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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: 45,650
    "the road of excess eventually leads to wisdom".

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,178
    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: 34,178
    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: 45,650
    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.

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  • 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: 34,178
    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: 34,178
    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: 34,178
    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
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,178
    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: 34,178
    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: 34,178
    "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.)
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