Revealed: AMG’s future plans
Mercedes AMG has confirmed to TopGear.com that a ‘GT3' type AMG GT road car will appear in 2016.
AMG boss Tobias Moers confirmed to TG that a prototype car spotted testing around the Nurburging is indeed a harder, faster version of the new 510bhp rear-wheel-drive AMG supercar, though he wouldn't be pushed on a total power output.
"It's more or less a road-going version of the GT3, so to speak," Tobias told us at the New York show. "It's the next level in terms of performance, which means power output, track performance... everything. Aero, tyres, the full package."
When it comes to power, TG suggests somewhere just under 550bhp. "I can't say right now, but it'll definitely be more than 510bhp. The car is amazing."
It forms part of AMG's long quoted strategy to introduce a ‘family' of AMG GT models and variants. Moers wouldn't be pushed on a convertible AMG GT, but he did let on a few details about some upcoming AMG plans...
Hybrid/electric AMG GT
"We've started the engineering work on hybrid solutions and electrification of the GT," he said. "We had a close look at a purely electric driven car as well on the GT, but of course, nothing has been finally decided yet. It's far too early on in the life cycle of the car..."
AMG GT4 racer
Another possibility is a track-only GT4 racer, too. "We're really considering doing a GT4 out of the AMG GT. We don't have a clear understanding about how the market would react. Is there interest? We don't know. But we know we don't have something in that range, something in that GT4 race car range," Moers said.
A road-going ‘Black Series' GT is still some way off, too. "It's probably much longer than two years away," he says. Again, no mention is made of a power output, but consider the previous jumps Black Series cars have made over the ‘standard' AMG ones, and you'd guess we're talking well north of 600bhp. "I've challenged the engine guys [with regards to the Black Series' power output]," he laughs.
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C63 AMG Black Series
Moers did say that whatever that Black Series engine pushed out, it'd be specific to the AMG GT, and wouldn't likely make its way unchanged to a potential C63 Black Series - if we even get one.
"I think we must have a dedicated engine for the Black Series in the GT," he said. "This is what I think so far, with a high power output. Maybe the next level of performance [the upcoming ‘GT3' spec GT] is not enough to show everybody what the car is capable of. But fitting that same Black Series spec into the C-Class? I don't know."
More power for the A45 AMG
Apparently there's more capability in the bombastic 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine from the A45 AMG, too. Moers told TG that the A-Class will be refreshed within the year, including the A45, which will likely feature more power.
"You'll see the refreshed A45, but I don't want to mention the power output of that engine too early," he said. Considering it already produces some 355bhp, expect fireworks.
An A-Class-based two-door sportscar?
What's interesting about the A-Class platform, however, is its flexibility. We've seen the hatchback, a small SUV (GLA) and even a small, sub-CLS saloon (CLA) . What chance, TG asks Moers, a small, TT-rivalling, front-engined or 4WD two-door sportscar based on that platform?
"I never thought of having a ‘TT' out of the A-Class," he says, thoughtfully. "[But] everything is there, we have high power, for sure. It's a complicated thing. And the CLA is not the same as a TT. It's a good point."
If it happens, you heard it here first...
No SLS replacement in the foreseeable
Moers has long told TG that he wants to keep that top supercar spot free, and not replace the SLS too soon following its demise a couple of years back.
And, sadly, he hasn't changed his mind. "I'm really happy with the decision not to bring it back. Look at used car prices for the SLS - they're stepping up." Boo.
Makeover for the SLK 55
When pushed on which AMG he considers to be the weakest in the range, Moers points to the SLK 55. "There is one which needs a little bit of something, which is obviously the SLK," he says. "I think we have to do something. There's still a future for it, but we have to take care of the SLK."
How, exactly? "We have to increase the performance level, in terms of driving dynamics. Not the power output, but just the driving dynamics. It's OK as it is, but it's not in the new spirit of AMG."
It'll form part of a hugely busy future for AMG, with new models - including the GLE AMG launched at New York, and the AMG Sport models - which Moers never thought he'd see when he started in 1994. "Honestly, I never thought AMG would come this far," he reflects. "Not even five years ago, because five years ago there was not a decision to have a GT. That was later."
It's the GT though, that's his baby, his very favourite. "It's my car," he says. "I did the SLS as well, but the GT feels more personal."