Is a Mercedes AMG Worth it? Intoxicating!


AMG is a renowned racing and automotive tuning division with over 50 years in the business of building the fastest Mercedes-Benz vehicles money can buy.

AMG cars represent a greater focus on performance, handling, and style when compared to standard Mercedes models. AMG cars are built with a meticulous eye for detail, and exceptional knowledge of race-winning technologies. An abundance of bespoke performance parts and plush interior spaces are what makes AMG ownership exhilarating and wholesome.

An open-minded approach to automotive design has helped Mercedes grow into a reputable auto brand worldwide, producing exceedingly-good vehicles for people in a spectrum of financial positions. Open-mindedness is also a trait behind AMG’s origin story, when two engineers came together to create the fastest Mercedes race cars, before later focusing their efforts on bringing high-performance modifications to roadgoing Mercedes cars.

AMG-Mercedes

AMG at a glance

In the presence of an AMG Mercedes, the eyes are often drawn to tasteful aesthetic details first, like custom wheels, wider fenders, black grilles, AMG emblems, lower skirts, and wide use of carbon fiber.

Giving each AMG car a bite to match the ominous looks lies a cutting-edge engine with components unseen on standard Mercedes cars. In recent years, technologies featured on AMG cars can be directly traced to enormous investment and dedication to developing future technologies in Formula 1, a sport in which Mercedes enjoyed nearly a whole decade of immense success.

AMG engines have been carefully hand-built by expert technicians and engineers since the very beginning. Every time an AMG engine is brought to life, there is no mistaking the exquisite, ear-imploding symphonies that pulsate with every touch of the gas pedal.

Each car possesses a unique vocal range, exceptional throttle response, and impressive 0-60 performance spreading to the larger vehicles, like saloons and SUVs, that make otherwise ordinary drives, ones to cherish and look forward to.

AMG vs Base models

Mercedes-AMG-interior

To cater to a diverse range of markets across the globe, Mercedes has historically offered a substantial selection of optional extras, liberating buyers to dream up the ideal Mercedes for their lifestyle. As Mercedes has been synonymous with government officials, royalty, and the rich and famous for as long as we can remember, many odd creations exist, from bulletproof-windowed limousines to V8-powered hearses.

Towards the top of the standard Mercedes vehicle range in each respective class, AMG-style features begin to feature, such as wheels, exhaust trims, interior features, or aerodynamic components.

Beyond what the standard Mercedes range represents, AMG produces beefed-up variants of each class, with more sophisticated engines and driver aids, larger, lightweight wheels and tires, sports suspension, larger brakes, a limited-slip differential, and custom exhaust, and one-off interior design options.

The class-designation letter is often followed by 2 digits. The digits that form the name of the vehicle, like the G63 or SL55, do not correspond to engine capacity, but rather a tribute to classic models in Mercedes’ illustrious racing career.

How AMG was born

AMG was founded in the mid-sixties by two former Daimler-Benz engineers, Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher, both from Germany. The skilled pair of engineers became acquaintances while working to develop a capable race engine for the Mercedes-Benz 300SE. Well, the 300SE was hardly an ideal candidate, it was a luxury car through and through, designed to enamor its guests with sublime ride quality – not designed to be mercilessly thrown around a race track like a rag doll for extended periods.

On a mission to give the 300SE more guts, and the potential to embarrass lightweight sportscars on the track, Aufrecht and Melcher borrowed the fuel-injection system from the 300SL ‘Gullwing’, which brought the horsepower from a measly 170 to a respectable 238.

Sadly, before the development of the engine could be completed, Daimler-Benz withdrew their racing team from the competition, leading to the project being scrapped, and the unfinished engine left to the now-jobless engineers.

Convinced they could be successful if they decided to go it alone, Aufrecht suggested to Melcher that they form their own company, focusing on high-spec engine development and race preparation, with the objective of breathing new life into unsuspecting Mercedes cars. Melcher agreed, and in 1967, AMG Motorenbau und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (AMG Engine Production and Development, Ltd.) was born.

The ‘Red Pig’

Red-Classic-Mercedes-AMG-racing-car

The genius duo proceeded to work on the project that would put AMG on the map and have everybody talking about them in the same breath as the name, Mercedes. The project was to prepare a Mercedes 300SEL for motor racing – no easy feat considering the long and hefty stature of the executive car, which weighed nearly 4,000lbs.

The AMG duo revitalized the 6.3l V8 from the 300SEL by replacing the camshaft, rockers, pistons, and other internal components, pushing the limits of what was safely achievable. Lightweight aluminum doors took place of the heavy standard units, while other modifications included installing fender flares to accommodate the wider tires for extra grip, giving the car a muscular, distinctive look.

The final result was a car that wouldn’t look out of place in a Mad Max film – a bright red, stripped-out Mercedes with rally spotlights, no bumpers, and a savage 6.8l engine poised under the hood, now with 430-horsepower of AMG ingenuity – dubbed the ‘Red Pig’.

The car entered the 1971 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, in Belgium, sensationally finishing 2nd place overall in a field of lighter cars after starting from 5th. The surprising result shocked everyone, perhaps including Aufrecht and Melcher. AMG continually creates race-winning cars for series such as the German touring car racing series, DTM.

With a string of victories in touring car racing and endurance races over many, many years, it was only a matter of time until AMG became the undisputed master of Mercedes tuning, gaining a worldwide reputation and client base.

AMG across the range

As has always remained true for AMG, the enhancements that bring the car to life can be experienced by some unlikely candidates. Mercedes SUVs, roadsters, 4x4s, coupes, sedans, and supercars have all received the magic AMG touch, with specific models like the SL55, SL63, G63, and AMG GT, built around a bespoke handcrafted AMG engine.

An AMG Mercedes could be the perfect adventure for newcomers or previous Mercedes owners to satisfy the longing for a sports-focused car that won’t let you down in the performance department, or in the looks category.

Unsurprisingly, we still can’t wrap our heads around the “4-door coupe” idea, what are your thoughts?

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John Cunningham

John is a writer, classic car and whiskey lover, men's shopping enthusiast and self appointed DIY expert. His greatest passion is repairing in the workshop, making old classics look and run like new again!

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