Mercedes-Benz has kept us on our toes with naming changes lately. First, it was new names for SUVs and crossovers. Then the high-performance AMG models with hand-built engines (like in the C63, E63, and S63) switched to the Mercedes-AMG rather than the Mercedes-Benz title. And soon thereafter, the AMG Sport badge arrived for mid-level performance cars, namely the C450 AMG Sport sedan and GLE450 AMG Sport SUV, which use a highly tuned 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6. Now there’s yet another new naming convention: Those 450 AMG Sport models will henceforth be renamed Mercedes-AMG 43.
The first model with the new name is the 2017 Mercedes-AMG SLC43 that debuted at the Detroit auto show this year. It uses the same 362-hp twin-turbo V-6 as the C450 and GLE450. Mercedes officials explained that going forward, the AMG Sport moniker will disappear as these cars are welcomed as full Mercedes-AMG cars. Following the Mercedes-AMG SLC43, the C450 AMG Sport will be renamed the Mercedes-AMG C43, with a larger E43 to join the stable later this year.
This move is a logical conclusion for the AMG brand, no matter how much people will argue it dilutes its value. The AMG Sport cars were not just trim-package babies; a highly tuned engine, advanced adjustable dampers, a lightweight sports exhaust, and stouter brakes lend these cars legitimate performance cred.
As the AMG brand has steadily grown since it was fully integrated with Mercedes-Benz in 1999, it has also changed and developed. We love to honor past E63 and C63 models as wild German muscle cars, but there have been less-than stellar AMG models in the past, like the six-cylinder C32 AMG. The newly minted ‘43’ cars might not be as beastly as their ‘63’ seniors, but as far as we’re concerned, there’s plenty of room in the family.
We expect more Mercedes-AMG ‘43’ cars going forward, across the model range.