What was it Mercedes was saying about making its model names easier to understand?
The company has announced a new derivative line called ‘AMG Sport’ for cars that are not quite full-blown AMG performance models, but with ‘enhanced performance and technical refinements’ over regular Mercs.
They’ll get more power, ‘special’ chassis components, uprated brake systems and, in certain markets, four-wheel drive as standard. The first two AMG Sport models will break cover at the Detroit motor show in January 2015, with more to come in the months following.
This new teaser picture Mercedes has issued reveals they’ll be a high-performance C-class (mooted to be the C450, packing a turbocharged V6 petrol engine) and an SUV based on the coming-soon GLE coupe. The latter is the artist formerly known as M-class (explained here) and this image is our first official look at it.
Isn’t there something like this already available in Mercedes brochures?
Sort of. This is where it gets confusing. You can also purchase certain Mercedes models with an AMG Line package, which in a nutshell includes a few styling tweaks and equipment upgrades, ranging from the likes of posher floor mats to firmer suspension.
So the new AMG Sport models occupy a mildly confusing hinterland in between an ordinary Merc with an AMG-branded trim upgrade package and the full-fat AMG models such as the C63 and the new AMG GT sports car.
The best way to think of it is as a similar strategy to that adopted by BMW’s M division. All-singing, all-dancing performance cars at the top (such as the upcoming BMW M2 coupe); still fast but not quite as potent ‘M Performance’ models just below (like the excellent M235i); and M Sport trim variants of ordinary models with more kit and the option of sportier suspension at the bottom.
What’s this all about?
Mercedes-AMG says the move has been made to make the AMG brand and its technology more accessible, but pressure to reduce average fuel consumption across its portfolio also has something to do with it. Expect the new AMG Sport models to be significantly less thirsty than their pure AMG counterparts.
Ultimately, though, it’s part of a masterplan to boost sales.
Punters’ familiarity with the AMG name has arguably never been higher given that it’s attached to the team that has dominated F1 this year. The AMG brand’s heading for a personal-best sales record of more than 40,000 units globally by the end of 2014 and according to chairman Tobias Moers they aim to double their total sales figures from 2013 within the next three years.