It all dates back to a date in March 2010, when journalists assembled at a Volkswagen Group night to preview its offerings for the Geneva Motor Show the following day got a whole lot more than they bargained for. After all the heavily trailed products had done their turn on stage, Walter Rohrl appeared onboard a prototype of what would become the Porsche 918 Spyder. It was an "I was there" moment.
And yet even as we collected our jaws off the floor, none of us knew just how significant this moment would be, for what we could not know was that we were witnessing not merely the birth of a new car, but a new kind of car. This was the dawn of the hypercar and soon more would follow from McLaren and Ferrari, with Aston Martin not far behind.
But who would have bet it would be Mercedes-Benz that would be next in line? There was always a perception at Merc’s AMG performance wing that the brand would stretch only so far. The SLR was its first modern supercar and took forever to sell. The cheaper SLS fared far better but was not a runaway success either, as proved by the fact it’s been replaced by a car that uses the same platform but costs little more than half the price.
Things have changed at AMG in the last couple of years, however, by far the biggest of which has been a doubling of its sales to over 70,000 units last year. Confidence at Affalterbach is sky-high right now and with its almost unstoppable F1 juggernaut continuing in full flow, there would appear to have never been a better time for Mercedes to make the hypercar jump.