The current Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG Sport is a slighter hotter variant of the C Class, but slots below than the full-blown Mercedes-AMG C63, and competes with BMW’s 340i. This will soon be dubbed the Mercedes-AMG C43 and the tactic is basically Mercedes’ version of BMW’s M Performance models. The newest iteration of this AMG Sport branding will be the Mercedes-AMG E43 that will make its debut at the New York Auto Show in a couple of weeks.
Based off the new 10th generation E Class, which recently made its debut, the new Mercedes-AMG E43 will pack a twin-turbocharged 3.0 liter V6 engine and pack 396 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. That power will be sent through Mercedes’ new ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic gearbox and will likely power all four wheels. This new E Class is considerably lighter than the generation it replaces, so this new E43 AMG model should be quite fast with nearly 400 hp.
With Mercedes-Benz coming out with a new pseudo-AMG E Class, will it force BMW’s hand and make the Bavarians create an M Sport variant of the 5 Series, such as an M540i?
I think it’s likely, as we’ve heard BMW discuss the option of creating M Performance variants of each and ever model. Considering the success of the M235i, it’s quite possible that we will see an M340i and M540i in the near future.
BMW is currently working on a new 5 Series, based on the same new lightweight architecture that underpins the new BMW 7 Series, and it should be looking to take the lead in the segment. If Mercedes-Benz is creating a less expensive way to get into the AMG brand in the segment, it only makes that BMW would want to compete with its own less expensive M variant.
BMW could use an upgraded version of the B58 3.0 liter TwinPower I6 engine that’s used in the new BMW 340i and 740i. BMW could easily coax 400 hp out of that engine with some tweaking and could get the next-generation 5 Series into the performance territory as the Mercedes-AMG E43. Plus BMW would have a bit of an advantage as it could offer rear-wheel drive, whereas the AMG is only 4Matic.
Personally, the idea of a BMW 540i seems like a great idea to me and for the very same reason why Mercedes is creating these pseudo-AMG models, in that it allows customers to get something that performs about 70 percent as well as the full-blown M car, but for considerably less money. Some fans may feel that it dilutes the M brand, and maybe it does, but there’s no doubt that it would sell incredibly well, just as the M235i has. Customers love this sort of thing and Mercedes-Benz seems to know it, being that its going to be making many of these models. So should BMW do the same?