There are big name brands that people associate with sports cars - Porsche is probably the most prominent. But despite a record year for the Stuttgart brand, its city sibling Mercedes-AMG outsold it in Australia in 2016.
But Mercedes-AMG had a bumper year for new products, including facelifted versions of the A45 and CLA45, while the new C-Class AMG derivatives - the C43 and C63, offered in sedan, wagon and coupe guises - bulked up sales immensely. Mercedes-AMG models made up 5286 units in 2016, a rise of about 30 per cent, or around 1200 vehicles.
David McCarthy, senior manager of corporate communications for Mercedes-Benz Australia, said the more affordable – and therefore more accessible – 43 models in the C-Class range had a decent role to play.
"We wouldn't have cracked 5000 without them," he said. "But we still would have beaten Porsche without them."
McCarthy said that the AMG versions of the C-Class range accounted for about 1200 units over the 12-month period, while the most affordable AMG model, the A45 hatchback, remained a strong part of the AMG range in 2016 with about 800 sales. Surprisingly, the awkward but awesome G63 off-roader managed nearly 100 sales.
While some may argue that lower spec AMG-badged models aren't really worthy of sports car status, the same might be said of the Porsche brand's reliance on its SUV range. The Cayenne sold 1341 units in 2016, up 6.2 per cent on the previous year, while the smaller Macan sold a whopping 2172 units, up 8.4 per cent on 2015. That number could grow again in 2017 with the launch of the new entry-level four-cylinder Macan, which is the brand's most affordable car in decades.
McCarthy said AMG sales accounted for approximately 14 per cent of overall sales for Mercedes-Benz, which had its best sales year yet in Australia in 2016.
The three-pointed star brand sold 41,226 vehicles in 2016, up 13.3 per cent on the previous year. And with a full year of sales of some AMG models that arrived late in 2016 – including the warmed-up GLC43 SUV (the regular version was one of the main reasons the brand saw such a sales bump last year), and the all-new E63 model – sales of both Benz and AMG models are expected to rise even higher in 2017.