News - Mercedes-AMG
Mercedes-AMG to ditch rear drive: report
Customer demand prompts Mercedes-AMG to make switch to range-wide AWD
30 Apr 2019
MERCEDES-AMG chief executive officer Tobias Moers has said that a clear customer preference for all-paw grip will see the performance brand shift towards range-wide all-wheel drive, according to a report by British publication Autocar.
Mr Moers said the demand for rear-drive variants has been reducing, with more AMG customers preferring the stability and traction of all-paw grip.
“Customers have given us the answer, and most want four-wheel drive,” he told Autocar.
“Back in the days when we had an AMG E-Class as rear-wheel drive and with four-wheel drive as an option, over 90 per cent chose four-wheel drive.
“In the new E63 with drift mode, you have a real rear-wheel-drive car but with four-wheel drive also.”
Models in AMG’s current Australian line-up that employ a rear-drive set-up include the recently-updated C63 range, the S63 luxury limousine, and the GT range of halo performance coupes.
The hi-po GT does not offer an all-wheel-drive option on its four-variant range, however Mr Moers said it has been a common question from customers, while admitting a lack of AWD reduces the breadth of the GT’s abilities.
“When I ask customers about the GT, they ask me about all-wheel drive,” he said.
“Regarding our competition, this is the downside of the AMG in terms of usability. People in Munich, for example, always, always ask for four-wheel drive – I think it’s for safety and stability.”
In some configurations such as the E63 S, Mercedes’ rear-biased 4Matic all-wheel-drive system can be adjusted to deliver pure rear-drive when set in Drift Mode by disengaging the front driveshaft.
While speaking to Autocar, Mr Moers also confirmed that the next generation of AMG’s ubiquitous V8 engine will go towards a hybrid set-up, with power from the V8 set to be capped at 470kW, while extra motivation will come from a plug-in hybrid set-up with an electric motor on the rear axle.
The first PHEV AMG powertrain is set to debut on the AMG GT 4-door Coupe, which is set to arrive in Australia in petrol-only form in June, topped by the monster 63 S which delivers 470kW/900Nm, suggesting the electrified version will push that power figure even further.
The future of the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 could be under threat for certain AMG models, as when asked about a rumour that emissions regulations could force the next-gen C63 to use a smaller six-cylinder engine, Mr Moers told Autocar “there is room for speculation there”.
One area of focus for AMG currently is the development of the next-generation SL, set to replace the ageing current model with a new version that will share its platform with the next iteration of the GT sportscar.
The new SL has been in development for two years already, and will give AMG customers looking for a convertible, two-door grand tourer an even broader range of choice.
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