The original AMG machine, the troubled SLR project built by AMG’s uncomfortable then-bedfellow McLaren, was never seen as a front runner. The second car, the SLS, was much loved by some owners but its size and price were barriers for others.
Now comes the GT, which keeps the SLS’s good bits but drops the price by about 30 per cent. It's managed to do that by a) not having the hard-to-engineer gullwing doors, and thanks to b) AMG, being a restless technology company, finding better, quicker, cheaper ways of producing the exotic structures needed.
Better still – some will think – there’s new 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 that moves the new car well up the efficiency pole from the SLS’s thunderous 6.3-litre bent-eight, though many will regret the passing of such an iconic lump.
In my book, two things at AMG hang in the balance. One is the styling: the GT’s roofline and rear sections seem a little bland against the best contemporary fast cars: Astons, Ferraris, Jaguars and Lamborghinis.
We’ll need to see the GT properly unveiled and photographed to be certain, but I have the gist of a feeling that AMG people care that bit more about ‘Ring times – and that bit less about high design – than they should to garner the gotta-have-one demand that has made Lamborghini so successful.
The other hurdle facing AMG and its perch as a producer of Daimler-sanctioned, own-brand fast cars is the future fate of Aston Martin, which looks like migrating into the Daimler fold sooner rather later. It could present AMG with another potentially troublesome partner, the likes of which it thought it had got rid of a few years ago when the McLaren partnership finished.
Except Aston differs from McLaren in that it is a bigger business with a much longer history of making distinguished road cars, run by a new boss (ex-Nissan chief Andy Palmer) who has already been welcomed into the back-rooms of the German company.
And AMG has amply shown itself to be an outfit that, despite being wholly owned by Daimler, is extremely jealous of its independence.
If I were being paid the requisite amount of wedge to advise Tobias Moers, AMG’s CEO, I’d suggest he get better at design, and fast.
This new GT’s going to be great, once you’ve slipped behind the wheel, but I’m not sure the design (as opposed to the proportions) will excite people. Yet that should be one of the headline missions of such a car. It can’t be flat out at the 'Ring all its life.