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Has AMG gone nuts? or worse, to the dogs?

habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
edited March 6 in Mercedes-Benz
So, as if we needed another selection, we can now get the beautiful and sporty R-class in an AMG63 variant with 500+ horsepower and 465 ft. lbs of torque.

What, may I ask, is going on with AMG? It's bad enough that Mercedes has been trying to imitate Proctor and Gamble in the automotive industry. As in, if we keep filling the shelves with enough "new and improved" products, at least something will sell. But AMG used to be special and the pinnacle of overall performance. Consider AMG's 300SEL 6.3 from the 1960's. Do a Google search on that beauty and see what comes up. Not only was it the fastest sedan of it's time, it had handling that was barely this side of a Porsche 911. A rare classic that is a valuable collectible today.

Today (Tuesday August 29, 2006 12 noon EST) we have no fewer than 14 AMG models to choose from. There will likely be more by the end of the week.

Why?

Has AMG never once considered the concept of brand dilution? And attention deficit disorder? While they have endowed these various overwieght Mercedes models with ever larger engines, they really haven't advanced overall performance a fraction of what the 300SEL 6.3 achieved relative to its peers. Don't believe me, go ahead and plop down $185,000 for a 604 hp / 738 ft-lb SL65 and I'll take you on. Not with my 355hp 911S, that would be way too easy. But with my former $32,000 Honda S2000, which would kill the SL in anything but a teenage imitation red light drag race.

I guess I fall into the target demographics of AMG, if I am to believe all of their e-mail invitations to try their latest and greatest offerings. But, as appealing as a BMW M3 or M5 might be too me (assuming the M5 gets the proper 6-speed manual), I just can't get too excited by a slushbox, 2+ ton SL55. And the R63? There aren't enough Marguerittas in Mexico to get me to consider that. Hopefully, the well deserved heritage and honor of the 300SEL 6.3 won't be damaged by all this craziness of late.

If there is a doctor in the house, please prescribe, Ritalin, Prozac or a session with Tom Cruise for AMG management before it's too late.
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Comments

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,422
    "the road of excess eventually leads to wisdom".

    MODERATOR

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,515
    AMG should be the way they were when MB gained control - one highline variant of each CAR (not SUV), and make them limited production to retain exclusivity and value to the badge. AMG should be special and sought after. They are trying to be everything to everyone, just like MB itself has done. Maybe that cancerous idea spread. They'll regret it sooner or later.

    You can even get AMG-badged trim lines on normal 6cyl E class! No performance gains at all, just a badge and some trim. It's a shame.

    They had it right once.
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    does leave customers who want the real thing with an empty feeling.

    BWM is wise: customers know the M version of any model has real performance credentials.

    Lots of designations have been diluted over the years. 'SS' and 'Cobra' come to mind among others.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,515
    I think it is another case of short term profits vs long term viability...a concept the auto industry and much of the corporate world in general can't seem to fathom. Not that I am doubting the abilities of six and seven figure suits who really know what they are doing, or can pretend anyway...

    AMG badged cars with no special performance ...the beginning of the end...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,422
    AMG used to be the "bad boy's" car. AMG would have been smart to preserve that.

    Maybe they'll get away with brand dilution though. Harley Davidson got away with it. I think Harley makes more money on clothing than on motorcycles these days.

    MODERATOR

  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    On that, I love how it's deemed perfectly acceptable to be decked out head-to-toe in Harley-logo regalia while riding your Sportster or whathaveyou...

    It reminds me of those guys in the 1980s who wore shiny jackets emblazoned with "Porsche" while they drove their 911s (or more frequently 944s). It seems so cheesy now...I wonder if the Harley logo overload will seem the same 20 years from now? ;)

    Like the best line from the early '90s movie "PCU": "You're gonna wear the t-shirt of the band you're going to see?! Don't be that guy."
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    Mercedes AMG seems like a contradiction in terms.

    Looks like MB has decided to change the AMG badge (with its performance heritage) into a trim option.

    Chevrolet did the same with the SS name. As a result they sold lots of 6 cylinder SS cars while the SS badge lost any real meaning to the true enthusiast.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    Just the fact that all the "SS" cars are FWD is annoying to me... :(
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    The first production AMG car to be imported to the US was a six Cylinder.

    It was the C36 and it was pretty cool.

    The R-500 I took in trade was one of the most painful vehicles I have ever driven. I just can't imagine anyone buying a R63 AMG version.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    Yeah I had someone come in with a CLS a few days ago. At first I thought it was a CLS55 AMG which was cool since I had never seen one although I don't really like the CLS..

    Anyway after I looked at it for a couple of minutes I realized it wasn't a CLS55 AMG but just a regular CLS550 with the AMG trim package.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,515
    I've seen one of those too, I'm pretty sure. CLS are pretty big around here, and a few of them are pretty decked out. They can't all be real tuned models.

    The winner is still the "S55" I saw last summer, with no body kit and no dual exhaust. Duuuuh.

    Old school AMG fun

    Neat cars
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    Yeah I bet it can do that 150 basicly all day too.
  • teds1teds1 Posts: 180
    I read somewhere that AMG is boasting they sell more cars over $100k than anyone in the world. I believe it in terms of pure numbers moved. Love the cars, but give me a manual and about a ton less weight... like oh say an M3 and I'll be much happier
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    Now that the AMG option is just a trim group AMG sales should see a big boost.

    The average AMG car price should drop a lot too. In past AMG models the high performance driveline was a big part of the price.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I don't think the AMG sales include "sports-packaged" Mercedes models. I think in order to be considered an AMG sale, the car has to be an actual AMG model, engine and all.

    In my decision to start this thread, I actually don't find an AMG sport package for different Mercedes models to be that objectionable. Exploitative of their brand name maybe.

    My concern with AMG is that they have gone from really pioneering extraordinary all around performance - handling and acceleration - with the 300 SEL 6.3, to now just seeing how many horsepower they can stuff into anything with wheels. Someone wanted to take an R63 to the track? Why, to get laughed off as an idiot with more money than brains?

    It seems that most AMG models today could only impress someone at the Bonneville Salt Flats. I drove a C32 awhile back and it's handling, steering and driving dynamics were below a standard 3 series. And not within a mile of an M3. Yes, it was fast when you mashed the pedal to the floor, but if that's the demographic AMG is shooting for, they have lowered themselves to an embarassing level. They should sponsor NASCAR, not Formula One.

    Maybe I am just sore at AMG. In those 14 models, they have over 7,000 horsepower. And 0 manual transmissions. Some engineers.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,515
    I'm sore at MB for relegating AMG to a trim level. MB has long had a "Sport" package, this new line serves as nothing but a way to reel in some posers. In the long term, it will not help the AMG badge.

    IMO, one can argue AMG cars have long had some shortcomings compared to M cars...they've always been more posh, heavier, clumsier. But I have never seen them as a direct comparison, due to these factors. They aren't complete apples to apples. An M car is a sport tuned version of a sporty car. An AMG car is a sport tuned version of (usually) a very non-sporty car. Results will vary. Hence the lack of manuals...I am drawing a blank at thinking of any regular AMG car with a manual. It's just a tradition of the badge, for better or worse.

    Even my little AMG was seen as falling short to the M3, back in the day. But it's still very fun in speed and handling. I've never driven a W203 AMG, but I don't know if I want to. As with so many MB in general, the older models seem to have been a more balanced package.
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    has in the past been a very powerful 'luxury-GT' car and filled its own unique niche. They never had much overlap with the BMW 'M' cars, which usually offer a manual transmission and a more visceral driving experience.

    I expect Fintail is right: the new AMG trim package will appeal to the poseur rather than to the AMG fan of previous years.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,515
    I suspect earlier AMG cars might attract the same cult following older MB in general seem to have, cars from before the tech went out of control (pre-2000 introduction). I know C36s have a following. Now and then I've wondered what a W210 E55 would be like.

    Corporate mucky-mucks will likely cheapen another brand.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Boy oh boy what do we have here, habitat1 on one of his anti-AMG rants. Someone call 9-1-1. :P

    I agree with the view that the R63 is pointless, but I draw the line with this constant ranting about how AMG vehicles don't have manuals and how they don't handle as well as M vehicles from BMW.

    For one a regular Mercedes doesn't handle as well as a regular BMW and in recent years they've shown that they aren't trying to make a BMW duplicate. They've had years upon years to study various BMWs and make copies of them, but they haven't. I don't know what about that is so hard for folks to grasp. Mercedes and AMG makes GT cars that focus on power and luxury and handling just not as much as BMW does.

    Really hilarious is all this about the AMG Sport Package being available on regular Mercedes cheapening the AMG brand, yet BMW does the same exact thing, only not in the U.S. You can get a 520d with an "M" package anywhere over there it will look exactly like the M5. Same thing with the 1-Series and 6-Series. For those into spotting details the AMG package option on a S550 for example isn't the exact same thing found on the S65 AMG, there are differences albeit subtle ones.

    habitat1 - I understand that AMG way doesn't appeal to you, but this about their handling is getting slightly ridiculous because the current SLK handles as well as any car in that class as does the AMG version.

    Why would you feel the need to put a S2000 up against a SL55? The S2000 would also outhandle the equally heavy M6 Convertible too. Whats the point? The SL is a luxury GT roadster not a sports car and its class it creams the likes of Cadillac, Lexus, Jaguar and others. There isn't anything in the SL550 or SL55 class that even come close to beating them at what they're designed to do. It isn't as if Mercedes is the only one guilty of building such a car.

    You're asking the SL to something it isn't. Likewise the S2000 can't do anything as a luxury vehicle anywhere near the level of the SL so why compare them? Is the S2000 somehow less automobile because it doesn't have the features/room/comfort of the SL? No because they aren't comparable vehicles.

    Again, I get your point about the R63, but this attack on the whole AMG lineup just isn't justified.

    You haven't seen the recent things AMG has been doing? They're getting sportier with every new vehicle (minus the R of course). The E63 has been picked over the M5 and Audi S6 more than once by several German magazines. Why you ask? Because it was considered the best all around performer of the group something the E55 wasn't. The SLK55 has a dedicated track version with 400hp and lower weight, but still no manual so I guess that wouldn't appeal to you.

    You say the 300SEL 6.3 had more of its rivals than any AMG has today, hogwash. I'd like to see a GT car from anyone other than Ferrari compete with the AMG versions of the CL or SL or S-Class for that matter and top them. BMW, Jaguar, Aston-Martin and likes surely can't do it.

    It seems to me that BMW's M division isn't so pure anymore either. They forgot the manuals on the M5 and M6 and had to be forced to offer them for 07. The SMG tranny in a M6 or M5 has a jillion different shift patterns/settings and more complication that is necessary and I haven't see anywhere that the new M5 was more agile than the old one, quite the opposite if you read in between the lines on some of the reviews. Jaguar and Audi don't offer manuals on their tuner cars either, except for Audi and their S/RS versions of the A4. These are all still luxury cars at heart and I hardly think anyone would want to row their own gears in a SL55 AMG. Maybe in a C55 or SLK55, I can see that.

    Are you taking back my invite to drive the Porsche now?

    M
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