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.
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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.