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

24

Comments

  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,902
    Does BMW badge their M packages as an "M" car on the outside? Previous MB sport packages, sometimes very close to AMG cars to the untrained eye, don't usually carry AMG badging unless someone slaps it on. Why can't MB just use "sport" as they did on older sport models on the front fender? AMG needs to mean performance, not looks. Somehow, they need to differentiate this.

    I agree about the transmissions....how many people would really buy an AMG manual anyway? And how would they fare as used cars?
  • "You say the 300SEL 6.3 had more of its rivals than any AMG has today, hogwash. "

    Sorry, I have to strongly disagree with you there.

    I owned an original 6.3. That car leapfrogged its competition by such a margin as to be arguably the best AMG model ever and one of the most technologically advanced sedans of its time. BMW, Jaguar and Aston didn't have anything in its class. And, while it was proclaimed "the fastest sedan on the planet", it was the suspension, chassis, brake and other engineering advances that made it revolutionalry.

    As a current owner of a 2003 M5, I would agree with you that BMW is now much more the driving enthusiasts car, and Mercedes has gone the luxury route. But that wasn't always the case. The fact that AMG went from being a pioneer in automotive performance engineering to simply proliferating 500 and 600 hp engines in every model that Mercedes makes is a conundrum to me and several of my "old timer" friends.

    "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."

    Excuse me? Name the AMG model above that you want to put up against my 2003 M5 as having better driving dynamics. No, I know the M5 isn't a "GT" car, but at the same weight as the SL550 and less than the AMG variants, it certainly can match them on any set of winding roads or straight highway you want to throw at them. And the new M6 will do the same or better, in spite of SMG.

    I do agree with you that in the past couple of years, BMW has gone a little astray as well. I was dissapointed with the new M5, both due to SMG and i-drive. I had considered the Z8 briefly a few years ago, but it was less of a sports car feel than my first "M" car, a 1978 M1. The aforementioned M6 will take on anything by AMG, but it weighs more than my 5 passenger M5.

    As someone who has been both an AMG and M loyalist for nearly 35 years, I think they both need to rethink and refocus their strategy a bit. But with AMG, it looks to me like desparate exploitation to make an extra buck anywhere they can.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Sorry, I have to strongly disagree with you there.

    I owned an original 6.3. That car leapfrogged its competition by such a margin as to be arguably the best AMG model ever and one of the most technologically advanced sedans of its time. BMW, Jaguar and Aston didn't have anything in its class. And, while it was proclaimed "the fastest sedan on the planet", it was the suspension, chassis, brake and other engineering advances that made it revolutionalry.


    Then I'd have to disagree just as strongly because what you're describing could said about the new S65 AMG. There is nothing else in its class that even comes close to power, luxury and overall performance the S65 AMG provides. Now the previous W220 S65 was a bit of a mess on the road because I don't think Mercedes really developed the old W220 chassis to handle 604hp, but the W221 chassis is up to the job. What other large luxury sedan can outdo a S65 AMG? The way I see it looking at other similarly sized luxury/performance/sport etc. sedans it is literally the same situation as back in the day with the 300SEL 6.3.

    But that wasn't always the case. The fact that AMG went from being a pioneer in automotive performance engineering to simply proliferating 500 and 600 hp engines in every model that Mercedes makes is a conundrum to me and several of my "old timer" friends.

    I'm not sure what you mean by AMG pioneering performance because the first AMG car that I remember was the 80's Hammer in which they took a plain-jain 300E and stuffed it with a huge V8 and upgraded everything else to match, the same thing they're doing today. What is the difference? I think you and Habitat just have a problem with their expansion, not with what their cars are like. AMG's were never known for handling and stick shifts, at least not as far as my memory of them goes.

    Excuse me? Name the AMG model above that you want to put up against my 2003 M5 as having better driving dynamics. No, I know the M5 isn't a "GT" car, but at the same weight as the SL550 and less than the AMG variants, it certainly can match them on any set of winding roads or straight highway you want to throw at them. And the new M6 will do the same or better, in spite of SMG.

    I'm glad you mentioned that the M5 isn't a GT car because I mentioned the SL, CL and S cars, not the E-Class which is what the M5 would compete with. Recently 2 German magazines compared the 07' SL55 and M6 and the SL55 was the faster of the two around the track and it wasn't all about hp either because they both have 500 or so hp. Going by the implications here that AMG's are so lax a SL55 shouldn't even get close to a M6 around a track much less beat it.

    Again comparing a M5 to a regular SL550 doesn't make sense to me. You're taking an extreme sports sedan and comparing it to a luxury GT roadster, not a sports car. Why not compare a SL550 to a 760Li then?

    The aforementioned M6 will take on anything by AMG, but it weighs more than my 5 passenger M5.

    True, but my point was that it is also too heavy to be true sports car like AMGs should be, at least that is that implication here, that AMGs are not sporty enough. The M6 is just as overweight and overcomplicated as any AMG model is overpowered.

    As someone who has been both an AMG and M loyalist for nearly 35 years, I think they both need to rethink and refocus their strategy a bit. But with AMG, it looks to me like desparate exploitation to make an extra buck anywhere they can.

    I'd have to ask if you've seen what AMG is doing lately? Sure the R63 flies in the face of them opening a performance studio and coming up with track specials like the SLK55 Black Series, but the R isn't where they're going and thankfully there won't be a AMG version of the new GL either. So I totally disagree with the notion of it being a desperate situation, they may have lost focus somewhat with so many models and with vehicles like the R63, but desperate I don't think so.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Does BMW badge their M packages as an "M" car on the outside?

    Not sure, but neither does Mercedes. AMG Sport package E/S/SL/CL etc. don't say AMG on them anywhere either except for the wheels.

    Previous MB sport packages, sometimes very close to AMG cars to the untrained eye, don't usually carry AMG badging unless someone slaps it on.

    Well MB can't be held responsible for what folks do with their cars afterwards. True AMG Sport packages look idential to real AMG cars to the untrained eye, but does the untrained eye matter here? The recent interview with the AMG boss and their recent re-structuring seems to recognize this because they're promising to make AMG cars more exclusive looking.

    M
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "Are you taking back my invite to drive the Porsche now?"

    Heck no.

    But it does seem you have overreacted a bit and are perhaps failing to see the forest through the trees. My fault. I should have known better than to throw the "7,000 horsepower and 0 manual transmissions" half joke in at the end.

    My point was, if it has wheels, AMG has a 350 hp, 500 hp and/or 600 hp version of it. My question was, why?...and, is that the best way for AMG engineers to show their skills? We apparantly disagree on the answer.

    "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."

    Now merc1, I can agree to disagree on subjective opinions, but objectively that's just B.S. The SLK350 and SLK55 are two cars that I did spend a fair amount of seat time in when I was shopping last fall. Their handling isn't even in the same league as the Boxster S and only neck and neck with the Z4. The 55 is firmer than the 350, but at the expense of your fillings and without any better steering feel. I guess you would contend that these are not true sports cars designed to compete with Porsche or BMW. But that's not what the Mercedes dealer was trying to get me to believe.

    No, I'm not going to disagree that AMG doesn't make some very impressive cars. But the recent proliferation seems to be all about horsepower wars.

    I see parallels in the house hunting my wife and I are currently doing. Looking at new "in-fill" homes in the DC area. If the first thing out of the builders mouth is "x,xxx square feet", chances are it will not be the quality level we are looking for. If, on the other hand, the builder starts with describing his architectural philosophy and his familiarity with Frank Lloyd Wright and Gustov Stickley, chances are we will be impressed. The former has occurred about a hundred times, the latter, twice.

    I won't personally hold it against AMG for thinking an R63 is an important link in their corporate strategy. Nor will I hold it against them that they have, in the SLK, an automatic transmission that lets you take sips of coffee between the "manual" shifts. I just wanted to see if others thought things were getting a little crazy. Every one of the 14 AMG models can boast more hp than my 911S, and that's usually the first thing I hear out of the mouth of an owner or the dealer.

    Sorry if I struck a nerve with you.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Heck no.

    Oh good, was wondering if I has replied myself out of that chance!

    My point was, if it has wheels, AMG has a 350 hp, 500 hp and/or 600 hp version of it. My question was, why?...and, is that the best way for AMG engineers to show their skills? We apparantly disagree on the answer.

    Well I didn't exactly disagree with this because I so much as stated that I though that was your problem with AMG. I don't disagree that they've pimped the brand quite heavily it is the implication that they either won't or can't build a decent handling car is what I take issue with for several reasons, which I gave in my previous post.

    Now merc1, I can agree to disagree on subjective opinions, but objectively that's just B.S. The SLK350 and SLK55 are two cars that I did spend a fair amount of seat time in when I was shopping last fall. Their handling isn't even in the same league as the Boxster S and only neck and neck with the Z4. The 55 is firmer than the 350, but at the expense of your fillings and without any better steering feel. I guess you would contend that these are not true sports cars designed to compete with Porsche or BMW. But that's not what the Mercedes dealer was trying to get me to believe.

    Well we're going to have agree to disagree here because without having driven the Boxster on anything other than a city street I don't see where the handling would be that far apart as you make it out to be, especially with the SLK55 AMG. Everything I've seen about the AMG version puts it in same league with the Boxster, but of course the Porsche still rules the segment over both the SLK and the Z4 and they likely always will. I just don't think it is a night and day difference between something like a SLK55 and a Porsche Boxster anymore like you're saying. Now of course no Benz or BMW is ever going to outhandle a Porsche, how can they when the Porsche has a proven mid-engine design? I know the Boxster is superior but you make it seem like the SLK handles like a Maybach or something.

    But the recent proliferation seems to be all about horsepower wars.

    Well that in part is true, but the other half of it I truly believe was to take the spotlight off of Mercedes' much talked about reliablity woes from like 2002-2004 when the press was relentless in their harping about every little thing that went wrong at MB. Oh yes Mercedes was determined to win the hp race among German makes and they've done so for what that is worth.

    No nerve struck, just thought it was totally unfair and little to hold AMG to a standard that most of their cars aren't even designed to meet. They're GT cars not sports car and as GT's I don't see anything superior from other makes except Ferrari.

    M
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,902
    The new W211 AMG package cars do indeed wear an AMG badge on the back. I've seen them myself. That's the whole issue, MB itself is cheapening the badge by putting it on a car where it doesn't belong.

    MB has made a lot of blunders in recent times, we'll see how things play out.
  • Sorry for directing my question to you, but you appear to be the most articulate defender and proponent of AMG here. I'll appreciate answers from others as well.

    I don't "get" the appeal of AMG.

    Granted, I am female, athletic, and at least 20 years short of a mid life crisis. But I can relate to, or at least appreciate, the previous M5. I considered a co-workers pristine one when car shopping a few months ago. And, if I decided to go the sedan route, it would have been my top choice. In addition to being luxurious and attractive, it was actually fun to drive.

    When another friend heard I was considering a used M5, he set me up with the sales manager of a Mercedes dealership that his family owns. I dind't want to offend, so I went on an off weekday. In 3+ hours, I test drove no less than 4 AMG models: E55, SLK55, CLK55 and SL55.

    And I still didn't "get" it. If I had to guess, most AMG models seem to be geared towards a middle age+, moderately overweight, non-athletic executive type who drives in a straight line from A to B, doesn't enjoy driving that much and doesn't want to test their driving skills, but wants to occaionally be able to show off to the kid in the Mustang at the stoplight. That's probably excessively cruel on my part, but I would like to hear your thoughts on who buys an E55 over the former M5, or who buys an SLK55 or CLK55 over a Boxster S or 911.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,902
    "most AMG models seem to be geared towards a middle age+, moderately overweight, non-athletic executive type who drives in a straight line from A to B"

    You're more or less right on the nose regarding the main demographic...but then again, that's the main demographic of just about every car at these price levels, from Porsches to Ferraris to M cars. At least around my area...you'll see a balding suit in the same percentage of F430s as you'll see in M5s or S55s or 911s (esp Turbos).

    For the most part, I don't think the cars get put to use until their first owner tires of it. I know of a group of younger guys who have now-affordable previous model (especially non-kompressor) AMG cars who modify the cars and now and them does push them to a higher limit. I'm 28, not a suit, was athletic in my younger days anyway (lol), drive an AMG car as my commuter, and now and then love to toss it hard into a long corner just to see what happens. I've been pleasantly surprised. A maintained one is a luxo-performance bargain.

    I do believe that AMG cars have a stodgier image than the others, and for good reason...the auto-only and MB bodywork creates that. It's not a bad thing, sleeper cars are a good idea.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    I can think of far more people who would want a luxurious automatic GT with monstrous power.

    To us maybe the M-cars' niche seems more natural, but we're weird. The normal conventions are "fast = power", "luxurious = soft and automatic", and "expensive = fast and luxurious". (At least I get that impression from people.) And by those conventions, AMG is the perfect type of car to aspire to.
    Case in point, one of my coworkers can't stop talking about his Jeep Grand Cherokee with a Hemi and how fast it is. He feels like he's reached the pinnacle of motorsport in it. Lexus will be the next entrant in the big competition, and just wait to see how much flak they get for going after the bigger market by chasing AMG instead of M.

    Unfortunately for M-cars, a lot of the people who want to drive something purely sporty will want their car to look like a sports car too; slapping an angry body kit and ricey air vents on a staid luxo-sedan still leaves you with a boxy 3-box family car.

    (But yes, AMG does have to stop putting its badge on every Mercedes it can get a hold of. Sorry for following the M vs AMG topic instead.)
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "At least around my area...you'll see a balding suit in the same percentage of F430s as you'll see in M5s or S55s or 911s (esp Turbos)."

    Ouch, now I'm beginning to wonder why I started this topic. Bald no, suit not very often, but about 25 lbs over my "fighting weight"... :cry:

    "I'm 28, not a suit, was athletic in my younger days anyway (lol), drive an AMG car as my commuter, "

    Which, for what it's worth, is 4 years younger than my peak athletic shape, so you've still got your better years ahead of you if you don't get too lazy with that AMG. ;)

    redsoxgirl: I think we could venture into dangerous waters trying to describe the demographics, psychographics and waisteline of AMG vs. M or Porsche buyers. I'm already being embarrassed into a vigorous workout routine by my 8 year old who was looking through an old photo album, saw a 1991 +/- picture of me with a six-pack and asked "what happened"? :surprise:
  • Today I saw a CLS and it looked like an AMG model. Had all of the proper body work and the AMG badge etc. Then I saw the model designation...

    It was a CLS500 not a CLS55...
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,902
    Ha, if I get too lazy I won't be able to fit in those seats! Especially with the lumbar pumped up. They aren't made for larger people. A guy I work with has hinted at getting a joyride in the car...he's about 6'4" 300 or so...but upon looking at the car, he didn't know if he'd fit very well. MB's have always had a lot of butt-room (like a 126 - I had inches on each side of me in those big old buckets) but some cars might not be the same. I should see a C55 or E55 and see if it is the same. Oh well..it's been all downhill since I was 23 or so, but as long as I can get into that car, I'm happy enough.

    I think the demographics for most of these cars are more or less identical. Simply, the young (and assumedly fit) usually can't afford such machinery. I'm not completely shallow though, so I don't care too much, other than snickering at the Martin Prince-as-a-grown-up looking guy I see in his F430 Spider.

    Looks like the W221 AMG is on the streets
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The new W211 AMG package cars do indeed wear an AMG badge on the back. I've seen them myself. That's the whole issue, MB itself is cheapening the badge by putting it on a car where it doesn't belong.

    Must be a Canadian thing because here in the U.S. they don't and there is no AMG package for the E-Class on the U.S. market for 2007. None of the U.S. models wear an AMG badge unless it is the real thing.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well if you don't get or see the appeal nothing I can explain to you here will make you get or see it, IMO.

    And I still didn't "get" it. If I had to guess, most AMG models seem to be geared towards a middle age+, moderately overweight, non-athletic executive type who drives in a straight line from A to B, doesn't enjoy driving that much and doesn't want to test their driving skills, but wants to occaionally be able to show off to the kid in the Mustang at the stoplight. That's probably excessively cruel on my part, but I would like to hear your thoughts on who buys an E55 over the former M5, or who buys an SLK55 or CLK55 over a Boxster S or 911.

    Yeah that is excessively cruel and way off-base IMO. A SLK55 or CLK55 are far more atheltic than your post implies. Not everyone is a race car driver or wants the other comfort related compromises of a Porsche compared to a Mercedes, but it doesn't mean they can't drive or that they hate driving, that is absurd otherwise they'd buy a regular SLK or CLK. The AMGs (except the SLK55) are really GT cars not dedicated track sports cars. Regarding the previous BMW M5 and the E55, the person that buys the M5 wanted a sportier car with a manual and the E55 buyer din't want to row their own gears and they preferred comfort over all out sport, would be my guess. What would be the point of a Mercedes or AMG vehicle if they're supposed to be duplicates of a Porsche or BMW?

    As far as the demographics are concerned, not many young folks outside of the various entertainment/sports industries can afford an AMG vehicle, especialy the high-end ones. Face it folks with money in American are just as fat as their wallets in most cases, doesn't matter what kind of (expensive) car they drive.

    M
  • I guess the CLS500 I saw yesterday with the full AMG package and the AMG badge was just a hallucination then.
  • I remember when AMG was still considered to be a tuner and they worked over a 300E in the 80s by dropping in a V8 from the 560 and called it the hammer or something. That seemed like the pre-cusor to the 500E on the 124 platform. That was such a sweet ride. If I was old enough to drive a Mercedes automatic, that one would be very sweet.
  • Maybe the owner added 'AMG' badges to a trim package car?
  • Could have. Mercedes should not let you do that though. For Land Rovers if you want to buy one of the special vehicle badges or a badge that goes to one of the limited edition vehicles like a Westminister, Holland & Holland or numbered Defender badge then you have to supply a VIN. If the VIN does not match a special edition vehicle then you cannot get the badge.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,902
    I didn't see any of these cars in Canada. It's all been Seattle. I'm not making this up.

    The first one (AMG badged E350) I saw didn't even have plates yet, it was brand new. I don't know if most new MB owners are so ambitious. Heck, I live about 2 miles from a MB dealer, over the coming weekend I might take a peek and see if any AMG package cars are sitting on the lot.

    I'm pretty sure I've seen a non AMG "AMG" CLS too.

    I wonder if those Rover badges can be had on ebay...I know any MB badge can be found there.
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