Mercedes Benz & AMG Performance & Tuning
AMG was founded as a racing engine forge in 1967 under the name AMG Motorenbau und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (AMG Engine Production and Development, Ltd.), by former Mercedes engineers Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher in Burgstall an der Murr, near Stuttgart. The letters "AMG" stand for Aufrecht, Melcher and Großaspach (Aufrecht's birth Town). In 1976 most of AMG moved to Affalterbach, with the racing-engine development remaining at the old location in Burgstall. At this time Erhard Melcher ceased to be a partner, but continued to be an employee at the Burgstall location.
In 1993, with AMG having become a high-profile purveyor of modified Mercedes cars, Daimler-Benz AG and AMG signed a contract of cooperation, allowing AMG to leverage Daimler-Benz's extensive dealer network and leading to commonly developed vehicles (the first one being the Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG, in 1993).
On 1 January 1999 DaimlerChrysler, as it was called between 1998 and 2007, acquired 51 percent of AMG shares, and AMG was renamed to Mercedes-AMG GmbH. Racing engine development was divested and continues to exist in Burgstall under the name HWA (Aufrecht's initials). On 1 January 2005 Aufrecht sold his remaining shares to DaimlerChrysler, and since then Mercedes-AMG GmbH has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG.
Development of the product range
During the early 1980s and up until 1990, AMG offered a variety of engine performance packages, alloy wheels and styling products as an entirely independent company from Daimler-Benz. In 1990, AMG signed a co-operation agreement with Daimler-Benz, and AMG options and cars were then offered in Mercedes-Benz showrooms; in 1999 Daimler AG, then known as DaimlerChrysler AG, bought the controlling share of AMG and made them part of the official Mercedes-Benz line-up.
Typical AMG performance enhancements, which could all be custom ordered by the buyer, included increased engine displacements (5.2 litre, 5.4 litre), performance top ends which included port and polished heads/intake, lightened valvetrain and more aggressive cams. The DOHC 32V engine had also just been developed and was the pinnacle of AMG performance. A Getrag five-speed manual transmission could be ordered from AMG, and Mercedes had not offered a manual transmission V8 since the early 1970s.
The performance wheels offered during the same period were 15-inch or 16-inch ATS AMG Five Spoke Road Wheels, commonly referred to as Pentas. Penta was actually a UK-based company that supplemented the high demand for the AMG wheel at the time with a replica and only a very slight styling difference, but they were not made or endorsed by AMG. The genuine AMG wheels were often coupled with an AMG performance suspension package which included uprated/lowered springs and revalved shock absorbers.
Another popular cosmetic upgrade were the AMG body kits.
These ranged from subtle front spoilers, to an aggressive Wide Body kits for the W126 coupes. Other options included Recaro seats, smaller diameter steering wheels, instrument clusters, chrome delete option (all brightworks colour-coded or painted satin black), refrigerators, shift knobs, hi-fi stereo systems, custom upholstery and enhanced interior wood packages.
The release of the AMG Hammer sedan in 1986, based on the W124 E-Class, took AMG's performance modifications for a fast midsized sedan to a new level. AMG made the world's fastest passenger sedan at the time, nicknamed the Hammer, by squeezing Mercedes 5.6-litre V8 tuned by AMG to 360 hp into a midsized sedan. It was very aggressive for the era, with 32-valve cylinder heads and twin camshafts, and said to be faster than the Lamborghini Countach from 60 to 120 mph. Later models were even more powerful and introduced the 17-inch AMG Aero 1 Hammer wheels. 1986 was also the year Mercedes introduced the 560 M117 engine. This provided yet another opportunity for customers to order the largest AMG displacement available at the time, the 6L 100 mm bore SOHC or DOHC engines available for both the W126 coupe and sedans.
Through the early 2000s, AMG focused principally on supercharged V8 and V6 engines, but the company officially abandoned this technology in 2006 with the introduction of the naturally aspirated 6.2 L M156 V8. On 16 January 2006, Mercedes-AMG Chairman Volker Mornhinweg told AutoWeek that the company would use turbocharging for higher output rather than supercharging. For 2011, AMG released the M157 5.5L biturbo V8 which has supplanted the M156 in its full-sized cars such as the S-Class and CL-Class (and is trickling down to the CLS, E-Class and ML-class).
In 2012, Mercedes-AMG Chairman Olla Kallenius said that Mercedes-AMG will not produce diesel engines to compete with BMW's tri-turbo diesels (BMW M Performance range).
Although these are considered the most well known in-house tuning divisions, Mercedes-AMG has a considerably different philosophy than BMW M. Mercedes-AMG has created high-performance versions of many of its nameplates, including flagship sedans and SUVs, while BMW M has emphasized tuning only vehicles with "Lateral agility" (which has long been only their 3 Series, 5 Series, and roadsters).
Compared to BMW M, Mercedes-AMG is "less narrow in its sporting focus, yet still combining sledgehammer performance with relaxed handling, cultured comfort, and practicality".
While founders Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher had emphasized proper racing cars, Mercedes-AMG had diverged considerably from this philosophy in recent years, with their offerings being well known for straight-line acceleration but poor handling dynamics. However, current Mercedes-AMG chairman Volker Mornhinweg has urged the division to return to its roots of building sports cars.
Motor racingIn the late 1960s and early 1970s, AMG entered the big Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 V8 saloon, affectionately named the "Red Sow", in the 1971 Spa 24 Hours, and the European Touring Car Championship. AMG and Mercedes worked together on Mercedes-Benz W201 cars for the 1988 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM, German Touring Car Championship). AMG was made the official partner.
When DaimlerChrysler acquired a majority share of AMG in 1999, the motor racing department was divested into HWA AG. Their first car was the ill-fated Mercedes-Benz CLR. Since 2000, HWA builds and runs the cars for Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), as well as the M271 engine tuned for use in Formula 3.
Since 2010, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3s has been competing in GT competitions around the world, such as the FIA GT3 European Championship, Blancpain Endurance Series, Blancpain Sprint Series, VLN, 24 Hours of Nurburgring, British GT Championship, Super GT, Australian GT Championship, Bathurst 12 Hour, Dubai 24 Hour, Macau GT Cup and Pirelli World Challenge.
In late 2011, after the close of the Formula 1 season, Mercedes GP Petronas announced that it would be using the AMG branding for its Formula 1 efforts, changing its name to Mercedes AMG Petronas for the 2012 season onwards.
Three AMG E Class V8 Supercars will compete in the Australian V8 Supercars Championship from 2013, with the newly formed partnership of Erebus Motorsport and Stone Brothers Racing Teams operating under a Customer Sports Program of AMG