Just as BMW launched their “M Sport” line of mass-produced vehicles bearing the M Badge (think 335i M Sport and the Euro-spec M550d diesel performance sedan), Mercedes-Benz is about to get in on the action with AMG-badged versions of more pedestrian models.
According to Automotive News, a C450 AMG will debut as a more performance oriented C-Class above the C400 and below the more hardcore C63 AMG. Less hardcore AMG versions of the CLA, E-Class and GLK are also expected to follow. In addition to more hardcore performance improvements, true AMG models will get more radical visual enhancements like fender flares and a wider track.
The move comes in response to Audi moving their “S” models to a more mainstream position, and positioning their RS lineup as the ultimate performance models, as well as the aforementioned move with BMW’s M cars. Cadillac is also following suit, creating a “V-Sport” line below their more extreme “V” models.
Of course, the proliferation of AMG models through the Mercedes range has led to AMG vehicles becoming less about outright performance, and more about becoming the most expensive example of a particular Mercedes model. Buyers of the ML63 AMG SUV for example, may opt for it because of the status it conveys, rather than its performance capabilities. The new AMG-lite range should capitalize on that desire, but likely won’t move the needle for buyers who must have the most expensive M-B, or nothing else.