Mercedes-AMG will move to differentiate itself further from Mercedes-Benz through design, with the sporty sub-brand set to adopt a polarizing new vertical bar grille design to its go-fast models.

Mercedes-AMG GT R ( C 190), 2016

With such a proliferation of Mercedes-AMG models, not to mention AMG line packages for non-performance models, it can be hard to pick a real AMG model from a hotted-up regular car, but that won’t be the case for much longer according to Mercedes-Benz chief design officer, Gorden Wagener.

Speaking with CarAdvice at CES 2017, Wagener said a new grille treatment that harks back to the brand’s racing history will be a dominant aspect of the AMG range’s styling moving forward.

Mercedes-AMG GT316Mercedes- AMG GT C Roadster (R 190), 2016

“If we’re talking differentiation, the big differentiation we’re doing is with AMG to really make that not an own brand, but an own sub-brand,” Wagener said.

“You’ll see the new face on the GT, we’re giving the GT the Panamericana face which is inspired by the 1952 SL Panamericana, this oval with the shape of the bars in it,” Wagener said of the GT range, a facelifted version of which is to debut at the 2017 Detroit motor show.

“This is our traditional racing grille, and so the GT, and GT R and GT3 brought that back from the racing history,” he said - and you can see the GT3 model above, as well as the GT C Roadster that bears a similar nose treatment. “And that will be a new signature for AMG, and it will give this brand a very unique profile.”

Mercedes-AMG GT R ( C 190), 2016

Mercedes-AMG chalked up just under 100,000 sales globally in 2017, and from an Australian perspective the love of AMG kit runs deep. Of the 41,226 sales of Mercedes-Benz models locally in 2016, 14 per cent – or about 5800 of those – were of the full-fat Mercedes-AMG variety.

David McCarthy, senior manager of corporate communications for Mercedes-Benz Australia, said that Australian’s buy a high percentage of AMGs and AMG styled models.

“If you look at the remainder – exclude the actual AMG model sales – about 40 per cent of buyers opt for AMG styling when choosing a new Mercedes-Benz car,” he said, meaning about 14,000 vehicles had that box ticked before leaving the showroom in 2016.

McCarthy said the percentage is lower for some models such as the B-Class, but generally, there’s a taste for it across the line-up.