BMW has the M division, Audi has quattro GmbH and Mercedes-Benz has AMG. Unlike quattro GmbH and the M division, AMG has not always been a part of the Mercedes-Benz family. As a matter of fact, AMG was originally founded by former Mercedes engineers Hans Wener Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher as a racing manufacturer focusing on engines. After Daimler-Benz discontinued all motorsports activities, Aufrecht and Melcher were working on the engine of the 300 SE.
Despite the two losing their jobs, they continued developing and improving this engine and in 1965, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE running the duo’s engine competed in the German Touring Car Championship were it went on to take 10 victories. Following on from these successes, the two men joined forces in 1967 to create the Aufrecht Melcher Großaspach engineering firm, design and testing for the development of racing engines, better known as AMG.
The first real success for AMG came in 1971 at the 24 Hours of Spa where the AMG powered Mercedes 300 SEL 6.8 won in its class and came home in second place overall. And with that result, the AMG name spread throughout the automotive world. The company then continued to grow throughout the 70’s and 80’s and in 1990, it signed a cooperation agreement with Daimler-Benz AG in 1990. Three years later, the first jointly developed car between the two was released with the Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG and in the same year, the Patent Office officially recognised the AMG trademark.
Since then, AMG and Mercedes-Benz have continued to collaborate on both racing cars and road cars and GTspirit was recently able to take an exclusive tour through the AMG engine production facility located in Affalterbach, Germany.
What seperates AMG engines from many other performance oriented engines is the fact that they are completely built and assembled by a one worker as part of the ‘One Man – One Engine’ principal. In fact, from the very moment the engine starts out as a raw cast engine block all the way through to adding the engine oil, only one worker will lay their hands on it. As a result, each and every AMG engine has its own unique characteristics. Before sending the engine off for cold testing, that engine mechanic adds a unique engine plate with their engraved signature on it.
AMG also produces engines for a very select group of partners. Pagani was recently joined by Aston Martin as one of the partners that can rely on AMG for the development and production of their engines. For Pagani there are only two dedicated engineers qualified to build all AMG V12 engines that go in the Pagani Huayra.
The AMG facilities in Affalterbach host the production of the V8 and V12 engines, while the four cylinder engines that can be found in the A45 and CLA 45 AMG are produced elsewhere. As soon as the engines are finished they are shipped out to the Mercedes-Benz factories around the world where they are build in the car. This means you won’t see many finished cars in Affalterbach, but there are some. Besides the engine production Affalterbach also hosts the AMG Performance Studio where AMG vehicles are further customized to customer’s wishes. AMG Performance Studio can create anything from bespoke interior to custom paint jobs. In the same workshop you might also stumble upon DTM and F1 safety cars in for regular maintenance.
However the largest part of the facilities at the AMG headquarters are dedicated to research and development. Most AMG employees in Affalterbach work on the next generation AMG cars in close cooperation with Mercedes-Benz. Hanging around Affalterbach for a day you will see plenty of test mules and camouflaged Mercedes and AMG vehicles make their test rounds on the public roads around the factory.
While we toured the AMG factory we also had the chance to take a closer look at two recent AMG models: the Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster Final Edition and the SLS Black Series by AMG Performance Studio. The SLS Black Series by AMG Performance Studio is finished in a new fluorescent yellow paint job that you might recognize from the SLS Electric Drive. The SLS Final Edition marks the last production series of the SLS AMG which will see the introduction of a replacement later this year.
The Mercedes-AMG factory doesn’t offer frequent public tours, however there are some exclusive tours at six set dates a year. Although they do have a small showroom with a handful of AMG cars on display the tour is exclusively reserved for AMG customers and the participants of the AMG Emotion tour. If you do happen to own an AMG contact your dealer or Mercedes-AMG directly to hear more about the factory tour and the possibility to meet the employee that made your engine!