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Car and Driver: AMG CEO: Extra-Burly AMG GT Confirmed, Electrification Likely

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2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S

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Mercedes-AMG CEO Tobias Moers has his nearly 40 models in global circulation and more coming. At the Detroit auto show, we commandeered this performance magician for a few minutes to see what’s hiding up his sleeve.

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C/D: How large is the AMG team?

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Tobias Moers: We’re building up to a total of 1500 employees, 800 of which are engineers. We have 350 engaged in production, logistics, and quality control, half of which are involved in manufacturing engines.

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Expanding the model range down to the A45 (not sold in the U.S.), the GLA45, and the CLA45 offers buyers access to AMG performance at a fairly affordable price. Is that working as you hoped?

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We want to offer customers the opportunity to begin what we hope will be a lifetime journey through the Mercedes-AMG model range. The C450 AMG [which is being renamed Mercedes-AMG C43] has been especially successful.

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What do you think those new to the brand are seeking?

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They really appreciate the more precise dynamic behavior. Whether or not they have above-average driving skill or interest in using their car on the track, our customers recognize and enjoy how AMG-tuned products behave on the road. And because we keep applying what we learn in new models, they feel good about returning to this brand in the future.

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2016 Mercedes-AMG S65 cabriolet

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Last year you repositioned your flagship sports car to butt heads with the Porsche 911. How has that worked out?

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In all honesty, the GT S exceeded our expectations by a wide margin. Again, I think this is attributable to the agility any driver can sense and appreciate. This car’s success forced us to expand our body building capacity. As you might imagine, we thoroughly benchmarked the 911 while developing our car. Now that that Porsche has been facelifted, we’re anxious to repeat those comparison tests. I’ve heard that we were the reason they invested a little bit more than initially planned in their 911.2 program.

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What else is cooking at AMG?

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This summer we’ll be bringing out the next performance level of the GT [which likely will be called GT R]. There will be more power and speed but this sports car won’t be like a Black Series or anything you might expect. While it’s too soon to talk in detail, this version of the GT will have active aerodynamic features for markedly improved performance. The attitude we stress with our engineers is that good is never good enough. So we constantly search for ways to improve AMG products. Our cars get better because we never stop working on them.

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We’re curious if AMG is interested in electric propulsion as a means of improving efficiency and performance in the future?

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In 2014 we built a few SLS Electric Drive sports cars that had four motors and a combined 740 horsepower. That car still holds the EV record on the Nordschliefe. Throwing that knowledge away would be stupid, so it will definitely be used in the future.

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Now that you’ve built and sold three hot GTs—the SLR McLaren, the SLS AMG, and the current GT S—do you harbor any desire to move beyond a front-engine platform to a mid-engine sports car?

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Of course the physics of moving the engine rearward is well understood. While I’d personally enjoy having such a product in our lineup, we lack the manufacturing capacity to support such a product. I don’t know what might happen in the future but there are at the moment no such plans.

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2016 Detroit Auto Show Full Coverage

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