Sorted! How to Spot a Genuine Mercedes-AMG | Inspire
Sorted! How to Spot a Genuine Mercedes-AMG

Sorted! How to Spot a Genuine Mercedes-AMG

Earn petrolhead creds with these eight sharp ways of identifying a Mercedes-AMG.

Before the high-performance company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz in 2005, it was quite tough to spot an authentic AMG. The styling clues were subtle and independent dealers were authorised to install cosmetic modifications. Nowadays though, there's no mistaking the real deal. Here's what you should look for.

1. The grille

What's the first thing you see in the rear-view mirror when one of these mechanical masterpieces is bearing down on you? The authoritative grille, of course. Mercedes-AMGs require enhanced cooling for their large turbocharged and intercooled engines, so they wear either twin- or single-louvre honeycomb grilles and widened lower air dams.

2. The numbers

AMG founders Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher prefer to let numbers describe their peerless engineering. While regular Mercedes-Benz cars have three numerals and a letter as a model signifier (for example, GLA 220 d), Mercedes-AMGs use just two numerals (for example, GLA 45). The numbers used to relate to the engine's displacement (for example, 63 = 6.3 litres), but today's models have deviated from that nomenclature.

3. The bonnet

Some non-AMGs still utilise powerful V8 and V12 engines, but a strong visual identifier of the performance-tuned models is the bulging, ventilated bonnet. Designs may differ, but the aim of expelling hot air efficiently from the engine bay never changes. 

4. The engine

There's no denying the tremendous potential lurking beneath that priapic bonnet – and for good reason. Mercedes-AMG's production philosophy of hand-built engines survives to this day: "One man. One engine". Each specimen of mechanical craftsmanship bears an exclusive plaque with the engine builder's name and signature.

5. The sound

The tantalising Mercedes-AMG exhaust note makes you think the 1 100-strong workforce at Affalterbach must be heavy metal fans. The angry bark of a Mercedes-AMG exhaust – whether it's a 4-, 6-, 8- or 12-cylinder – is pure aural delight. 

6. The body

Affalterbach prides itself on masterful engines, but a Mercedes-AMG is much more than a hot-rodded Mercedes-Benz. Each model is engineered hand-in-hand with the "base" car – with high-performance tolerances in mind. As a result, flared wheel arches and go-faster body kits with brake cooling apertures aren't just there to look great. They accommodate beefed-up axles and larger wheels with low-profile tyres for improved road holding.

7. The gears

A vital conduit to any Mercedes-AMG engine is its transmission. The razor-sharp 7 MCT dual-clutch box with AMG-specific paddle shifters and adjustable driver modes usurps the everyday 7G and 9G-TRONIC auto transmissions. (With the exception of the Mercedes-AMG 43 and 63 4MATICs that are  paired to nine-speed transmissions.)

8. The details

Depending on the model, an array of stylish badging and lettering is situated along the side apron, front grille and rear boot lid. These distinctive markings also appear within the dials, along the transmission tunnel and on the fascia in front of the passenger.   

The acid test

Next time you encounter a Mercedes-AMG, remember the eight factors above. Better yet, book a test drive and discover there's nothing artificial about the way a Mercedes-AMG rules the road.

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