What do you think of when you hear these three letters? AMG. In recent years they’ve become synonymous with injecting steroids into well-to-do Mercedes-Benz road cars, such that mentioning the name might conjure vestigial whiffs of delaminated Pirelli in the nostrils of car enthusiasts.
JUL 12th 2017
Exploring Mercedes‑AMG's incredible 50‑year history at FOS
To see AMG in this very post-millenium way does it a disservice, however. As you may already know, they’re celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. Following their celebrations at the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard, we simply had to give them the floor.
Aufrecht and Melcher were working their magic as early as 1967, entering their 300SEL 6.3 “Red Sow” into the 1971 Spa 24-hours. Their names make up the A and the M, and Aufrecht’s hometown, Großaspach, is the G. AMG have essentially been at the head of any and all Mercedes efforts in saloon car racing ever since, making the three-pointed star a staple emblem on DTM grids since 1988. Little needs to be said of their incredible recent efforts in F1 other than to quote their three on-the-trot constructor’s championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016 – an AMG has clinched top spot in over 85% of GP races over the past three years. Reigning F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg put on a spectacular smokey limiter-bashing show, demonstrating his 2014 Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport F1 W05 Hybrid at FOS.
Though we associate AMG with silly grins and tyre-slaying, the quality of engineering with Mercedes is second to few, with their engine-building, development and tuning services being renowned the world over. Italian supercar manufacturer Pagani has since its foundation exclusively used AMG-sourced V12 engines – powerplants to which the Pagani name owes much of its accrued mythos.
Since being absorbed into Mercedes-Benz as their official tuning and racing arm in the late ‘90s, AMG has continued to develop credible hard-hitting rivals for the likes of BMW M GmbH and Audi Sport and has developed into a show-stopping halo brand for Mercedes. As of 2010 and the release of the SLS AMG, Mercedes-AMG, as it is now known, is a bona fide manufacturer, with the marque developing and manufacturing the sports coupe and its successor, the AMG GT, in-house. Coming within the next 18 months will be the road-faring celebration of their F1 success, with the Project One hypercar sporting over 1,000bhp from its V6 hybrid F1-derived powertrain.
AMG’s engine work as of this year will spread further beyond the established Mercedes and Pagani umbrella, into Aston Martin. The first product to feel the benefits of this technical partnership was the excellent DB11 and the V8 version that debuted at FOS will hit showrooms by the end of the year.
Impressive as they are, other performance arms of this type simply don’t have the spread of achievements such that AMG has. Some have their names to multi-million-pound hypercars, others have home-grown in-house sportscars. All of them seem to have nailed the advantageous brand marketing side of having a halo performance brand, but AMG has a slice of all those pies, and more. From hypercars to trim lines, tuning, engine building, racing, consulting, manufacturing and more, AMG has in its 50 years proven its prowess in all. Then, of course, there’s the lunacy of the cars we all know and love, for which AMG has become famous but should not be exclusively known.
What does the future hold? Based on everything we’ve established, only expansion and ascension, we suspect. With on-going F1 domination, the F1-powered hypercar on the horizon and the promise of new and spectacular models year-on-year, we don’t see the AMG onslaught slowing anytime soon. Long may they power on. We can’t wait to see that hypercar in action on the Hill in the not too distant future.
Photography by Tom Shaxson, Jayson Fong, Drew Gibson, Jochen Van Cauwenberge, Nigel Harniman and George Gunn