Feb 10, 2009
I’ve long been an advocate of the less-is-more maxim when it comes to sports cars and AMG-fettled Mercs have always been the antithesis of this approach. Big cars, massive power, massive weight. I’ve only once driven one, an SLK 55 (1500 Kg, 360 HP and 0-60 in 4.9 seconds). It was like the scene in Dr. Stranglove where Major Kong rides a nuke to his spectacular demise: epic power but not a jot of delicacy. While the car was highly capable, I always felt I was fighting a losing battle against the massive lump of an engine over the front wheels.
So the news that AMG is dropping out of the power wars and is going to focus on reducing weight, emissions and fuel consumption made me very pleased. There just isn’t room for cars like the manic SL 65 Black (1900kg, 661bhp and 0-60 in 3.8 seconds) any more although they serve as a pretty fabulous swan song. We’re going to have to relearn to appreciate the more delicate pleasures of light weight and lower power outputs.
I don’t expect AMG to start producing German Elises over night, but there’s hope that a more subtle type of fun might be possible in the merga-Mercs of the future. The latest Lotus Elise SC, incidentally, achieves the same 0-60 time as the SLK 55 but with only 190bhp. Must have something to do with weiging only 910Kgs…
What say you? Are you happy to see the age of 500HP family wagons pass? Or will their absence leave a 7.0l hole in your soul?