HEADLINED by the release of the manic Project One hypercar, Mercedes-AMG is lining up an onslaught of feisty new models to keep the pressure applied to its European high-performance rivals, including more GT variants and new numbers introduced alongside its 63, 45 and 43 boot badges.
With the established GT sports car family and arrival of the mighty Project One hypercar, the German high-performance purveyor has now built a healthy portfolio of contenders in a wide range of segments.
AMG spans across the hot-hatch market, premium sports cars, luxury sedans, to coupes and convertibles and the ultra-exclusive jewel in the crown, but the flow of hot hardware is not being stemmed just yet, says the company.
Speaking at the Frankfurt motor show, Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers added to speculation that an additional AMG GT variant could join the range in the form of a Black Series as a new flagship of the two-seater range above the GT R.
“The GT R is still very competitive,” he said. “If we do a Black Series it’s going to be in the GT family but there’s still a little bit of time.”
In previous iterations, Mercedes’ performance-enhanced Black variants have arrived toward the end of a model lifecycle, which rules out the GT Black for at least the immediate future, but Moers did hint at a number of tantalising features if the car is confirmed.
“The GT R chassis is capable of more horsepower,” he said. “A Black series should always have a little bit more horsepower but it’s not all about power, it’s about handling and performance on the track.”
While the AMG S63 Coupe and convertible have demonstrated the same 4.0-litre turbo V8 that powers the GT family is capable of up to 450kW and 900Nm, GT maximum power may be limited by its dual-clutch transmission, said Moers.
“The DCT in the GT, not that much more [than GT R’s 430kW], but we’re going to find out.”
While the current GT flagship has undergone weight reduction for even greater track potency, Moers said GT Black would honour a tradition with further weight minimization.
“For a Black series it would be mandatory to reduce a little bit of weight.”
His comment lines up with spy images of a potential Black Series mule spotted testing at the Nurburgring recently with polycarbonate windows.
The GT range has already expanded to include a new GT C in both convertible and coupe forms, but an as-yet unnamed four door version is set to arrive next year bringing the most radical update for the line-up since its launch, and Moers offered an additional insight into the model.
Wheels has learnt that the four-door GT4 Concept which rolled out in March this year is a ‘pre-positioning’ concept which closely resembles the final product and, with a platform shared with the E63, is likely to borrow its 450kW 4.0-litre V8, but Moers said a hybrid should also be expected.
Other details include a conventional automatic gearbox in favour of a transaxle which would limit second row seating and boot capacity, while a name is yet to be finalised. “We don’t know so far, to be honest,” said Moers.
Another key element of the AMG family expansion has been the introduction of E43 and C43 variants and A45 derivatives before that.
According to Moers, the strategic move to introduce sub-63 and 65 offerings was intended to attract new customers to true AMG cars that are more affordable without compromising the company’s performance principles.
“We expected that by introducing the 43 we would hopefully see some kind of customer journey – people coming in from other brands then stepping up to 63s. This was our estimation. It happens.
“It is a true AMG because I define AMG not only in hand built engines. AMG stands for driving performance. It’s all about the package and the driving.
“We moved the brand of AMG out of the position that it’s all about power and straight-line speed. In the new days it’s more holistic. The right power output in combination with driving dynamics.
“It would be easy for us to put a 43 badge on a C-Class, modify the power output of the engine a little bit, tune the calibration of the gearbox, done. It would work for sure for two years but sustainable? Never.”
When asked if the success of 45 and 43 variants would spawn more intra-range numbers, Moers answered “Yes but we didn’t officially talk about it,” he said.
“We have a very good working model with our engine performance in C-Class and we are going to introduce that in the next compact.”
Moers would not confirm a specific number but Wheels has previously learnt from a Mercedes-AMG source that the 53 badge will be introduced to represent an electrically supplemented inline six-cylinder engine.