News that Volker Mornhinweg is leaving Mercedes-Benz’s AMG division to head up parent company Daimler’s van operations has been met with a rather large tinge of disappointment at Autocar.

The likable German worked wonders during his five tenure as boss of Mercedes-Benz’s performance car off-shoot, dragging AMG out from the crushing bureaucracy it once operated under to provide it with the sort of arms’ length independence he deemed was required to produce cars with real ability and, as he was always quick impress upon those who would listen, unique character.

Under Mornhinweg, AMG’s operations have grown in overall importance to Mercedes-Benz. More than this, its standing within the performance car community has been bolstered by the improvements he and his team based in the sleepy Swabian town of Affalterbach on the outskirts of Stuttgart have brought to both its regular line-up as well as in the establishment of the hardcore Black Series range.

Unlike others who have headed AMG over the years, Volker knew it would never be enough to simply provide Mercedes-Benz’s go-fast models with stonking straight line performance.

As a result, today’s AMG models are differentiated from their standard siblings in more ways than ever before. He made dynamics a priority from day one and personally backed moves, even those that involved big dips into the budget, that have made the current generation of AMG models the best and most entertaining yet.