The name alone sparks salivation and daydreams from the mouths and minds of men and women alike. The vehicles made by the company may look and feel like they are synonymous with everything from luxury to racing, and from casual comfort to sporty. The truth, however, is much more simple: Mercedes is about quality…at a very high price. With that being said, most anyone can find one that not only performs the way they want it to, but that fits their personality as well. From the A-Class to the C-Class, and everything from coupes to SUVs, a Mercedes chosen by anyone will almost certainly be a direct extension of their desires and characteristics.
Which brings us to the topic at hand. In 1967 the AMG GmbH (Gesellschaft mit besranchter Haftung) was released by Burgstall a.d. Murr of Affatterbach; Germany. Mercedes-Benz, however, wouldn’t take complete control of the company officially until thirty-two years later, in 1999. Produced and sold to a worldwide market, the car was considered to be made by the ‘high-performance’ division of Mercedes-Benz. With a much tougher, angrier look, better stability and handling, and better performance (they were also made with much more carbon fiber than their cousins), the AMG was also the most expensive of all Mercedes vehicles.
Founded and created by Ernhard Melcher and Hans Werner Aufrecht, the AMG has enjoyed success on and off the racetrack since the beginning. Both men loved motorsports, and it was that love and passion that sparked the desire to engineer a sport car like no other available. Even the name of the car was chosen with affection: ‘A’ for Aufrecht; ‘M’ for Melcher; ‘G’ for GroBaspach, which was the town Augrecht hailed from. And it was these three individual parts of the name that would dictate the future: The AMG would go from a car designed by a small, two-man outfit all the way to an automobile brand that was known and loved all over the world. According to Mercedes-AMG.com the two men from the Daimier-Benz Development Department went from focusing on a 300SE engine to following their hearts and indulging their love for racing, and it changed the future of motorsports forever.
In the fifty-two years since they first came out, the AMG has changed over the years, of course, both in appearance and performance. However, they still remain at the top of the monetary food chain for the company. So, the question is, how much do you really know about the AMG? Well, if you claim to be any kind of Mercedes-lover, you should know something. But whether you possess every last smidgen of knowledge about them, have a mediocre level of AMG smarts, or know nothing at all, what we have for you should strike your fancy. Below is a list we have put together which consists of twenty of the very best and most popular AMG models every made, listed from our ‘MOST’ most favorite to our…well, to our 20th most favorite. Even for those of you who have an entirely utilitarian perspective when it comes to automobiles, this should give you the interesting reading fix you need to get through your day (or week, whichever is appropriate). So read on to enrich your mental database and learn more about…
The 20 Best Mercedes AMG Models of All-Time
1. The 1988 AMG 300CE 6.0…aka…’The Hammer’
I have to say, we’re off the an amazing start. The 1988 AMG 300CE 6.0 was not only an incredible car to look at, it was the most powerful of them all (hence the nickname ‘The Hammer). This gorgeous coupe had a W126 S-Class V8 engine that had been changed a bit for the better, which made it bigger (now a 6.0) as well. Now the AMG boasted more torque and horsepower than ever before (417 ft.-lb. and 380 hp, respectively), which gave it the ability to go from 0 to 60 mph in only five seconds, not to mention providing it with the muscle to surpass 186 mph. With its amazing ducktail-styled spoiler, wide-bodied kit, and an exhaust by AMG, this baby is said to be the very car that caught the eye of Mercedes-Benz and got the ball rolling for negotiations for their buyout of AMG. We think it’s a dream on wheels…
2. The 2003 AMG E55
This piece of eye candy is actually a 2nd generation E55, and 2003 was its second year running after debuting at the 2002 Paris Motor Show. It was hauled around by a supercharged 5.4 liter V8, and it put out 520 lb.-ft. of torque and 469 horses (though the truth is that it produced an extra 21 horses just to keep time with the AMG S55). Add to those perks a gearbox that was a 5-speed automatic by Mercedes (the only gearbox they manufactured that was able to take all of the torque then engine put out) and you have yourself one potent little beast. Thanks to all of those attributes, the E55 was among the most aggressively accelerating in-gear cars of that time, says Carbuzz.
3. The 2008 AMG SL65: Black Series
This is the first of several SL series AMGs on our list, and it was also one of the lightest in weight that was made, scaling in 550 lbs. lighter than a run-of-the-mill 65s. It also gained power fast, and the lighter weight likely contributed to that fact. Instead of being a rag-topped convertible, some of the carbon fiber we spoke of earlier made up the fixed hard roof, and it also came with a spoiler that was retractable and a body that was wider than what fans of the regular 65 were used to. It has a wicked cool look that seems to stay awesome no matter what year it is. Put all those looks with a bi-turbo 6.0 liter V12 that pumps out 661 horsepower and 740 lb.-ft. of torque and you have yourself one tough machine!
4. The 2011 AMG W204 C63: Edition 577
A 6.2 liter M156 engine, a spoiler that blew the mind, and flaring arches, the W204 C63 only came as a coupe, and rightly so. Could you really picture this as a sedan? But that’s beside the point; The M156 engine managed to pretty much change the world as far as V8s were concerned, even though it took second stage to the M3 GTS by BMW, but the design and style offered by this model was enough to get attention, and that’s not even mentioning the incredible sound of its motor or the fact that it put out 510 horses. The original engine in this car was actually a smaller version of the V8 that happened to be turbocharged . To put it simply, this particular model is legendary with AMG fans, and that’s exactly how it should be!
5. The 1997 AMG SL73
Now we have come to the second SL model on our list, the 1997 SL73. This particular model is a displacement AMG, and it has the privilege of being one of the rarest AMG models on the planet, with only 85 units ever produced (though some say it was closer to 50). Manufactured from ’97 to ’01, this car somewhat resembled a Mustang II from some angles, but it was definitely not; in fact, it was top-of-the-line…the very best that could be bought with money. It was capable of hitting over 200 mph without breaking a sweat, says Carscoops, and but you had to take the original speedometer out because it only went up to 150. Reaching 60mph in 4.6 seconds under limited traction could be boasted, and it came with upgrades in the braking system and suspension that helped the actual car keep up with the power that the motor provided…incredible!
6. The 1987 AMG 190E 3.2…aka…’The Baby Hammer’
Preceding ‘The Baby Hammer’ was the Mercedes-Benz 190E Evo II, but that car was only partially an AMG, so don’t get the two confused. The Baby Hammer has a regular AMG body fitted with an AMG body kit, a 3.2 liter engine tuned by AMG, AMG wheels, and Zebrono wood interior. This particular model was the very first sold directly by Mercedes dealerships and came with a warranty backed by Mercedes. The fact is, they only made around 200 of these babies, and though it may be a bit boxy in appearance compared to some of the AMG models, it is one of the rare ones, and one of the more popular, as well. Putting out 234 lb.-ft. of torque and 231 horsepower out of its inline 6-cylinder just adds to the partiality shown by fans.
7. The 1971 AMG 300 SEL 6.8…aka…’The Red Pig’
Okay, so maybe you’re thinking that this AMG model isn’t the sexiest in the world, but we challenge you to look past what you see on the outside and gaze into its SOUL. And let’s just say, for the record, that this was originally a RACECAR. The street-legal models are official replicas, just so you know, and they don’t come with sponsor stickers. Anyway, the original was very big and faster than hell, winning best in class and 2nd overall at the ’71 Spa Francorchamps 24-Hours, says Haggerty. When Mercedes bought AMG officially, they looked for the original in northern France, then decided to build one for themselves. The public fought to see it, and demand was so high that Mercedes built yet another just for display. A powerful piece of work with what is perceived as a shabby book cover, the Red Pig makes our list for its incredible history and the general love held for it by AMG fans the world over.
8. The 1997 AMG CLK GTR
Mercedes was working on this car right after they acquired AMG. It was an FIA GT1 racecar. They used a McLaren F1 GTR during its development, but unfortunately it was something of a let-down when it came to the racetrack. It was re-developed in 1999 and finally completed to full specs, but only 26 of the cars were produced, and six of those were roadsters. The car’s 6.9 liter V12 put out torque at 572 lb.-ft. and gave 612 horses using a 6-speed manual tranny and a lightweight carbon fiber body. This limited serpent-like vehicle preceded the AMG-Mercedes Project 1. It looks like the company made the ultimate sexy speed demon.
9. The 2010 AMG SLS
Our third LS series AMG is now and the list, and this model was the very first to be designed and built exclusively by AMG. It had the same gull-wing doors as the 300LS, as well as the very first naturally aspirated engine in the world, a series production 6.2 liter M159 V8 that was upworked from 563hp to the 622hp that was in the Black Series model. Mostly, the 2010 SLS was considered to be mostly a ‘super GT’ than a super car, and was built entirely from scratch from a ‘clean sheet’, so to speak . Also, with the exception of a few 300SL series cars that were custom-ordered, this was the first to be constructed entirely of aluminum wrapped around a spaceframe made only of alloy; it weighs in at only 3,500 lbs., according to AMG’s engineers and builders. This obviously contributes to its ability to give 479 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,750 rpm., as well as its mind-boggling 571 hp at 6,800 rpm. Incredible and dumb-founding…
10. The 2016 AMG GT R
She strolled onto the catwalk wearing AMG Magno paint in ‘Green Hell’ and a Pan-American grille…all sat in silence and reverence for ‘The Beast of Green Hell’. She did the Nurburgring in a mere 7:10:92, showing a poise and a grace under complete control that most others never acquire. This car was engineered and build to directly be a competitor of the Porsche 911 GT3, and to accomplish that they bestowed upon it rear-wheel steering technology, a traction-control system with nine stages, and a twin-charged 4.0 liter V8 engine with a torque at 520 lb.-ft. and 577 hp…whew!
11. The 1974 AMG 300 SL Gull Wing
Basically, this particular model was developed after AMG completely broke down, and then redesigned and built, the iconic original version, and it didn’t go over well with enthusiasts. Why would they do this thing? What could motivate them? Well, they decided to do this to the planet’s very first ‘Super Car’? Because the 1957 300SL could be better. As the fourth SL-series car on our list, you may agree in a bit. It originally had a 4.5 liter V8 that puts out 280 hp, along with major changes made to the body and chassis. Put those together with new intakes and suspension, as well as aesthetic alterations like a blackened grille, new wheels and interior, and reworked panels, and you have the 1974 version. This model, however, was upgraded and tweaked to give 380hp out of a 6.0 liter V8, so it basically blows the other away. Now, that’s what I call upgrading.
12. The 1996 AMG C36
Made from 1995 to 1997, the C36 was the very first C-Class made that was performance-based, as well as the first AMG-tuned car to be put through mass-production. Around 5,200 of them were made during those years, with only 200 of them coming to the United States (hear that, collectors?). At that time, AMG and Mercedes were working together, so the C36 was built to rival the BMW M3. Did it work? We think so. According to Autowise, the only reason the M3 ever came into existence was through AMG and their farting around with the 190E. Anyway, the AMG version put out during that three years basically a 3.6 liter M104 by Mercedes and featured an in-line six valve engine that put out 276 horses. Eventually, this model was replaced with the C43, which gave 306hp, and didn’t feature the old four-speed that the C36 had, but that’s neither here nor there. The triple-year C36 began the fad of AMG tuning the C-Class line, and that is really saying something.
13. The 2001 SL73
This is the fifth SL on our list, and the second SL73, the first being the ’97 discussed earlier. So, you may be saying, ‘Well, how different can it be?’ Well, buckle up, buttercup, because the changes are more than a few. The SL73 is said to be one of the most kickass conversions ever accomplished, so let’s take a look. Basically, in the beginning, you had to purchase an SL600 at cost. Then it took around $50k in addition to cost, a pre-order (followed by a turn-over to AMG), and then you had to wait for what seemed like an astronomical amount of time for completion. The creation of the self-standing SL73 pretty much eliminated all of that, with the exception of cost. With a 7.3 liter displacement engine that gave 518hp and 553 lb.-ft. torque, many thought it was worth it…but not everyone. Only 73 units under went the conversion from SL600 to SL73, and some weren’t even sold. But it was FAST, going from 0 to 60 in 4.8 seconds and reaching 186mph. It wound up getting replaced by the SL55, and then the SL65, in ’03 and ’04 respectively. However, the engine continued to be used successfully.
14. The 2007 AMG R63
Dubbed the ‘Mommy Mercedes’ due to its ability to seat six and still reach speeds up to 155, the 2007 R63 is basically a very made-up crossover with balls. Yes, it happens to have a couple of different personalities: One it shows off, and one you SHOW OFF, but the fact remains that the R63 is still an AMG/Mercedes baby, and really that’s what matters. The vehicle that Mercedes called a ‘sports tourer’ before the term ‘crossover’ was adopted is a nice surprise, It provides you with 507hp , which is self-explanatory if you are driving regularly on the autobahn, and some are, even with their tots in tow. At nearly $90k, one might have some confusion as to why it should even be considered, but the fact is that this beast kicks ass, and it’s very comfortable and luxurious to boot. With the name on the rear it’s worth that price all day long.
15. The 2012 AMG G55 Kompressor
‘Boxy’ is likely a bit of an understatement when it comes to the G55 Kompressor, regardless of what year the model is. The bus-like vehicle only comes in the station wagon-like model, which is obviously a family-oriented vehicle, unless you constantly haul a softball team. With that being said, this particular AMG holds its own, so let’s take a look at some of its attributes. First, the ‘G-Wagen’, as it is often called, has it all; the question should be, ‘What CAN’T it do?’ But seriously, it does. With a 5.4 liter V8 that has been supercharged, can go so fast that they had to put a speed limiter in them so they wouldn’t reach 60 mph too fast; as of 2008 they put out 500 ponies!). But the 2012 actually comes with a twin-turbo 6.0 V12 , so imagine that. Put all of that power into what is basically a fully-equipped house and you have one badass ride…we’re just saying.
16. The 1983 AMG 500SEC
Based on the W126 S-Class coupe, the 500SEC provided drivers with better brakes, a better exhaust system, brand new and improved handling, and an aero package to top it all off. It also put 340 hp out of its upgraded engine, thanks to a new cylinder head that was equipped with four valves per cylinder. AMG developed it just for this particular engine, and it not only had more power, but the airflow was superior for the times. While it was a bit boxy in appearance, it was still a Mercedes, and besides, that was in back in those days. This was a potent little machine that held its own easily.
17. The 2013 AMG A45
Well, it may not have been around for long, but the 2013 A45 was a high-performing little hatchback that was new and unusual in many ways. It had the most powerful four cylinder engine in existence; the turbo-boosted machine displaced two liters, putting out a boosted horsepower of 355 and 327 lb.-ft. of torque. It was a sizzling little number, that’s for sure, but considering the fact that they stopped making them, we have to think they may have gone too far. Some say the car was flawed in some way, It was not only noisy, but the gearbox just couldn’t go neck-and-neck with the motor, making the thing a bit awkward-feeling to drive, especially after the successful release of similar vehicles by other companies. However, even though they had made fresh new upgrades to make it better by 2015, it already had a nasty stigma attached. The truth is that the improvements were working, but it was just too late, and that is a sad story ending for a great vehicle indeed.
18. The 2017 AMG Project One
This incredibly sporty show/concept car was released in 2017 and presented at Germany’s International Motor Show by Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton and Dieter Zetsche, the head of Mercedes-Benz. The fact is that ever since the Formula One came out, Mercedes wanted to work on this car, and at last they did, in cooperation with AMG, of course. While it was just a concept car, it was a mind-blowing one, so let’s take a look at some specs that helped it make our list. Built with hybrid technology, the Project One will put out a staggering 1000 hp, and it is capable of traveling a breathtaking 217.5 miles per hour! The best part is that while it has these capabilities it is amazingly efficient, and Mercedes-AMG states that it promises them that they will be the ‘Future of Driving Performance’. Just check this baby out and take a good look at the detailed specs, and you will find that it’s hard not to agree. The best part? The company has a hopeful release date of 2020 for the real deal, concept aside.
19. The 2007 AMG CLK63
This particular AMG-tuned car is a member of the second generation in the C-Class family. It was offered as both a 2-door coupe or convertible, and it was also used as an F1 Safety Car. The thing oozed class and luxury, but there was more to this car than what met the eye. With 3-link front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering, it was comfortable and easy to handle, making it seem even more luxurious from the inside; it was also larger and roomier as well. Under the hood sat owner’s choice of a V6, V8, or inline 5 diesel, initially speaking. All of those were gotten rid of, and by 2006 they were replaced. First introduced at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show, this particular Mercedes-AMG offering was worth the price in many, many ways (and that price happened to be very high, in case you hadn’t guessed).
20. The 2006 AMG CLK DTM
With the coupe made for the 2004 model year and the convertible for 2006, we chose the ’06 simply for having the rag-top option. But this car was more than a summer cruising vehicle by a long shot. It came with an MB 5G-Tronic transmission which, along with a 3-valves-per-cylinder V8, could produce 574 bph and reach speeds upwards of 200mph. All of that power was combined on the insides of a great little sports car, and our choice was a convertible to boot. You just can’t beat a good thing, and this was a good thing.
So, there they are: The 20 Best Mercedes AMG Models of All-Time. Some of them may have surprised you, but each and every model on the list was chosen due to it’s attributes and other positive characteristics, though we did try to lay it on the line when it came to setbacks. The fact is that Mercedes and AMG have done a brilliant job of creating performance vehicles that showed their adoration for motorsports, and they have been incredibly successful. Hopefully this list shows that. Well, we thank them for all they have given us to enjoy…it has certainly been one hell of a ride, and there is more to come for sure.