This year marks the 50th anniversary of AMG Motorenbau und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH. A company founded by two former Mercedes-Benz engineers, Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher in Burgstall an der Murr, with the aim of building racing engines. However, it soon developed into a business that could tune and improve a road-going Mercedes like no other.
So great were the company's capabilities that by 1989, it had direct access to Mercedes's future as well as current product pipeline so that it could develop even faster and even more comprehensively tuned and styled models. And by 1999 Mercedes had bought a 51% stake in the business.
In 2005, Mercedes bought up all remaining shares, and, 12 years on, AMG is being aggressively marketed as a sub-brand of its own called Mercedes-AMG.
It's already spawned the Mercedes-AMG GT, GT S, GT C Roadster and GT R and will culminate in Frankfurt in September with the launch of a co-branded hypercar. However, the year of celebrations begins in Detroit and with the unveiling of the Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupé.
"With the AMG GT C Coupe, we are now expanding our portfolio of sports cars to six models plus the AMG GT3 customer sport racing car. In fewer than three years, the second vehicle to be developed by us entirely in-house has grown into a family, offering a highly dynamic driving experience in a variety of forms," said company chairman Tobias Moers.
In the case of the GT C that form is a two-seat hardtop with a 550hp twin turbo 4-litre V8 engine good for a 0-100kph time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 315kph. It also has rear-wheel steering, an electronic limited slip differential and active air management. Called the Airpanel it's a series of louvres under the car that open and close to aid engine cooling and aerodynamics.
To make the new car even more attractive to well-heeled drivers, it will debut as a special launch model -- the Edition 50 (50 years of AMG) complete with exclusive external paint finish, and black chrome exterior highlights, while the cabin will boast silver pearl and black nappa leather.
As well as introducing a new member, Mercedes used the Detroit auto show to announce a raft of updates to all existing cars in the Mercedes-AMG family.
So the ‘entry-level' GT model gets 13hp more power, the GT S gets a 12hp improvement and all models will get the Airpanel active cooling system and rear-axle steering.