AMG seems ready to give up rear-wheel drive for AWD due to customer demand

Yes, even the AMG GT

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 / Image Credit: Mercedes-AMG
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First they came for the manual transmission. Then they came for the large-displacement V8. Then they came for the V12. Then they came for the non-hybrid internal combustion engine. Now they're coming for the pure, lightweight rear-wheel drive sports car. In comments to Autocar, AMG boss Tobias Moers made it clear that buyers want four wheels pulling their weight at all times. "Customers have given us the answer, and most want four-wheel drive," he said, explaining that when the AMG E-Class once offered RWD and AWD, more than 90 percent chose AWD.

Autocar takes that to mean that all of the next-gen AMG models will only offer AWD. There's a caveat here, in that the Affalterbach go-fast boffins install a Drift Mode in some offerings. That button disconnects the clutch that sends power to the front driveshafts, creating a rear-wheel drive experience. But pure and lightweight it will never be, especially when combined with the news that every AMG come 2021 will include some sort of hybrid system.

Even the AMG GT will adhere to the new regime. Moers admitted, "When I ask customers about the GT, they ask me about all-wheel drive. Regarding our competition, this is the downside of the AMG in terms of usability. People in Munich, for example, always, always ask for four-wheel drive." Anyone who's spent more than a few hours in Munich knows the place is lousy with Porsche 911 Turbos and Carrera 4s, and every Audi Sport product comes with Quattro. This next-generation SL-Class enters the hybrid AWD fold as well, since AMG's in charge of development and the new roadster will ride on the next-gen AMG GT platform.

On a side note, it sounds like the AMG twin-turbo V8 has hit its ceiling. Instead of pulling more ponies from the internal combustion engine, Moers said the next V8 powertrain will hold steady at 630 horsepower and gain additional motivation from hybrid assistance. Autocar wrote there'd be "a plug-in hybrid with an electric rear axle," but that counters what Moers recently said about using an electric front axle in the brand's hybrid drivetrains. The AMG GT Four-Door will eventually receive the electric front axle revealed on the concept car, and a hybrid V8 with an e-motor turning the front wheels could earn the 65-series designation.

Mercedes-Benz AMG GT Information

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