Could Mercedes offer a mid-engined rival for McLaren’s 650S, or even its P1? The suggestion is a ‘credible’ one, according to AMG boss Tobias Moers.
Asked by Top Gear if AMG – the performance division now wholly incorporated into the Mercedes mother ship – was considering a move into the world of mid-engined supercars, Moers admitted there was space above the AMG GT S (pictured) in the Merc line-up for an even more powerful proposition.
“There will be more members of the AMG family in the future. The hypercar is always a credible business case,” he told us. “From a technical perspective, from an engineering perspective, we could make something.”
AMG has only ever worked on front-engined cars, and Moers admits there would be engineering challenges involved in moving to a new layout. But AMG’s rapid expansion, from just 120 people in 1994 to a staff of nearly 1400 this year, and the experience of developing the GT, mean the Affalterbach team could tackle the technical challenge of a mid-engined supercar.
“It’s always a task to step into something [a sector] you haven’t been in,” states Moers. “A year ago we didn’t have the speciality to do that thing, but now we do.”
Moers admitted the recent successes of the Mercedes-AMG F1 team potentially strengthens the business case for a mid-engined AMG supercar, and that his engineers already work closely with the F1 team’s Brackley operation.
If an AMG hypercar did ever make it into production, it would be sure to employ turbocharging, and might embrace hybrid power too. Moers happily admits electrification will play a part in AMG’s future, but that issues around battery weight and cost currently make the technology unsuitable for its production cars.
But 2013’s SLS Electric Drive – a 740bhp, all-electric gullwing driven by four individual motors – demonstrates, says Moers, that there’s an appetite in AMG for the benefits of battery power. “The SLS ED showed everyone what’s possible with torque vectoring,” he says.
Future AMGs are also likely to benefit from Merc’s now-nascent autonomous driving tech, debuted in the S-Class.
“If Merc is going to move the way of autonomous driving, why should we not look into it?” says Moers. “If you’re stuck in a traffic jam, what’s the problem?”
But AMG’s take on the self-driving car might be rather more exciting than a mere autopilot to take care of trundling along busy motorways. Moers hints that autonomous AMGs could, for example, show their owners the ideal line around a race track… or even take care of sideways duties while the driver sits back and soaks up the credit.
“The autonomous drifting car?” grinned Moers. “Sure. That’s easy to program…”