The forthcoming Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG hot hatch teased earlier this week will be just the first of several new AMG sports cars to feature all-wheel drive, according to Friedrich Eichlers, AMG's head of engines and power trains.
Currently, rear-wheel drive sports cars dominate the AMG line up although Mercedes uses 4Matic all-wheel drive transmissions in some of its regular sedans and wagons. However, AMG is looking to take beefed up all-wheel drive transmissions across to its performance range as its engines become more powerful.
"We will not only have all-wheel drive in the SUVs and the compact cars, we will also have that in the performance sedans," Eichlers says. The move, says Eichlers, is necessary as not only does the company want to get the power of its V8 engines to the ground better, but its competition is also choosing all-wheel drive to boost their acceleration times.
"It's absolutely necessary, our competitors have all-wheel-drive [vehicles] in the performance segment, so we have to do that too,' Eichlers says. "If you want to be a member of the club with cars that have 0-60 mph times of around 3.0 seconds, then you need to have all-wheel-drive for your sports cars.
Sports cars producing in excess of 660 ft-lbs in torque will be candidates for the new power trains. "The traction is a little bit of a problem for us, and we can solve this problem with all-wheel-drive." However, fans of rear-wheel drive sports need not be too concerned. Even though all-wheel drive is high on the current AMG agenda, rear-wheel drive sports cars will remain on the menu.
"Some people like two-wheel-drive because the steering is a little bit lighter and you can have more fun, with drift, when the rear of the car comes around. Some people like that," argued Eichlers. Front-wheel drive fans need not apply, however. "Front-drive cars are for children," Eichlers stated.