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Pleased with the early reaction to the 2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S, the car he considers the pinnacle of his two-decade career at AMG thus far, chairman Tobias Moers doesn’t have much time to rest on those laurels. Nor is he content to. Following the GT S out of the pipe is the new C63, the car that will be the performance marque’s volume player. We sat down with him for a broad, 19-minute chat during the L.A. auto show press days last week.
Featuring the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 used in the AMG GT, the C63 takes a fine automobile and should turn up its wick past 11. Moers claims the C benefited immensely from the GT program, notably in its active engine mounts. “[The active powertrain mounts are] more important with a transaxle layout,” he notes. “Because you have the engine and gearbox and it’s all linked with a torque tube, it’s one body and inflects a little more than a standard powertrain. But even in a standard layout, where you have the engine and the gearbox in front, it’s important to control the movement of the engine.” The AMG Chassis Control system, which metes out commands to the electronically controlled diff on the GT S and C63, was developed simultaneously for both cars. Moers also claims that the C will share the GT’s instantaneous throttle response.
“Nobody,” he claims, lapsing into a parodic critic’s voice, “will miss the good old 6.2-liter naturally aspirated engine.” We poke a hole in his hyperbolic zeppelin, noting that plenty of people miss that engine. Moers relents, realizing he’s been caught in his own bluster. He utters quietly, “It’s a nice engine, yeah.”
But one doesn’t get to be the head of AMG by being namby-pamby, and the Freiburg native is soon back on the horse, expounding upon the fantasticness of the AMG C-class line, suggesting that an estate version might make it to our shores. “Looking forward to the C wagon and sedan . . .” A pause. “Well, not the wagon, because Americans don’t like it. But the E63 wagon is a very accepted car in the U.S. And maybe so in the future with the C wagon.” If this is true, 93 percent of American automotive journalists just retired to their bunks.
If the opposite of a family hauler is a motorcycle, and if the inverse of monolithic Daimler is tiny MV Agusta, then the conversation must’ve just flipped a 180, because we’re suddenly discussing the division’s new investment in Agusta. Moers claims that the stake in the motorcycle brand has to do with AMG looking for “access to a different buyer. We’re established in the world of four-wheel performance, but we don’t have access to two-wheel performance. And two-wheel guys are always interested in riding a performance bike. They’re always interested in fast cars and performance cars. And now we have a different approach. They’ll consider us maybe. This will help us to gain a little more momentum in sales and our marketing efforts.”
Expect to see Mercedes using MV as a sales idea lab, possibly adding MV Agusta stores to M-B dealerships, definitely putting bikes on display with AMG products, and just generally figuring out the benefits of the synergies. In the U.S., that means greatly expanding Agusta’s nigh-nonexistent dealer network. Parts availability is another grumble levied by MV owners. However, if one gets the chance to even sit on something like the Brutale Dragster, it becomes apparent why Daimler’s so interested in the brand. MV, much like AMG did prior to Daimler’s purchase of the Affalterbach tuning shop, has a fully developed aesthetic and identity, as well as a glorious midcentury motorsport history including wins at the Isle of Man TT with John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, and Giocomo Agostini. Suffice to say, it’s an interesting pairing, and we’re curious to see how it plays out in the long term.
Talk returns to the AMG GT and its future variants. Moers doesn’t deny that a convertible’s on the way and confirms that there will be a Black Series, “but more later than sooner. Before the Black Series, there will be a nice car.” We ask him whether it will be some sort of GT3/Cup-type machine. “We had a close look at a Cup series, but I don’t know if we can make it. It’s complicated to tell today.” Expect this future variant to be about two years out. Reading between the lines, it’s pretty clear that the new car will slot in between the GT S and the future Black Series. He also suggests that’ll have some of that AMG-at-its-best voodoo that made the last-generation C63 Black such a marvelous car to spend time in.First Drive: Mercedes-AMG GT S Johan de Nysschen: Cadillac Diesels in 2019, Possible 911 Fighter in a Decade Mercedes-AMG Pricing, Specs, Photos, News, Reviews, and More
Moers comes of as almost an accidental executive. An engineer first, he cares about product and will unabashedly speak about it in ways that must make his handlers uncomfortable in their seats. When asked what his dream project would be, given a clean sheet and a sizable budget, he answers flatly, “Not an SUV.” He continues on, lamenting the impossibility of his fantasy program. “We’re not able to make it. Nobody’s able to make it. It’s a real. performing small sports car. But you need a purpose-built design for this. It’s what I would like to do as an engineer, but company-wise, nobody can do a business case for it. The Miata is not what I have in mind. It must be very special, very dedicated, with the same feeling on a track like the GT. It’s not feasible. It’s a dream and it’s never going to happen.”
Wanna get in the Guinness Book of World Records? All you’ve gotta do is beat these guys, who took a BMW M4 and blasted 10 donuts around a MINI in one minute. Oh, but the MINI was balancing on two wheels the entire time. Maybe this one isn’t quite as easy as we thought.
Drivers Zhang Shengjun in the M4 and Han Yue in the MINI pulled off the stunt in Chongqing, China on November 14th. The crowd, understandably, loved it. It’s like an automotive ballet, the M4 seemingly looming closer to the MINI on every pass, the little hatchback delicately balancing on tiptoe.
The two master drivers make this stunt look easy, but seriously, don’t try this at home. Unless you’ve a nice long driveway, two nerves-of-steel drivers, an M4 and a MINI, and you don’t mind potentially crunching them in a quest for an obscure Guinness World Record.
The 2015 Golf R drops into dealer lots this spring, featuring Volkswagen’s well-known Direct Shift Gearbox as its only transmission offering. As we reported last week, that dual-clutch-automatic car will retail for $37,415. However, if you prefer to row your own and are willing to wait a bit, you’ll save some cash.R’med and Ready: 2015 Volkswagen Golf R Pricing Released! 2015 Volkswagen Golf R SportWagen: A 296-hp, Long-Roofed Object of Lust Volkswagen Golf R Pricing, Specs, Photos, News, Reviews, and More
In the summer of ’15, VW will release the 2016 Golf R. Pricing should carry over for the automatic model, but the manual option becomes available and it’ll save you a cool $1100 bucks over the DSG. We expect manual models to be as much as a half-second slower to 60 (we estimate the DSG R should do the deed in 4.7 seconds with launch-control engaged), but, hey, there’s often a trade-off when it comes to savings. The Golf R is no exception. The Germans, after all hate exceptions.