For German automaker and vehicle industry stalwart Mercedes-Benz, making supercars isn’t new. For decades its AMG division has produced vehicles characterized by powerful engines, sport-like performance, and aerodynamic styling. However, with its latest attempt—the Mercedes-AMG GT—Mercedes will attempt to make a more accessible and affordable supercar.
Formerly an independent engineering and manufacturing firm, AMG—an acronym derived from the founder’s surnames (Aufrecht and Melcher) and Aufrecht’s hometown of Großaspach—was founded in 1967. Then known as AMG Engine Production and Development, Ltd., the company began to build a reputation for modifying Mercedes vehicles like the 190E and 300E four-door sedans. Mercedes-Benz was so pleased with the work that it signed a contract of cooperation with AMG in 1993, allowing the latter to customize some of the most popular vehicles in the automaker’s line-up. They included the compact C-Class, the mid-size E-Class, the full-size S-Class, the sports-oriented CLK, and the SLK convertible. Each modified vehicle bore the AMG initials. Mercedes-Benz acquired 51 percent of AMG shares in 1999, and in 2005 Aufrecht sold the rest of the AMG shares to the car manufacturer. AMG was now a wholly owned subsidiary officially named Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
It was around this time that Mercedes-AMG began to focus on dedicated AMG automobiles, rather than mere modifications of existing models. Its first attempt was the SLS AMG, which was unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. With sales kicking off in Europe in 2010 and the United States the following year, the SLS AMG is physically notable for its roof-hinged gullwing doors, which some observers likened to an older Mercedes vehicle called the 300SL. Designed as a two-seat roadster, the car uses a front mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout. A 6.2-litre V-8 engine that pumps out anywhere from around 429 to 458 kilowatts (kW) and mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission powers the vehicle. Ironically, for a vehicle that AMG produced as the anti-thesis of the larger, more complex, and more expensive Mercedes SLR McLaren, the public hardly caught on with AMG’s first vehicle.
In early 2014, AMG announced the discontinuation of the SLS AMG. The intention was to replace it with a car that has a smaller and more efficient engine, which would enable the new entry to compete with competitors like the Audi R8 and Porsche 911. Also, AMG wants its next supercar to be less expensive; the SLS AMG had a starting MSRP of $201,000 USD.
NEW CAR SPECS
By April 2014, automotive industry insiders were able to get some preliminary information about the new AMG car. Staying true to AMG’s performance heritage and the SLS’ grand tourer status, the supercar is named AMG GT. However, the GT has a smaller engine: a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V-8 engine that generates 370 kW at 6,250 rpm and a torque of 649 Newton meters between 1,750 and 4,750 rpm. Although not as big and powerful as the SLS engine, the engine downsizing allows for a lighter vehicle, better acceleration, and less fuel consumption. Also, the AMG GT has a dry-sump lubrication system that replaces the conventional and less efficient oil pan found on most vehicles, and the engine produces about the same amount of torque as the SLS AMG.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
Information on the AMG GT’s starting retail price is scant. However, Mercedes-AMG expects the supercar to hit showrooms by 2015 at a price point lower than its immediate predecessor.
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