I’ll never forget the print advert. All the headline said was “SLS. AMG. OMG.” Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. No prizes of course for guessing which Merc it was for, but it’s safe to say, that would indeed be the reaction of anyone who saw this car in the flesh. So what is it about the letters ‘AMG’ that sets pulses racing?
It all started in 1967 when Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher – the first letters in their last names contributing to the A and M in ‘AMG’ – started a company called ‘AMG Engine Production & Development Ltd.’ The ‘G’ in AMG comes from Aufrecht’s hometown of Grobaspach. In 1999, Mercedes-Benz (then known as DaimlerChrysler) bought controlling interest in AMG, and the company was renamed Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
I’d visited AMG in the past, twice actually, it’s now located in the town of Affalterbach, just outside Stuttgart, Germany. What impressed me the most, apart from churning out cars that the devil himself would be afraid to drive, was the passion and dedication that each person I spoke to at AMG exuded. You can’t fake this, if you’re passionate about what you do, it’ll show in the way you talk about it, and yes, it applies across the board, for everything, not just in the automotive world.
So proud of what they do are they, that each engine that’s hand assembled at AMG bears the name of the technician / engineer who put it all together from ‘the first nut, to the last bolt’. His signature (above) sits proudly on a plaque that adorns the cam cover of every AMG engine. Now get this, should said engineer fall ill and is unable to come to work, ‘his’ engine is covered and wheeled aside. NO one is allowed to touch it.
“The problem comes when an engine absolutely has to be finished and the person who started it is unable to for whatever reason (and someone else has to finish it)” said one of the engineers to me. “The problem is that they will argue who’s name should be on the plaque! Sometimes they fight!” he quipped, only half-jokingly. That’s how proud they are of what they create. And what they create is something really quite extraordinary.
I recall my (then) subsequent article on this visit some years ago was headlined “One engine to rule them all” seeing as how I was there to review AMG’s latest crowning-glory, the incredible AMG 6.3, which was used to power a myriad of different AMG derived Mercs, from the C, E, S, and of course the SL. Despite various states of tune depending on which model it powered, one thing remained constant, it was a brilliant, absolutely mouth-wateringly awesome piece of kit.
Alfa Romeo calls its cars ‘Cuore Sportivo’ or the ‘Sporting Heart’, which denotes that the soul of any car, especially an Alfa Romeo, lies in its engine. It’s the same with AMG. As much as I loved each variation however, one thing always kept creeping into my mind; the actual size of the engine, in particular its cubic-capacity. In a country where we’re taxed yearly according to engine size, it would cost quite a lot to keep one of these monster engine’d beasts running.
But then, just when you thought that AMG are all about big-bore-forced-induction V8’s and the ilk, along comes this new A45 AMG that totally shatters that notion.
First-off, and yeah, I won’t blame you if you disbelieve me, it’s powered by a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder engine. Hang on a sec? Really?? Yes, really. It does of course have forced-induction (twin-scroll turbocharger) and some pretty magical tuning thanks to AMG, which means this 4-pot churns out a staggering 360bhp and 450Nm of torque. This makes it the most powerful series production 2.0-litre engine in the world currently. It’s mated to a 7-speed AMG ‘Speedshift” dual-clutch gearbox with paddle shifters.
The icing on the cake however, is that this car is all-wheel drive, with a variable 50:50 torque split between the front and rear wheels. The result when all this comes to play is nothing short of phenomenal. 0-100km/h is seen to in 4.6secs in Sport mode (manual and comfort are the other two drive modes), and on to an electronically-governed top speed of 250km/h, which it attains effortlessly. I reckon the AMG ‘Black Series’ for this car (if there will be one) that comes sans limiter, should see the top speed climb closer to the 300km/h mark, seeing as how this car was still pulling very hard when it started bouncing off the limiter.
What I love most though is the fact that this car makes no attempt whatsoever to disguise what it really is. With its offset racing stripes running the entire length of the car, rear hatch spoiler and full aerodynamic kit which include bumper fins for actual downforce, it’s a race car that just happens to be road-legal. 19-inch black alloys with 35-series tyres and a sports-handling suspension package that can be electronically adjusted to become even stiffer, and semi-bucket seats simply add to the overall sporty persona of this car.
And that’s possibly the greatest selling point of this AMG, or any AMG for that matter. It’s a car that’s inherently luxurious and upmarket, and yes, they all can be used on a daily basis for commuting. Then again, they’re also always ready to be unleashed. At the drop if a hat, or flag, they can transform into snarling, raging beasts capable of holding their own against just about anything else on the road.
And they just keep doing it, day in and day out, without complaint. I bet after-market tuners really despise AMG, because there’s really nothing left for them to do; the cars coming out of Affalterbach are all perfectly tuned to offer the perfect balance between luxury, and pure, unadulterated lunacy. In the past I’d suggested to Mercedes-Benz Malaysia that they should have a dedicated AMG division at their HQ, a division dealing only with bona-fide AMG cars. I for one certainly believe the brand warrants it. Here’s hoping. Be sure to catch our video review of the A45 AMG coming soon!