Mercedes-AMG Considering Development of Porsche 718 Rival

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
mercedes amg considering development of porsche 718 rival

Depending on who you ask, the 718 Cayman is the best car in Porsche’s lineup. It’s not the fastest or the nicest, and you’ll have to spend a bundle if you want it equipped with luxury features. But it does offer a reasonably entry point into pure driving enjoyment without a lot of gimmicks.

While a bevy of cheaper options exist, the 718 strikes a balance that’s difficult to beat. Most American rivals have the right spirit but not the necessary precision, and competition from Japan doesn’t really exist. We can praise the Mazda MX-5 or Subaru BRZ as an overwhelmingly satisfying experience all day, but neither occupy the same category as the $56,500 Porsche.

The 718 needs a mass-market rival that wears an identical price tag and hosts a similar personality, if only to force it to step up its own game. But there isn’t one — not yet, anyway. Mercedes-Benz is currently working on a successor to the SLC and, while that vehicle isn’t really fit for taking down the Porsche, reports have indicated its replacement just might be.

Presently, Cayman only has two semi-legitimate competitors in the United States — the Chevrolet Corvette and BMW’s M2. However, it’s difficult to draw a direct comparison with either. The base Corvette offers incredible levels of performance but it’s more about power-per-dollar than poise. Meanwhile, the M2 manages to best the Porsche in practicality and noise but falls a little short almost everywhere else. In fact, we’re only comparing it to the 718 because there is really nothing else on the market that fits the bill.

Fortunately, that could change in a few years. According to Autocar, a new AMG model was presented to Mercedes-Benz’s board of management as an indirect successor to the SLC. The model is rumored to be rear engined, with roadster and fixed-roof variants to rival the 718 Boxster and Cayman, specifically.

“A lot of thought has gone into how Mercedes-AMG can better leverage its success in motorsport, particularly Formula 1 and endurance racing,” said one senior Mercedes-Benz manager. “One idea is a sports car that is relatively attainable financially and ideally suited to track day running. But it is just an idea and not a committed project right now.”

There were rumors that AMG’s next big project would be an SUV, since they move in greater volumes. However, going with a serious performance coupe with an attainable price tag would open the door to track-day enthusiasts. “It’s a rapidly growing business segment and it is high exposure for the brand,” Autocar’s source said. “From a marketing perspective, it makes great sense, but you also need to ensure that it is financially viable in sufficient volumes and at a price to make it attractive to car buyers on a global basis. It would be additional business for AMG, not targeted at existing customers but new ones.”

Nothing’s decided as of yet, and Mercedes’ management board could certainly shoot the idea down if it doesn’t believe there’s money to be made. However, if it is built, a rear-engine setup seems to be a real possibility.

“Project One represents the start of a new era for Mercedes-AMG, not only in terms of the electrified driveline but also the placement of it behind the cabin,” the manager said. “Just how it will affect future models remains to be seen. However, a mid-rear layout is no longer taboo.”

[Image: Daimler AG]

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  • IBx1 IBx1 on Jul 12, 2018

    Hans, cancel ze SLK! Dieter, quick, get in here, we need something to compete mit ze Boxster. Be quiet Hans!

  • Voyager Voyager on Jul 25, 2018

    Ah, but you're forgetting all about the new Alpine A110. "What's that? Oh right, it does not come to the U.S." ;-) If it were, Trump would put a hefty tariff on it.

  • Lou_BC "Owners of affected Wrangles" Does a missing "r" cancel an extra stud?
  • Slavuta One can put a secret breaker that will disable the starter or spark plug supply. Even disabling headlights or all lights will bring more trouble to thieves than they wish for. With no brake lights, someone will hit from behind, they will leave fingerprints inside. Or if they steal at night, they will have to drive with no lights. Any of these things definitely will bring attention.I remember people removing rotor from under distributor cup.
  • Slavuta Government Motors + Government big tech + government + Federal police = fascist surveillance state. USSR surveillance pales...
  • Johnster Another quibble, this time about the contextualization of the Thunderbird and Cougar, and their relationship to the prestigious Continental Mark. (I know. It's confusing.) The Thunderbird/Mark IV platform introduced for the 1971 model year was apparently derived from the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform (also introduced for the 1971 model year), but should probably be considered different from it.As we all know, the Cougar shared its platform with the Ford Mustang up through the 1973 model year, moving to the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform for the 1974 model year. This platform was also shared with the failed Ford Gran Torino Elite, (introduced in February of 1974, the "Gran Torino" part of the name was dropped for the 1975 and 1976 model years).The Thunderbird/Mark series duo's separation occurred with the 1977 model year when the Thunderbird was downsized to share a platform with the LTD II/Cougar. The 1977 model year saw Mercury drop the "Montego" name and adopt the "Cougar" name for all of their mid-sized cars, including plain 2-doors, 4-doors and and 4-door station wagons. Meanwhile, the Cougar PLC was sold as the "Cougar XR-7." The Cougar wagon was dropped for the 1978 model year (arguably replaced by the new Zephyr wagon) while the (plain) 2-door and 4-door models remained in production for the 1978 and 1979 model years. It was a major prestige blow for the Thunderbird. Underneath, the Thunderbird and Cougar XR-7 for 1977 were warmed-over versions of the failed Ford Elite (1974-1976), while the Mark V was a warmed-over version of the previous Mark IV.
  • Stuart de Baker This is depressing, and I don't own one of these.