The newly-appointed head of Mercedes-Benz AMG, Ola Kallenius, has confirmed the performance division will add the Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG to its line-up next year, along with an SLS AMG replacement and other bespoke sports cars down the track.
Speaking at a round-table interview at the Frankfurt motor show, Kallenius reaffirmed AMG’s position to reach 30 models and beyond 30,000 units by 2017, which coincides with the Affalterbach company’s 50th anniversary, up from last year’s 22 models and 20,000 sales.
“We will actually launch even more cars next year than we’re launching this year,” begins Kallenius.
“For the five years here [between 2012 and 2017] it’s eight new models without the predecessor, one of which you can see the series version as a world premiere here today in Frankfurt. It’s no great secret that we’re going to give that [GLA-Class] the same treatment as we gave the A45 AMG.”
Not only is the GLA45 AMG now confirmed, but Kallenius went further, describing it as a “next year car”.
The GLA45 AMG will use the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine found in the A45 AMG, which produces 265kW of power and 450Nm of torque.
Kallenius (below) cited history when asked whether, following on from AMG’s first foray into building a four-cylinder hot hatch, whether the creation of a four-cylinder SUV was a step too far for AMG.
“When we launched the original ML55, it was the first true performance SUV. A lot of people said, ‘Performance and SUV? Does that really match?’. Now the performance SUV as a whole is 40 per cent of the performance segment – it’s unbelievable.”
Despite this push towards SUVs, however, Kallenius refused to confirm that the second of the planned seven new models AMG will introduce in the next four years will be the new-generation Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
“GLK … there are no plans for that. What the future brings we shall see. We have not made any ultimate decision in one or the other direction, the ML covers a pretty wide spectrum there in the middle, and we thought we should focus on the ML.
“Now we have the GLA at the entry point, whether there’s space in between at the performance level … don’t know, no current plans at this stage.”
When it was put to Kallenius that the introduction of another six new AMG models in the next four years and considering that performance SUVs are hugely popular would make the GLK AMG a prime candidate for the AMG treatment, he replied, “funnily enough it’s not the first candidate … we have enough imagination to fill up that 30 [models] before you know it.”
When questions turned to the higher, proper sports car end of the AMG business, Kallenius confirmed that not only will the brand eventually produce a next-generation flagship to replace the SLS AMG, others are also in the pipeline, such as the smaller, 911-challenging SLC-Class spied here.
“We probably won’t do a ‘Volkswagen Golf 5, 6, 7’ with the SLS because of the unique Gullwing doors and so on and so forth. It’s not something you just do one after the after.
“I am not suggesting we should wait 55 years to do the next gullwing car, but certainly not straight after the one we have done now. That needs to sit in automotive history as its own chapter.”
Kallenius stated that “there will be more stand-alone sports cars from Affalterbach”, which all but confirms the long-spied SLC-Class, smaller sibling to the SLS AMG and codenamed C190, will make production.
Designed as a Porsche 911-beater, the SLC-Class will likely use a twin-turbo V8 engine as Mercedes-Benz AMG has confirmed that a V6 engine is not currently being developed, but the existing normally aspirated V8 engine is being phased out.
The coupe is expected in 2015, about the same time as the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is replaced. A roadster version is also likely to follow.