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Why Cadillac V Is The New Mercedes-AMG

They just don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Mercedes-AMG and the V8 engine go hand in hand, but did you know that the first car co-developed between the two companies was equipped with an inline-six engine? The 1993 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG was equipped with an M104 inline-six (produced between 1988 and 1999) bored out to 3,606cc, producing 276 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque.

The 1997 C43 AMG was the first to make the switch to a V8 (4.3 liters in displacement), but that was just the beginning of an AMG dynasty with the V8 at its heart. Later in the W202’s life cycle, it received a new motor and a new name, with a 5.5-liter V8 earning it the C55 AMG nomenclature. From there, AMGs and V8s went hand-in-hand, and AMG models became brutalist combinations of luxury and hooliganism in equal measure.

But in recent years, AMG has somewhat lost its sparkle. First, AWD tamed the sideways of antics, and then the V8 was ditched in some models for an engine with half the cylinder count. But amid the disappointment, an unlikely automaker has picked up the baton, and it seems Cadillac V has become the spiritual successor to Mercedes-AMG ethos.

A Bit Of AMG History

It’s a pity because AMG is an engine manufacturer, first and foremost. The acronym comes from A for Aufrecht (Hans), M for Melcher (Erhard), and G for Grossaspach. Aufrecht and Melcher were tasked with developing a racing engine for the 300 SE. They loved their jobs so much that they kept on working after hours at Aufrecht’s home in Grossaspach, Germany.

The 300 SE was wildly successful, and so Aufrecht and Melcher started their own firm (AMG), working from Aufrecht’s home. AMG eventually packed its bags and moved to Affalterbach. After that came more successful racing cars like the famous Red Pig, aftermarket kits for Mercedes-Benz models, and unofficial bits and pieces to improve the German automaker’s vehicles. There were even a handful of cars without Mercedes badges that all had AMG work – did you know there was an AMG-powered variant of the Mitsubishi Galant?

After Mercedes began more exclusive work with Mercedes in 2003, the partnership flourished. Mercedes purchased 51% of AMG in 1999, and Aufrecht sold his remaining shares to the company in 2005. Since then, AMG has been a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The First Iconic Car: The E55 AMG

Before the Mercedes takeover, the most iconic AMG model was based on the E-Class. After the takeover, the first iconic model was also an E-Class. It seems the two elements just fit together perfectly.

The earliest icon is the Hammer. AMG took a W124 E-Class and bolted a massive 6.0-liter V8 under the hood, which helped it get from 0 to 62 mph in 4.4 seconds. That’s brisk even by modern standards. So it seems fitting then that the first super-saloon to come from AMG of the modern era was the 2003 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG.

In the early 2000s, the Germans were in the midst of a horsepower battle. BMW hit first with the E39 M5 and its 400 hp 5.0-liter V8. Then Audi launched the first-generation RS6, equipped with a twin-turbocharged 4.2-liter V8. It produces a scarcely unbelievable 444 hp.

And then in came AMG and blew everyone away with a 5.4-liter V8 with a supercharger bolted on top. It produced 469 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. It was a monster, producing so much torque that Mercedes had to use an outdated five-speed automatic because its new 7G-Tronic couldn’t handle the torque reliably.

What makes the E55 so special is that it was faster than the SL55 launched around the same time. Several independent tests proved it could hit 100 mph in less than 10 seconds. Zero to 60 mph took just 4.1 seconds, faster than the Porsche 911 Turbo of the same era.

It also blew every rival out of the water in a lesser-published performance metric: in-gear acceleration. On a rolling run, that supercharger laid waste to rivals, making the M5 and Audi RS6 look like they didn’t even know a race was happening.

The Second Icon: The CLK 63 AMG Black Series

Between the 2003 E55 AMG and the 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG Black Series, AMG launched several successful cars, like the bonkers SL65 AMG.

The CLK Black was special, however. It was arguably the first AMG product that could stand toe-to-toe with rival products from a ride and handling perspective. It had more in common with a DTM racer than the mediocre coupe it was based on, and the result was an extremely angry car.

Your faithful correspondent had an opportunity to drive one three years after it was launched, and I could not believe that Mercedes’ lawyers signed off on the car. While it was warming up, you could hear the rear differential whine. It took no prisoners and scared the living daylights out of me.

I was still young then, with little experience handling fast cars. Now, with 14 years of experience, I want to go back and drive it again, but also not. I’d rather always be in awe of that machine.

The First Standalone AMG: The SLS AMG

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG came along in 2010, and the Black Series followed in 2013. Like the CLK Black Series, it was also an angry car, and it only lasted for five short years before Mercedes pulled the plug and built the more user-friendly AMG GT.

I loved the SLS because it was so obviously a muscle car. Sure, it had a fancy suspension setup and loads of nannies, but at its core, it was simply a giant naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 with two seats strapped to it. The doors were a bit flashy, and you’d always feel like such a prick getting out of it at Walmart, but I didn’t care. I had an SLS, and the people glaring at me like I just kicked their dog did not.

It was a wild car. The traction and stability control would give up at a certain point because this car just wanted to go sideways. It was the perfect symbol for the AMG ethos: fitting a massively powerful V8 engine to any new model that Mercedes launched.

The AMG Ethos: Power Uber Alles

For years, the automotive status quo dictated that if you wanted a scalpel, you bought a BMW M car, but if you wanted a hammer, you bought an AMG. Mercedes-AMG never really tried to beat BMW at its own game. BMWs, particularly M cars, were all about efficient speed and precision. Almost without exception, any three-way track test would feature an Audi stone last (unless it was wet), a Mercedes second, and a BMW as fastest of the lot.

The most famous of these battles always involved the BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, and without fail, the C63 was slower. But the C63 was also always sideways in a plume of tire smoke, and the driver, if he didn’t soil his pants first, always had a massive grin on his face.

As some British bloke named Jeremy Clarkson succinctly put it, “He who shall be last, shall be sideways and smiling.” (Clarkson owned several AMGs himself).

The Downward Slide

Was the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 the first sign that things were going into a downward spiral? I don’t think so. Mercedes-AMG simply wanted a smaller V8 unit with even more power to fit into more things. It’s one of the greatest engines ever made and was even used for non-AMG products. In terms of tuning, it suited a sports car just as good as a bulky off-roader.

The downfall started with the second-generation A 45 and CLA 45 AMGs. It’s a great car and the perfect entry point to the AMG range, but little did we know that its turbocharged four-pot would eventually be the basis for some of our favorite models.

The new C 63 is now infamously powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Its advanced engine is a technological masterpiece, but the car lacks drama. I don’t mind that it’s heavy. AMGs have always been on the heavier side, but lacking any panache is a cardinal sin, and an AMG needing an external speaker to sound good is unforgivable.

AMG hasn’t completely given up on V8s, but the models still equipped with the 4.0 V8 are now way out of reach of the average person. Even if you wait two to three years, the AMG GT and the V8 SL models will still be way out of reach.

Cadillac Is Pickup Up The Slack

After thinking about it for hours, I think AMGs are supposed to be equipped with a stupidly powerful and charismatic engine, comfortable, and rear-wheel drive. They should feel angry. The new four-cylinder C 63 should feel like it wants to murder you around every damp corner, but instead, it feels cold and clinical. “Nein, you stupid little boy. We vill not go sideways because it is immature, and ze particles from the tires vill harm ze environment.

Previous AMGs had an entirely different attitude. “Hey, I know you weren’t planning on using this off-ramp as an excuse to go sideways and nearly hit the barrier, but Imma go ahead and do it anyway, so hold on, mofo.”

That’s what I love about the updated Cadillac V-Series, especially the CT5-V Blackwing. The world doesn’t need a 670 horsepower rear-wheel-drive sedan in the same way it doesn’t need skydiving, motorsport, hang gliding, greasy fast food, weed, or music. None of these things keep us alive, but they’re all fun.

The best things in life are entirely illogical, and we can demonstrate it in the table below.

As you can see, there’s no real benefit to buying the CT5-V Blackwing over its main rival, the BMW M3. Despite the massive power difference, the Caddy is no faster in real life than the Bimmer. In the real world, where the roads are sometimes wet and imperfect, the AWD BMW would leave the Cadillac for dead.

But I’d still have the Cadillac because it’s a 4,123-pound middle finger to health and safety officials and extremists trying to push for the electrification of all the things. Don’t get me wrong, however. My perfect three-car garage would be a Blackwing for the family, a 911 GT3 for weekends, and a Hyundai Ioniq 5 for the daily commute.

Still, let me list all the things I love about the Blackwing, and you’ll see that the same list could be applied to old-school AMGs.

I love that it has more power than it needs. I love the supercharger whine from the front and the V8 rumble from the rear. I like that it comes standard with a manual transmission, which is a valuable form of automotive self-expression. I love that it can drain a 17-gallon gas tank in 255 miles. If gas is so terrible, I’m doing my part to eliminate it before my kids are old enough to drive.

Most of all, I love that you can only have it with RWD, while all its rivals have switched over to all-wheel drive. Cadillac will never admit to this, but this effectively says that you should nut up if you want to drive its ultimate sedan. If you don’t respect it or don’t have the necessary skills to control it, it will chew you up and spit you out.

That used to be the AMG way, but now Cadillac carries the torch. It won’t be for long, however. Before long, the kind of experience the CT5-V Blackwing offers will be a thing of the past.

This article was originally published by a carbuzz.com . Read the Original article here. .

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