As we head into the second decade of this millennium, the concept of a luxury sedan with the kind of performance you might expect of an exotic supercar is not particularly novel anymore. With choices ranging from the Jaguar XFR and Audi RS6 to the Cadillac CTS-V, the options are relatively plentiful. But it was not always so. Those of us old enough to have been aware of cars in the 1980s will surely remember the car that really set the segment alight.

AMG, then very much its own company, had been creating high performance versions of Mercedes-Benz cars for road and track since 1967. It wasn't until 1986 that the firm really grabbed the world's attention with what it called the Hammer. Starting with a run-of-the-mill 300E mid-size sedan, AMG stuffed the 5.6-liter V8 from the 560SEC coupe under the hood and then provided suspension and brakes to support it.

The Hammer wasn't the first hot rod European sedan, having been preceded by Mercedes' own 300SEL 6.3 and the original BMW M5. However, the Hammer took things to a whole new level with a top speed of over 190 mph and sub five-second 0-60 acceleration. Only about 30 or so Hammers were built, including at least one wagon version, but without them, we might well have missed out on some of the magnificent machinery we get to drive today. Reminisce along with the boys at Inside Line as they take a look at one of the most amazing sedans of the last century.

[Source: Inside Line]

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