Not too long ago, high-priced, super-fast SUVs were so rare it could be a struggle to think of one example. Now, they’re highly visible with more coming to market all the time. Mercedes-AMG has made such vehicles a core part of its business model. Not that cars have been forgotten either, as the likes of the new A 45, A45 S, CLA 45 and CLA 45 S attest.
Mercedes-AMG’s cars range starts with multiple versions of the A-Class hatchback and sedan. The full line is as follows:
- A 35 4MATIC, A 35 4MATIC sedan and A 35 L 4MATIC sedan
- A 45 4MATIC+, A 45 4MATIC+ sedan and A 45 S 4MATIC+ sedan
The A 35 4MATIC had its world debut at the Paris motor show in October 2018. This has outputs of 225kW (306PS) and 400Nm from a turbocharged 1,991cc four-cylinder engine. A seven-speed dual clutch transmission is standard and the first deliveries took place in January. The car which premiered at the Paris show was a five-door hatchback.
The A 35 4MATIC sedan was announced in March for certain countries, including the USA. The world debut of a long-wheelbase derivative was at the following month’s Shanghai motor show. The Beijing Benz joint venture builds the A 35 L 4MATIC sedan in the Chinese capital.
The A 45 4MATIC+, which is the successor to the A 45 AMG 4MATIC, is joined by the even more powerful A 45 S 4MATIC+. Both are powered by M 139. This 1,991cc single turbo four-cylinder engine produces either 285kW (387PS) and 480Nm or 310kW (421PS) and 500Nm in the S. Turbo boost pressures are 1.9 and 2.1 bar. M 139 is claimed to be the most powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine in series production. It can be revved to 7,200rpm. What Mercedes-AMG calls a SPEEDSHIFT DCT 8G is standard. This is an eight-speed dual clutch transmission. For the moment, there are no long-wheelbase versions of the A 45 and A 45 S.
All these cars will be facelifted in 2022 and replaced in 2025. The successors are likely to use a new architecture. The current cars’ platform is MFA 2. As with all existing Mercedes-AMG vehicles, there won’t be any diesel engine option for the replacement model. That is a key differentiator between this brand and BMW M as well as Audi’s S and RS vehicles.
Mercedes-AMG doesn’t offer any cars which are based on the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, so the next model up in the hierarchy is the CLA 35 4MATIC. The sedan was a world debut at the New York auto show in April. Its engine is the same unit as the one in the A 35 4MATIC.
The other AMG versions of the CLA-Class range are the CLA 45 4MATIC+ and the CLA 45 S 4MATIC+, available as sedans and estates. As with the A 45 4MATIC+ and A 45 S 4MATIC+, these cars are powered by a 2.0-litre turbo engine, with respective outputs of 285kW (387PS) and 480Nm or 310kW (421PS) and 500Nm. Build of the sedans is underway and production of the shooting brakes will commence in September. As with all CLAs, build is at the Kecskemet plant in Hungary. A facelift is due in 2023 and a successor in 2026.
The next generation C-Class is due to arrive in 2021, to be followed soon after by successors for the C 43 and C 63. There should be two main changes, namely four-wheel drive for all variants and the replacement of the V6-powered C 43 by the C 53 4MATIC+ with a straight-six and EQ Boost hybrid powertrain. The C 63 4MATIC+ and C 63 S 4MATIC+ will retain their biturbo 4.0-litre V8s but gain power compared to today’s C 63 and C 63 S.
As for the E-Class line-up, there have been changes since the original line-up was launched back in 2016. The first car in the current shape series was the E 43 4MATIC sedan which was soon joined by an estate. It was powered by a 295kW (401hp) 3.0-litre biturbo V6 engine. Torque was 520Nm, the standard transmission was a nine-speed automatic and the car had pneumatic suspension.
The E 53 4MATIC+ replaced the E 43 4MATIC. It had its world debut first as a Coupe and a Cabriolet at the 2018 Detroit motor show. M 256 is the code for these cars’ 2,999cc in-line six-cylinder petrol engine. This produces 320kW (435hp) and 520Nm. To this are added 16kW (22hp) and 250Nm from a motor. The first cars were delivered to German dealerships in August 2018. There are also sedan and estate versions of the E 53 4MATIC+.
The E 63 4MATIC+ and E 63 S 4MATIC+ sedans were announced in October 2016 ahead of their debuts at the Los Angeles auto show. Both are powered by a biturbo 4.0-litre V8. Power and torque outputs are 420kW (571hp) and 750Nm for the E 63 and 450kW (612hp) and 850Nm for the S. The only transmission for both is Mercedes-Benz’s own Speedshift nine-speed automatic. The E 63 and E 63 S were in European dealerships from March 2017 and on sale in the US from mid-year for the 2018 model year. The E 63 4MATIC+ Estate and E 63 S 4MATIC+ Estate were world premieres at the Geneva motor show in March 2017.
There will be facelifts for all versions of the E-Class in 2020 as well as more power for the 63s. The next generation will be launched from 2023 and these cars will use the same platform as that which debuts next year with the S-Class.
As with the E-Class, there are multiple Mercedes-AMG versions of the latest CLS-Class. The new generation model launched a year ago comes only as a sedan, there being no successor for the shooting brake.
The CLS 53 4MATIC+ had its public debut at the Detroit auto show in January 2018, the first cars being in German dealership seven months later. Powering the car is the same M 256 2,999cc in-line six-cylinder petrol engine as can be found in all four E 53 variants.
Two further variants should be added later in 2019, making the line-up as follows:
- CLS 53 4MATIC+ [320kW (435PS) & 520Nm 2,999cc turbo straight six + 16kW (22PS) & 250Nm starter-alternator, nine-speed torque converter automatic]
- CLS 63 S 4MATIC [430kW (585PS) & 800Nm 3,982cc biturbo V8, nine-speed dual clutch gearbox]
- CLS 63 S 4MATIC+ [470kW (639PS) & 900Nm 3,982cc biturbo V8, nine-speed dual clutch gearbox]
A range-wide facelift is due in 2022 and three years later, the third generation model.
The GT Coupé, another car which is roughly the same size as the CLS, first became available in German dealerships in September 2018. A preview had appeared at the 2017 Geneva motor show. This was the Mercedes-AMG GT concept, a low slung four-door, four-seater coupé. The concept was followed by the production model at the 2018 Geneva show.
Unlike many AMG vehicles, this one is exclusive to the division, i.e. there is no Mercedes-Benz equivalent. And while it has pillarless doors and fastback looks, there is a bootlid rather than a tailgate.
There are four variants:
- GT 43 4MATIC+ [270kW (367PS]
- GT 53 4MATIC+ [320kW (435PS) & 520Nm 2,999cc turbo straight six + 16kW (22PS) & 250Nm EQ Boost starter-alternator, nine-speed torque converter automatic]
- GT 63 S 4MATIC [430kW (585PS) & 800Nm 3,982cc biturbo V8, nine-speed dual clutch gearbox]
- GT 63 S 4MATIC+ [470kW (639PS) & 900Nm 3,982cc biturbo V8, nine-speed dual clutch gearbox]
In the GT 53 4MATIC, even though the EQ Boost system adds extra power and torque, this does not mean that the car can be driven on electrical energy alone, as in a hybrid.
The GT line-up is still new so no changes are expected until the arrival of a facelift in 2022. The second generation model is due in 2025. It will be based upon the platform which debuts with next year’s W223 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Another vehicle which is exclusive to AMG is the GT, a 4,546mm long, front-engined, rear-wheel drive supercar powered by AMG’s 3,982cc biturbo V8. As well as there being coupe and roadster bodies, each can be ordered in base (GT), C, R or S forms.
The GT was revealed to the media in September 2014, with its public debut following a month later at the Paris motor show. Cars arrived in LHD market dealerships in March 2015. The Roadster had its world premiere at the 2016 Paris motor show.
A facelifted range was revealed at the Detroit auto show in January 2017, plus an additional variant, the GT C Coupé. In North America, the revised range was new for the 2018 model year and the GT S Roadster was added for the 2019 model year. This variant was announced in May 2018.
Facelifts for the GT Coupe and GT Roadster line-ups were revealed at the LA auto show in November 2018. Their styling was modified to emphasise links to the 4-door AMG GT Coupé. The GT R Roadster wasn’t updated at that time, Mercedes-AMG leaving it until March this year and a world debut at the Geneva motor show to announce the facelift for that derivative.
The second generation GT is due on sale in 2022 with a replacement for the Roadster to be added in 2023 or 2024.
The One is now less than a year away. This mid-engined hybrid hypercar was announced by Daimler’s Thomas Weber as being under development during an event on the eve of the 2016 Paris motor show. The public debut was at the Frankfurt IAA in September 2017, where a prototype wearing the label of Project ONE was presented. One year later, the model name was announced.
The engine will be based on the Mercedes-Benz 1.6-litre V6 used in its Formula 1 car and there will be MGU-K and MGU-H motor generator units too.
Again in line with the F1 car, Project ONE’s gearbox forms part of its structure. However, it will be an automated manual gearbox. Fewer than 275 cars will be made. Production will commence in the second half of 2020, according to Tobias Moers, the head of AMG.
The range on electricity will be around 30km and the car will run on ordinary 98 octane unleaded, AMG says. The top speed will be in excess of 218mph, Mercedes-AMG claims.
Daimler is yet to announce where the One will be built. It may well be made in England. That would potentially make sense as the monocoque, body panels and suspension systems will be sourced from Mercedes’ F1 facilities in Brixworth and Brackley.
The entry point for Mercedes-AMG SUVs is the GLA-Class. At the moment, there is only one variant, the GLA 45 4MATIC. This has been around since 2014. It was facelifted in 2017 and should be replaced in 2020. Daimler is expected to launch three variants of the successor model. These should be called GLA 35 4MATIC, GLA 45 MATIC+ and GLA 45 S 4MATIC+.
The next largest Mercedes-AMG is the GLC. There are three variants: GLC 43 MATIC, GLS 63 4MATIC+ and GLC 63 S 4MATIC+. Since superseded by the latter two, the sole original version was called GLC 63 4MATIC. This went on sale across Europe and elsewhere from late 2015 and likes its successors, was powered by a 4.0-litre biturbo V8.
The less expensive GLC 43 4MATIC has a 270kW (367hp) 3.0-litre biturbo. Its public debut was at the New York auto show in March 2016, deliveries in relevant markets commencing from three months later. The 2017 edition of the show was where the GLC 63 4MATIC+ and the GLC 63 S 4MATIC+ had their international debuts. The + has outputs of 350kW and 650Nm, while the S + produces 375kW and 700Nm. These went on sale worldwide from June 2017.
At this year’s New York auto show, Daimler announced facelifts for all three variants. Power and torque did not change. The market launch took place earlier this month. No further changes are expected. The next generation model should go on sale in the third quarter of 2022.
Mercedes-AMG’s GLC Coupé line up is identical to that of the GLC: GLC 43 4MATIC Coupé, GLC 63 4MATIC+ Coupé and GLC 63 S 4MATIC+ Coupé. As with the GLC, facelifts were revealed at the New York auto show in April 2019, the market launch being this month. The second generation of these vehicles is due to appear towards the end of 2022. At that time, today’s GLC 43 4MATIC Coupé should be succeeded by a GLC 53 4MATIC+ Coupé.
The latest GLE-Class is still fairly new so it’s too early for any official news of direct replacements for the outgoing GLE 63 and GLE 63 S. A variant which didn’t exist in the old shape model has been announced, though. The GLE 53 4MATIC+ was seen for the first time at the Geneva motor show in March.
The GLE Coupé is now approaching the end of its life cycle after a production run of seven years. As well as the six-cylinder GLE 43 Coupe, there are two derivatives, each powered by a 5.5-litre biturbo V8. Outputs are 410kW (557hp) in the GLE 63 4MATIC Coupé and 430kW (585hp) in the GLE 63 S 4MATIC Coupé.
The next generation GLE Coupé is due for release later in 2019. The 5.5-litre V8 will be replaced by AMG’s 4.0-litre V8. The new model will use the same updated MHA architecture as the new GLE-Class.
The new GLS-Class has been announced but is yet to arrive in dealerships. There is as yet no official news about a potential GLS 53, GLS 63 and/or GLS 65, so for the moment, Mercedes-AMG’s largest SUV is the G 63.
Revealed at the Geneva motor show in March 2018, it has the same 4.0-litre biturbo V8 as that which powers the G 500/G550 but with more power and torque. Outputs are 430kW (585PS) and 850Nm compared to 310kW (422hp) and 610Nm. A nine-speed automatic gearbox is standard, and the G 63’s CO2 output is 299g/km.
Reports for many other manufacturers’ future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.
Future product program intelligence
More detail on past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of QUBE. That includes other Mercedes-AMG models not mentioned in the above report.
This was the fourth feature in a series which looks at the passenger vehicle brands of Daimler AG. The first centred on Denza, smart and Mercedes-Maybach, with Mercedes-Benz cars and SUVs the topics of the second and third ones respectively. The series will be completed by a look at what’s ahead for Mercedes-Benz EQ.