Mercedes-Benz went down a similar path as BMW with its cars recently. Instead of making full-fledged AMG vehicles, Mercedes made AMG Sport modes, much like BMW’s M Sport models. For example, the Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG is a standard C Class with some AMG tuned chassis bits, some cool trim and a shouty exhaust. But Mercedes didn’t call if a true AMG model. Now, however, that’s going to change and all of these AMG Sport models are moving up in the world.
So now the C450 AMG will be called the Mercedes-AMG C43 AMG and the Mercedes-AMG E43 and SLC43 will follow. These will be genuine Affalterbach-made models. This actually goes against AMG’s mantra a bit, the whole “One man, one engine” deal where each AMG engine is hand-built by one engineer and their name is engraved in a plate that’s slapped on the engine cover. The 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged V6 in these “43 AMG” won’t be built by hand by one engineer, but like every other Mercedes-Benz engine.
However, we’ve also seen a recent departure of BMW M’s standards a bit, as the new BMW M2 does not have a bespoke M engine, but one shared with non-M BMWs. We’ve also seen BMW with its continued M Sport models, such as the M235i, X4 M40i and possible upcoming M340i. It seems as if the Germans are noticing that many customers want those premium performance and motorsport-inspired badges, but can’t always afford them. So BMW and Mercedes are offering M and AMG cars for less money to a wider audience.
Many BMW fans dislike this direction for the Bavarian brand, as they feel it dilutes the pure motorsport image of the M Division, having its badges slapped on more plebeian cars. However, BMW’s M Division isn’t going to be nearly as diluted as Mercedes’ AMG. Mercedes is making these cars actual AMG models without them actually being AMG-developed vehicles. BMW isn’t claiming that these M Sport models are true M cars, but standard BMW cars with some M Division bits on them. Mercedes is promoting cars to AMG status without the proper AMG tech. That’s like giving James Bond double-0 status with only one kill. There’s just something wrong about it.
Although, one must admit that Mercedes will likely sell a ton of these cars, as it offers customers a new way to get into a proper AMG for a lower entry fee. Hopefully, BMW doesn’t get any ideas from watching Mercedes and make the M235i and X4 M40i proper M cars somehow. Although, this does start to show a trend in Germany where the brand’s are trying to get customers into their more performance-oriented model lines.