It sure looks like it.
The three major German automakers have and still are in the middle of a heated battle for sales. Each automaker—Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz—has a specific division that focuses on selling high-performance cars and, for the most part, are all doing the same thing, but everything has changed for Mercedes-Benz. And that’s not a good thing. In the hopes of keeping up with BMW’s M Performance and increasing its sales, Mercedes killed of the “AMG Sport” moniker and decided to bring a variety of unworthy cars into the AMG family.
This just doesn’t make any sense. Yes, Mercedes-AMG is still going to make some of the fastest, most insane and most expensive cars based off of Mercedes-Benz’s vehicles, but I can’t help but think that the move has changed the division. In the beginning, AMG started off as a small company that turned regular Mercedes models into race-ready monsters. By 1990, AMG signed an official agreement of cooperation with Daimler-Benz, which was then solidified by the Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG. Unsurprisingly, the C36 AMG was built to take on the BMW M3. It can be safe to assume, then, that Mercedes-Benz and AMG joined forces to take the fight to BMW, which was a good thing.
The C36 AMG was a high-performance car that featured a host of goodies from Mercedes’ parts bin. But the most entertaining part of the C36 AMG is its 3.6-liter inline-six-cylinder engine that AMG built. The C36 AMG was a special beast that set the tone for the two companies. But all of this has seemed to crumble away with Mercedes-AMG’s latest offerings. The latest Mercedes-AMG C43 is basically a Mercedes-Benz C450 with a new transmission and a name change. This was obviously done for a few good reasons. One of which has to be for the sales. The AMG C43 will be a great middle child for drivers that want a fast car, but don’t want to spend the extra cash on the AMG C63.
Clearly, Mercedes is feeling some heat from BMW’s M Performance cars. The new BMW M2 promises to be an incredible middle ground between non-M models and the M3. Mercedes is also hoping to make AMG more of a household name and that’s where the real problem lies. AMG used to be a name synonymous with racing, ludicrously fast cars and vehicles that only brave individuals would drive. Now, AMG is becoming a lifeless brand that just puts badges onto mid-range models. Some may see this as a good thing. Because a cheaper and slower AMG model means that more enthusiasts can enjoy the cars, but that takes away from AMG's rich history and, simply put, makes the cars dull.
There used to be a time when one could hear the pops and bangs of an AMG model and know that the car had a hand-built engine that creates enough torque to make time stop. Now, you can’t even tell the difference between an AMG and a regular Mercedes, which isn’t right. A few years ago, one could say that there was a little AMG in every Mercedes, now it looks like there's too much Mercedes in every AMG.