Mercedes Launching More Affordable AMG Sport Line

New performance models will offer AWD as standard feature.

by on Dec.01, 2014

The first two AMG Sport models are set to make their debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month.

It will cost you a modest $29,900 to slip inside the popular Mercedes-Benz CLA, the maker’s entry-level sedan. But should you want to pump up the power and performance, expect to push that price tag up to $47,450 for the AMG-badged CLA45.

But as part of its bid to double sales over the next few years, the German maker is launching an all-new line of performance models that will slot between the “base” Mercedes family and the top-end performance division. To be called AMG Sport, we’ll get a first look at two new models when the Detroit Auto Show rolls into town a little more than a month from now.

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“The new Sport models represent a convincing proposition for our customers: genuine sports car technology becomes accessible, appealing to an even broader-ranging clientele worldwide,” explains Tobias Moers, chairman of the Mercedes-AMG management board. “In the next three years we aim to more than double our total sales for 2013.”

In an interview with Britain’s Auto Express, Moers put the move into a more colorful perspective, suggesting that, “if the  is Batman, then the C450 AMG Sport is Robin.”

The C450 AMG Sport will be one of the first two offerings, alongside the GLE450 Coupe AMG Sport. For those unfamiliar with the GLE designation, that’s the newly renamed version of the old Mercedes-Benz ML-Class sport-utility vehicle. Last month, parent Daimler AG revealed a broad shift in the marque’s nomenclature. Going forward, standard-issue models will maintain the Mercedes-Benz name, but top performers like the new GT will be dubbed Mercedes-AMG models. And a new line of super-premium offerings will follow the logic of the Mercedes-Maybach S600 that debuted at the LA Auto Show.

(Click Here to check out the new Mercedes-Maybach S600.)

Mercedes isn’t the only luxury maker taking the “Sport” strategy. BMW launched a line of M Sport models several years ago, and Cadillac has a V-Sport sub-brand that doesn’t quite deliver the level of performance of a true V-Series model like the ATS-V that also debuted in Los Angeles last month. Lexus has both F Sport and F versions of its new RC coupe family.

Audi arguably launched the strategy with its mid-range S models that provide a gateway for those not quite willing or able to stretch all the way up to top-performing products such as the Audi RS7.

According to AMG boss Moers, the AMG Sport line will be more than just a visual poseur. Among other things, it will deliver a bump in power, special AMG brakes, stiffer chassis and suspension components, and standard-issue all-wheel-drive.

There will be some noticeable visual differences to distinguish AMG and AMG Sport models. The teaser image released by Mercedes shows the C450 AMG Sport getting a single-bar accenting its pin grille, while its large front air intakes go with body color paint, rather than being blacked out, like the C63.

(First look: Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake. Click Hereto check it out.)

The first two AMG Sport models, meanwhile, are expected to be powered by a 360-horsepower version of the 3.0-liter V-6 currently making 329-hp in the Mercedes-Benz C400. That’s still no challenge for the 469-hp C63 AMG, however, nor the 503-hp C63 AMG S.

Nonetheless, Mercedes is clearly hoping the mid-range performance models will find a significant audience, especially in places like Southern California – which already accounts for about a quarter of global AMG sales. The Affalterbach-based unit has been gaining ground rapidly in recent years. Sales hit a record 32,000 in 2013 and are expected to reach 40,000 this year, according to Moers. While it didn’t set a specific target, it appears something north of 64,000 would be the goal in 2017.

(For a complete look at all the LA Auto Show debuts, Click Here.)

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2 Responses to “Mercedes Launching More Affordable AMG Sport Line”

  1. veh says:

    so on one hand they’re moving to clarify model naming, and on the other they’re adding this.

  2. Mike says:

    The market for cars that cost a year’s average US wage, give or take a few weeks, is sure getting crowded.

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