By on January 14, 2009

Always be suspicious of peace announcements coming from Munich. Oh, wait… make that Stuttgart. I mean Großaspach. Anyway, AMG’s boss has been wondering where all the hydrocarbons have gone (long time passing). Volker Mornhinweg tells Autocar that “the horsepower war is over.” Luckily, it turns out that there are more ways to massively inflate a Mercedes price tag than just dialing up the horsepower. The new emphasis for AMG’s tuning efforts: weight saving, engine optimisation and alternative technologies. For example the new E63 AMG ( with “only” 550hp) will offer an optional, efficiency-improving manual wet-clutch gearbox. That’s the unit first seen on the SL63. Woo. Hoo. AMG also hints that smaller diesel, hybrid and four-cylinder models could be in the cards. But don’t call it eco-appeasement; the move may be more about finding some branding lebensraum. Daimler’s anschluss with Aston Martin, the emergence of AMG’s Black series and the persistence of Maybach are simply pushing AMG’s mainstream offerings in a less power-crazed (and carbon-intensive) direction.

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11 Comments on “Peace In Our Time: AMG Ends Horsepower Wars...”

  • avatar

    I hope AMG doesn’t go the way of many other European “hot” trims and start sticking their badges on 130hp shoeboxes.

  • avatar

    Butbutbutbut….Mercedes have *always* been porkers. Really…even their “sports cars” have either big and underpowered (the 190) or big rocket sleds. How do you make an economical porker?

  • avatar

    AMG has already done diesel. The AMG C30 CDi. It was the W203 C-class coupe, with AMG chassis and suspension tuning/upgrades similiar to the C32, and a worked-over turbodiesel.

  • avatar

    I love a powerful car as much as the next guy, but things really have gotten out of hand w/r/t to over-horsed cars. Aside from a track, where can one actually exploit the full complement of ponies offered up by a cars like the ZR1 or AMG’s 6.3s without risking life, limb and license? During 99.9% of driving these cars just loaf around, bored with the ho-hum driving chores theiy’re subjected to. There’s something to be said for the old maxim that it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow. Of course, that’s all true up to a point. The better solution is to have something in the middle – still quick and powerful, but not overly so. For example, where I in the market I’d take a 328 or 335 over an M3. They’re plenty quick and you don’t feel so much like their potential being wasted all the time. But something as slow and wheezy as a Smart ForTwo or a Prius? Nevah! (Let’s hope.)

  • avatar

    I still think the best idea AMG had was making the C36 and C43 (and uber rare original C55; if only they had manuals…). Since then they’ve gone wacko and have done nothing to address the massive size and weight of modern Mercedes models.

    I’d like to see some more midlevel MB “sport” models, ala BMW M/Si models. Take a solid basis like the new C-class, fettle with it a bit, give it 300-350 hp from a tuned 3.5 (whatever happened to the supercharged 3.2? Oh yeah, it got completely overshadowed by the big honking V8s), and put in a manual. That would be a good driver’s car that would make MB competitive with BMW and Infiniti in the mid level luxury sports sedan market.

    I can’t see a tuned A- or B-class turning out very well. Aside from some wacky concepts over the last decades (twin engined A-class for one), I think they would just end up being bland ricey-type hot hatches with inflated price tags. In fact I think AMG used to make cosmetic packages for the A-class, which were little more than bolt-on wheels, bodyparts and maybe some suspension pieces.

  • avatar

    talkstoanimals :
    There’s something to be said for the old maxim that it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.

    That’s so true. One of the best times I’ve had in a car was pushing a Citroen Visa to it’s limits in Southern France and Monaco.

    Taking that statement to the extreme, at home, I have some hills with winding roads that aren’t that exciting at the 30 mph limit in my cars. At 40+ mph going downhill on my bicycle, it’s another story. Can’t do that in my car because of the speed traps.

    In the Prius, the CVT contributes greatly to the boredom factor. In fact, just about anything with an automatic is a little boring for me.

  • avatar


    I agree that bombing a twist, hilly road on a bicycle is a complete blast!

    I also share your ennui w/r/t automatics and CVTs. Unfortunately, here in DC traffic is so bad that a manual ultimately becomes burdensome in the stop-and-go. The best compromise I’ve found is VW’s DSG. The left leg still gets bored, but the ability to creep in traffic, the eye-blink shifts and the burp from the turbo on upshift are all compelling reasons to love the transmission.

    Fun can be had in a Prius by trying to squeeze as many MPG from the thing as possible without being a menace to other road users by creeping along at tortoise speed. Granted, that’s a video game-esque form of entertainment rather than one related to the art of driving per se. At least it’s something though, since the Prius may represent the future of motoring.

  • avatar

    There’s a limit to the amount of power you can have a rear-drive luxury car put out without destroying tires and/or giving the traction control system a conniption at every intersection.

    AMG reached that point about two years ago, so this move isn’t surprising.

    Any more power without serious, fundamental changes in how the car is built (Veyron) was going to make the next AMG SL-Class into a deathcar.

  • avatar

    Chanberlain said, “Peace for our time”.
    You can’t make peace with nutty fascists as we are once a again learning.

    “My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is “peace for our time.” Go home and get a nice quiet sleep”

  • avatar

    Chamberlain said, “Peace for our time” after he stopped WW2 from starting.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @TEXN3 :
    AMG has already done diesel. The AMG C30 CDi. It was the W203 C-class coupe, with AMG chassis and suspension tuning/upgrades similiar to the C32, and a worked-over turbodiesel.

    The C30 was available in all C-Class body styles. That diesel was the C270 inline five-cylinder stroked to 3.0 and with a big, big turbo. It was 5-speed auto only, and when the C320 V6 came out, it was just as fast, making the AMG diesel obsolete.

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