It used to be so simple. A Mercedes-Benz 300E was an E-Class with a 3.0-litre engine. Even the Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG used to identify an SL-Class with a 5.5-litre V8 tuned by AMG.
With numerical model suffixes of 45, 63, 65 and now 43, how do these translate to the vehicles they represent?
If the numbers are important, why release a 43 when there is already a 45?
CarAdvice spoke with Mercedes-AMG Chief Executive Tobais Moers who said, “a 45 is a different attitude of car (to a 43)”.
“The numbers stand for a kind of performance level," said Moers.
“The old C43 from 20-years ago had the same power output as the 43 today. It was a lot slower 0-100. It was slower on the racetrack, so even a (new) 43 is an improvement on the pure AMG 43 of the past.
“It would be easy for us to just tune the engine of a C43 and just sell it for a price. Would that be the right approach if you have short thinking? It could work – but not with our attitude.”
That attitude is paying off. AMG saw an impressive 44 per cent uplift in global sales in 2015, achieving a new record of 68,875 cars.
In Australia, AMG's 2015 sales results marked a record moment for the brand, with 4000 sales standing out as a proportionally greater result than any other market.
By the end of 2016, AMG will have close to 50 cars baring the Afalterbach nameplate, so those figures - here and globally - could very well climb.
Moers reiterated that AMG is not just about engine tuning and that an AMG car is a full package, with specific suspension, steering, dynamic control and styling elements to set it apart in the market.
“We never provide to the market wannabes," said Moers. “Every car we bring to market meets our brand approach.”
“AMG was formerly known as the straight line performer but not on a racetrack. So we changed the brand by 180 degrees. We still have to take care of the straight line performance, no doubt, but to have the package is more important than having 10HP more than our competitors.”
“We try to define our own kind of what the brand stands for. It’s what we’ve done over the past year and a half - redefine the brand.”