Mercedes-Benz’s AMG division is planning to launch an indirect successor to the classic 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II by the middle of the decade.
The new four-door, which will rival the forthcoming Audi RS3 and BMW M1, will become the range-topper for a new model based on the next B-class. The car’s size and proportions were previewed by the F800 Style concept (pictured) at the Geneva show.
Set to slot into the AMG line-up below the next-gen C63 AMG, the new saloon, codenamed C117 EVO, will itself be influenced by the next CLS. It will have a coupe-like profile, taut surfacing overlaid with prominent crease lines, four frameless doors and a separate boot.
Overall length shouldn’t be more than 4500mm, placing it in the same-sized class as the 190E Evo II from 1990.
But while that car used a 2.5-litre four-cylinder motor fettled by Cosworth, the new car will get a supercharged 3.2-litre V6 that is already undergoing bench testing at AMG’s headquarters.
The new engine is based on the new M276, a turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 which will power the new CLS350. Instead of a turbocharger, the AMG version uses an electrically operated pressure wave supercharger. Insiders hint it will make close to 400bhp in production trim.
Also under development at Volkswagen, the pressure-wave blower uses pressure waves from the exhaust gas to boost the induction. AMG intends to use this idea in larger V6s and possibly V8s.
Up until now the pressure-wave process has been used mainly in large earth-moving and marine diesel engines, although Ferrari did look seriously at applying it to its Formula One engines in the early 1980s.
The transmission for the AMG model is unknown, although all of the other versions of the car will be available with a seven-speed double-clutch gearbox.
While less powerful versions of the saloon will be front-wheel drive - the car’s platform is based on the MFA chassis that will also be used in the next A-class - Mercedes insiders have confirmed to Autocar that four-wheel drive will be available as an option on selected models.
It is expected that AMG will use that four-wheel drive system to provide a rear- biased power split, giving the hot version the feeling of a true rear-wheel-drive car.
Like the CLS estate, the saloon is part of Mercedes’ drive to attract a new, younger generation of buyers to its models. The firm is hoping that the AMG version will serve the same purpose for the performance brand.