Frankfurt 2011: Mercedes/Ducati Partnership Yields Diavel AMG Sportbike

Mercedes-Benz's AMG performance division has paired up with legendary Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati for a sport bike called the Ducati Diavel AMG Special Edition, which is front and center in the AMG display in the Mercedes-Benz hall at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The Diavel is the product of an agreement that the two brands inked last November during the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show and is the fruit of a German-Italian exchange of engineering and design expertise. The bike is based on the existing Ducati Diavel Carbon and features forged wheels with AMG styling influences; aluminum air deflectors in the carbon fiber panels on the side-mounted radiators, a new exhaust system, and a seat upholstered in Alcantara fabric. The bike's frame, tank, and rear bench seat cover are finished in diamond white metallic, a color also used on the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG four-door coupe.

In a nod to AMG's custom of having each of its engines affixed with a plate with the signature of the technician who hand-assembles it, the Diavel AMG gets a badge on the left side of its engine block with the name of the technician in Ducati's Bologna, Italy, factory who calibrates the desmodromic valve timing.

During a roundtable discussion with American and Italian journalists during the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, both Ola Källenius, the new head of Mercedes-Benz AMG, and Gabriele del Torchio, president and CEO of Ducati, beamed with pleasure at the joint agreement between their two legendary brands. "The people who are into performance cars often also have a performance bike in their garages," says Källenius. "It didn't take us long to decide that Ducati was the only brand of motorbike that we wanted to pair with. Obviously, four wheels and two wheels have different challenges, but there are some common engineering denominators, such as reducing weight."

Del Torchio, for his part, cites AMG's increasing use of lightweight, high-technology materials such as carbon fiber and aluminum in its cars, just as Ducati has been for some time in its bikes. "We started with design, but I believe there are a lot of experiences that can be shared [between Ducati and AMG]. Technology, performance, weight, and safety are the most important components for us [in developing motorbikes]," says the Italian CEO. "And our Ducati Riding Experience, or DRE, is basically the same concept as the AMG Riding Academy."

"A Ducati bike can be used as an eye-catcher at an AMG dealership," adds Källenius. And, it must be said, a Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG can be used as a sweetener for the deal: both Ducati's leader, Del Torchio, and its star American Moto GP rider, Nicky Hayden, have been driving CLS63 AMGs since this spring.

The Ducati Diavel AMG Special Edition will be introduced to American Ducati dealers at a convention in Miami next week and will go on sale in the USA in spring 2012 for an as-yet-undecided price. Pricing in Europe ranges from about 26,000 to 27,000 euros, depending on the country.

For more on the 2011 Frankfurt show, including videos, the latest photos, and more information, please CLICK HERE to visit our Frankfurt show home page.

Source: Mercedes-Benz

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