In an automotive realm heavily flavored with "mine's bigger (not to mention faster and cooler) than yours, " an AMG badge is a seriously enviable mark of distinction. It says you have the money to go the extra mile and suggests you have a taste for power and perhaps even the talent to manage it.
So here's an example of badging that's enviable and then some. The hottest member, in fact, of a very hot family: lighter than its CLK stablemates, with more power, less mass, and more of everything else-brakes, tires, suspension.
These are all reassuring things for us to dwell on as the Nürburgring's Nordschleife unwinds at an eye-widening rate just beyond the windshield, while DTM driving ace Bernd Schneider works the steering wheel.
It's also reassuring to reflect that this car has a real racing heritage, mechanically identical to cars that appear on Formula 1 Grand Prix racetracks every weekend.
Why were we at the Ring? And what's this got to do with the U.S. market? We'll get to that in a minute.
Mercedes currently offers 18 AMG products, and discerning buyers-half of them living in the U.S.-gobble 'em up as fast as they're produced. Emboldened by this success, the AMG marketing brain trust came up with the Next Step: a special edition of an existing AMG product.