are] the performance figures the same as what’s on the other SUV?
Coté: It is. Yes, the same 577 horsepower, 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds, features AMG performance 4MATIC in the vehicle so it propels the same active curve system that we discussed on the other vehicle, very, very [impressive].
Damola: So let’s go to see the C-Class AMG
Coté: Yeah, let’s go check it out.
Damola: So now this is the crown jewel of them all, the AMG GT, so tell us about this because there was obviously a whole new direction from the SLS, no gullwings, different powertrains, different engines. Kind of give us an overview.

Coté: Yeah, this is the all-new AMG GT S and it really allows us to enter a segment of the market we’ve never competed in before. So the SLS which was the previous two-door supercar from AMG really competed at a different level than what this vehicle does. This vehicle is coming in at a price point of almost 50% of what the SLS was, completely different vehicle. 503 horsepower here. It features the 4-liter biturbo V-8, which combines both the hot inside V and dry-sump lubrication. So, it’s really allowed us to enter the segment of the sports car that we have never competed in before and we really think it’s a winner.

Damola: So would the 577-horsepower engine make its way here?
Coté: No, definitely not, so the engine that you have in the GLE is [an] older engine that we have that we’ve been using for a very long time, the tried and true and tested engine - the 5.5-liter. This is the new engine for AMG - the 4-liter and this is really what you’re going to get to see across many other vehicles. So this is the engine you’ll start to see that gets perpetuated in the other models, not the other way around.
Damola: So this engine is also in the C-Class AMG?
Coté: It’s very similar, not the exact same so this engine features the dry-sump lubrication. C63 does not have dry-sump lubrication so what that allows us to do is situate the motor much lower in the vehicle. It’s also a front mid-engine design so the engine sits behind the front axle but in front of the cabin of the vehicle. So, while both engines are based off the same block, both the 4-liter V-8, the hot inside V, slightly different in the way they work…so we have the dry-sump lubrication also to get better performance and it’s situated lower in the chassis.
Damola: So how about the weight to horsepower ratio for this versus the SLS?
Coté: Great question. So the SLS has a greater horsepower to weight ratio, but this vehicle actually weighs about 200 pounds less than the SLS did. So in many ways this is a very nimble vehicle. The SLS is a phenomenal vehicle, obviously the gullwings – it’s iconic. It’s done very, very well in motorsports, but we really see this as the next phase and evolution of the brand.
Damola: So would this also have the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system?
Coté: Now you get it, my friend, so this is rearwheel drive as a true sports car should.
Damola: So no all-wheel drive here?
Coté: Negative. No.
Damola: So this has the 4…
Coté: The 4-liter and 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds.
Damola: …[the] 4-liter turbo that would be carried over. So would that now be the base 4-liter in all the 63’s?
Coté: So over time you will see that this engine gets utilized in many of our other variants, but we’re always looking at how do we improve our engine efficiency? How do we get more power out of the engine? How do we get less emissions out of the motor, make it more efficient? So you will see this get used in other models as well. Which models this engine will come to next? Stay tuned.
Damola: I guess another question one would have is that at the top of the engine, AMG engine strata, is the S65. Is that something that possibly could be a version, a black series, for example, that would have that S65 that is in the S-Class or even the SL AMG S?
Coté: So the S65, all of our 65’s are our V-12 motor and it’s a very, very exclusive engine and line-up for us. We will not be putting a V-12 into this vehicle for a couple of reasons. One, is space constraints. We don’t space for a V-12. The other thing is the V-12 has a lot of weight to the vehicle…When you want a very nimble and agile sports car, weight is your enemy. So we can actually get so much more horsepower out of the V-8 motor that we really don’t need to go to the V-12, given the added weight that it gives you. We get better performance out of the V-8 motor so do not expect a 12-cylinder in this vehicle.
Damola: So the SL, though, has the 12-cylinder?
Coté: Correct. The SL is much more of a grand tourer, though, where this is a purebred sports car.
Damola: And that’s really what I was getting at. So for the SL moving forward - that would kind of be the differentiation. The SL would be the grand tourer. This would be more of the performance sports car in the line-up.
Coté: The other thing too is this is a coupe where the SL is a roadster, so if somebody wants to be able to put the top down on the vehicle, have the great performance, we have the SL63 right and we also have the SL65. This is the 100% sports car, though, coupe only.
Damola: So…could it still serve as a daily driver?
Coté: Absolutely. Absolutely. So I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to be able to drive this vehicle on a regular basis and this is a fantastic vehicle. We have something called…DYNAMIC SELECT, where we have five different drive modes in the vehicle which allow us to completely change the dynamics of the vehicle from the chassis set-up, the suspension, the transmission settings, the throttle input and response, the intake and exhaust of the engine and it really allows you to have a very comfortable ride when you just want to go around town. But when you want to take the car to the track, you throw it into race mode and you rock and roll.
Damola: So can you re-introduce yourself again for the record.
Coté: My name is Branden Coté, head of AMG product management for MBUSA.
Damola: Thank you very much.

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US Senate committee debates bill to tame Big Tech’s power

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Instagram now lets you create TikTok-like remixes using any video

You no longer need to dive into Reels to create TikTok-style collaborative videos on Instagram. The social network has expanded its remix feature to let you make collaborations and similar reworks from any video on Instagram. So long as the video was released after the update, you can choose "remix this video" from the three-dot menu to create your response to the clip. You'll still need to share the result through Reels, but you'll also have the same editing tools to create collaborations, voiceovers and effects.

Instagram is also doing more to court livestreamers. You now have the option of highlighting your next Instagram Live broadcast on your profile, giving viewers an easy way to set a reminder. You won't need to attach a regular feed post to the scheduled stream, either. While you can't yet tease later streams, this could help you build hype for an interview or ask-me-anything session.

The expanded remix feature could be important. Instagram hasn't been shy about wanting to counter TikTok, and the Duet feature is a significant factor in that rival's success. The option to remix any video potentially gives Instagram users a wider pool of videos to choose from than TikTok, including footage that wasn't originally meant for that short-but-sweet format.

'Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga' will arrive on April 5th

Two years after the game was initially supposed to debut, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will finally arrive on April 5th. The long-awaited title from TT Games adapts all nine movies in the Skywalker Saga, and you'll be able to choose which trilogy to start with (so you might want to get the prequels out of the way first).

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is coming to PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch and PC. It's said to be the biggest Lego game to date, and publisher Warner Bros. Games provided an in-depth look at what's in store with a gameplay trailer.

There are new combat mechanics, including ways to string attacks together and defend yourself with counter moves "in styles tailored to your favorite characters." Expect fresh blaster mechanics, with an over-the-shoulder perspective and third-person aiming reticle, and a cover system. Of course, there'll be a ton of lightsaber action, space dogfighting battles and many opportunities to use Force powers as well.

Many levels will have multiple paths to explore and you'll be able to take on side missions. Class-based abilities are upgradable and there are more than 300 playable characters to unlock. There's also a Mumble Mode, which will replace intelligible voice lines with mumbling, à la previous games in the series.

Based on the gameplay trailer alone, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga seems like a huge game. However, despite the lengthy delays, the development team was still required to work long hours (or "crunch"), according to Polygon

Several current and former employees told the publication that TT Games has had a "challenging work culture over the last decade and a half" and that, during crunch periods, work weeks of between 80 and 100 hours weren't rare (though overtime is said to have been limited in recent months). TT Games has also reportedly had a high level of staff turnover since work started on Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga nearly five years ago.

Oura’s third-generation Ring is more powerful, but not for everybody

The wearables business is hard, especially if you’re a small startup with a device you could, perhaps uncharitably, call “niche.” Oura, which makes activity-tracking rings worn endorsed by a numberof celebrities, recently released its third-generation model. This new hardware is a technical marvel, packing many of the features that most wrist-worn devices take for granted. But the need to keep the cash rolling in has seen Oura, like Fitbit, Apple, Wahoo and others, pivot to a recurring-revenue model. Oura says that this is key to shift from the idea of buying a device that never changes, to supporting its broader goals of building an evolving fitness ecosystem.


Image of the inside of the Oura Ring (v3)
Daniel Cooper

Before we get into the specifics of this new Oura ring, let’s take a moment to remember that this device is still a marvel of engineering. Taking the sensors from a smartwatch or fitness tracker and shrinking them into a ring is worthy of enormous praise. For all of its imperfections, it’s amazing to see Oura push the limits of what is capable in such a small form factor. And there’s much more tech crammed in this time around, despite the size and weight remaining the same as the second-generation version. The headline features these new sensors enable include continuous heart-rate tracking, temperature monitoring, blood oxygenation and period prediction.

The sizing process is the same for pretty much every smart ring I’ve ever tried: The company sends you a set of plastic dummy rings you have to wear for a couple of days. Once you’ve determined the correct fit, which is tight and secure around the base of your index finger, but not to the point where it’s uncomfortable, you can order the real thing. This actually was the most stressful part of this review, since I felt that one size was too loose, the other too tight, but I opted for looseness rather than sacrificing a digit to the gods of fitness tracking. Oura says that the index finger is the best place for its ring, but you can stick it elsewhere if you prefer.

Unfortunately, the one thing you can’t do much about is the size of the ring itself which is a bit too big. I’m a big-ish guy with big-ish hands, but it feels a bit too ostentatious on my fingers, enough that people notice and ask me what it is as soon as they spot it. If you have more slender hands, I’m sure you might have a similar issue with folks pointing it out. I suspect that the smart thing to do is visit Parts Of 4 to get some more adornments to balance out the look.


Without a screen, Oura is yoked tightly to the iOS or Android app where all of this data will be displayed. The Oura app is clean and tidy, only giving you the deepest data when you go looking for it. The app breaks down all of the information generated from your finger and compresses it into three scores, which are shown on the homescreen. These are for Readiness, Sleep and Activity, representing how prepared you are to face the day, how well-rested you are and how much exercise you’re doing.

The only other thing you’ll find on the homescreen is a breakdown of your heart rate across the day, showing you where the peaks and troughs are. You’ll also get advice on your ideal bedtime, which is useful when you’re working late nights and need to juggle sleep with getting things done. You’ll also get periodic reminders to move if the app detects you’ve been still for a while, and advice when it’s time for you to wind down for the day.

Go into one of the categories, like Readiness, and you’ll get scores for your recovery index, sleep, as well as your HRV balance, body temperature and resting heart rate. You can also see that my figures dropped quite substantially during a three-day period when I got food poisoning from a New Year’s Eve takeaway meal. During that period, I was given plenty of warnings telling me I wasn’t rested or well enough to do much else – not that I felt like I was gonna go for a run or anything.

As part of Oura’s plan to add extra value to its platform, the company is adding a series of video and audio guides for meditation, breathwork and sleeping. These guides, which are essentially guided meditation audio tracks, can be backed with a white noise option of your choice. You can pick the hum of a train station, the crunch of a forest stroll, the sound of the tide lapping at the land or rainfall, amongst others. These are a thing for people who find those things useful to fall asleep and feel restful but I, personally, do not find them that great.

That said, where Oura differs from its rivals in this space is that it’ll break down your vital signs during your meditation. If you’re wondering how to get better at meditating then you’ll be guided to more appropriate tracks that’ll help prod you toward nirvana.

Oura is working on adding more features to the Ring v3 over the next year, including more content as well as more accurate sleep and period tracking. These will not actually appear as new features so much as they are behind-the-scenes improvements in the underlying systems. Finally, at some point this year, the ring will be able to identify your blood oxygenation (SpO2) while you sleep in order to help detect disorders like sleep apnea.

In use

Image of the Oura Ring V3 on its charging plate.
Daniel Cooper

The best thing about the Oura ring is that, once you’ve worn it a few days, you quickly start to ignore its presence. And while you’re not paying attention, it begins worming its way into every corner of your life, learning your working patterns and getting ready to make helpful suggestions. If you feel like crap in the morning but don’t have the mental wherewithal to comprehend why, you’ll be told as soon as you look at your phone. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing here that other platforms don’t do as well, but this is certainly an elegant implementation of the idea.

Sleep tracking is generally fine, by which I mean it works by tracking movement and therefore can’t tell when you’ve been rudely awoken but haven’t moved. As part of this new pivot, however, Oura is promising that the sleep tracking will soon become vastly more accurate as a consequence of behind-the-scenes changes. This will not be readily visible to users, however, since all you’ll get is a pop-up telling you that things just got more accurate. Still, it offers a fairly good indicator for how the night went, although I find the activity tracking to be a little more on the generous side. Yesterday morning, for instance, it told me that my morning shower was a strength training workout with plenty of burned calories for my trouble. Similarly, it’ll tell me around lunchtime that I need to take a half-hour brisk walk to finish my activity for the day, and then by early evening, having done nothing more than stand at my desk, make dinner and put my kids to sleep, it’ll tell me I’ve completed my goal.

One of the features that Oura is tempting its users with is Workout Heart Rate, which I find inadvertently amusing. Because the ring is so chunky, and it has such a hard edge, that I really don’t find it comfortable to wear during workouts. For instance, if I’ve got a pair of free weights, or I’m doing an incline push up on a Smith machine bar, the ring just pushes into the fleshy parts of my hand. For most of the proper “gym” workouts I’ve done, the ring has had to come off, lest I tap out too early or draw blood from the chubby parts of my fingers. But for more ring-friendly jobs, like running, walking, or cycling, you should find this to be a big help.

In terms of vital-signs tracking accuracy, I think it’s always wise to remember that wearables will not be as inch-perfect as a clinical-grade device. But in a number of random spot-tests, the Oura offered the exact same figures as the Apple Watch on my wrist. In fact, Oura’s reputation for accuracy has always been pretty high, and one of the reasons that the company hasn’t released some of these features is to ensure they’re ready to go when they do arrive.

Oura quotes battery life at seven days, although I rarely managed to get past five without having to drop it on the charging plate. Certainly, real-world stamina is a bit far from what the company is saying, but then it’s hardly a deal breaker since you can charge it full in two hours. It’s become common for me to take the ring off while I’m standing at my desk on Monday and Friday mornings and let it re-juice while I’m working.


The third-generation Oura ring will set you back $299, which gets you the ring in one of four finishes: Silver, Black, Stealth or Gold. In the box, you’ll receive the charging plate and a USB-C cable, and as part of the deal, you’ll get a six-month trial of Oura’s subscription service. Membership, which costs $5.99 a month for new users, will entitle you to “daily health insights,” “personalized recommendations,” as well as more video and audio sessions. Any existing Oura user who upgrades to the new ring will get a lifetime membership thrown in for free.

I want to be fair here and say that I understand why Oura is pivoting to this recurring revenue model. It’s not as if other companies in this space, like Fitbit, aren’t doing the same in the hope of bolstering their bottom lines. And that’s before we get to talk about how much lock-in the Apple Watch gets as a consequence of Fitness+. But I also think there’s a difference between the sort of product that those rivals are offering compared to Oura’s product.

After all, Apple and Fitbit can both offer coaching both on their devices and on bigger screens, which Oura can’t. Not to mention that Oura is really only able to offer guided audio clips (and short videos) through its app. And that while Apple and Fitbit are selling their devices as (having the potential to become) Capital-F Fitness gear, the Oura really isn’t. But, then again, that’s not what Oura is pitching here – it’s for the meditator, the runner, the cyclist, who doesn’t want to strap something beefy to their wrist.


Here’s the problem with reviewing Oura: It’s not a device that every fitness person will love. If you want something with more versatility, you’d buy a smartwatch and have done with it. Oura is more of a subtle product, for people who want to be less ostentatious about their health, or simply want something that slips into their lives and does the job. Honestly, since I’m not a gym bro, I really like the data the ring offers me without any fuss or muss.

As for the subscription, it’s likely that Oura will have to keep squeezing as many new features and insights as possible out of this new hardware. Between that, and vastly improving its currently slender content library, it’s worth it if you’re a paid-up member of the Oura family. But, and this is more a comment on the industry as a whole rather than a slight against Oura itself, I do find this need for every company to squeeze some rental income out of their users to be a little bit grating.

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