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BABY AMGs ON THE WAY

Mercedes-AMG has an­nounced it will de­liver a two-tier range of com­pact high per­for­mance cars start­ing from next year’s all-new A-Class.

The Mercedes-Benz high-per­for­mance brand, which this year cel­e­brates its 50th birth­day, will de­liver two dif­fer­ent per­for­mance and price points from its go-fast ju­nior mod­els.

The idea is sim­i­lar to the two-tiered strat­egy it al­ready uses on its larger cars, which use both the 3.0l V6 twin turbo power in the “43” mod­els and 4.0l V8 twin turbo power in the “63” mod­els.

“The com­pact car fam­ily is go­ing to be ex­tended,” AMG chair­man To­bias Mo­ers said. “The Con­cept A sedan (shown at the Shang­hai Mo­tor Show this year) has typ­i­cal AMG fea­tures, so you can ex­pect that from AMG as well. We will com­ple­ment our suc­cess­ful ‘45’ mod­els with new per­for­mance ver­sions, with two ver­sions, like we do with larger cars.”

The first AMG off the up­graded MFA front-drive ar­chi­tec­ture will be next year’s A45 AMG, fol­lowed by CLA and GLA ver­sions spread across the next two years.

But while Mo­ers ini­tially re­sisted de­mands to build the “43” V6, the first AMG pow­er­plant not to be built by hand by one crafts­man in Af­fal­ter­bach, he in­sisted that the push for 100,000 mod­els a year hasn’t taken the edge off AMG’s in­de­pen­dence.

“Fu­ture four-cylin­der per­for­mance en­gines will also be built in Af­fal­ter­bach. We have to en­sure AMG is in­de­pen­dent within a big group. We have our own strat­egy and we de­cide how our prod­ucts are de­fined. We are part of the world­wide Daim­ler R&D net­work. We have new stand­alone AMG per­for­mance cen­tres, with some com­ing to Dubai and Syd­ney, and we have the first one in Tokyo.”

ENER-G FOR G-CLASS?

Still with Mercedes-Benz and more de­tails are emerg­ing of the next gen­er­a­tion of the fa­mous G-Class. The Ge­landewa­gen has re­mained largely un­changed in terms of its styling for 38 years but the new one, due in 2018, is ex­pected to be slightly al­tered, al­though only slightly. The boxy de­sign is set to re­main, but our sources have told us that there could be some frontal de­sign el­e­ments from the 2012 Ener-G-Force con­cept.

In ad­di­tion the G will be more than 100mm longer and get a wider track. It will also get elec­tro-me­chan­i­cal steer­ing which is vi­tal for the lat­est driver as­sis­tance sys­tems and new sus­pen­sion up front. It will shed more than 200kg.

BRZ STi ON THE WAY?

Subaru has al­ways re­fused to con­firm an STi ver­sion of its BRZ coupe, but now our sources have spot­ted it test­ing in the US ahead of a 2018 de­but. The car is un­likely to get

UP­GRADES FOR MINIVAN

Kia will in­tro­duce an up­graded Se­dona peo­ple car­rier in 2018. De­sign changes are likely to be min­i­mal but will prob­a­bly in­clude those in­tro­duced re­cently on the lat­est Sorento and Sportage. There will be new front and rear lights and wheels. Inside it will get new in­fo­tain­ment sys­tems and the six-speed auto will be re­placed by an eight-speed box.

VE­LOC­ITY FOR VELOSTER

Hyundai will de­but the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion of its Veloster coupe in 2018. The new model is un­likely to grow in size but will adopt new front and rear de­signs to give it a more dy­namic, sporty look. The sin­gle rear pas­sen­ger door will re­main but the rear win­dow will get longer to pro­vide more in­te­rior light and bet­ter rear vis­i­bil­ity.

The Veloster is to ben­e­fit

GOLF SALES BE­LOW PAR

The car that largely in­vented, de­fined and keeps re­defin­ing the hatch­back body style looks like it’s fi­nally in big trou­ble. Euro­pean sales of Volk­swa­gen’s Golf fell 28% in April, with Volk­swa­gen in­sid­ers point­ing to can­ni­bal­i­sa­tion from its own new Tiguan SUV, which is on track to over­take it in global sales later this year.

The Golf, in hatch and wagon forms, suf­fered dou­ble digit sales drops in the five big­gest Euro­pean mar­kets — Ger­many, the UK, France, Italy and Spain.

The Golf is los­ing ground de­spite a re­cent changeover to the up­graded Mark 7.5 ver­sion.

VW sold 209,764 Golfs world­wide to the end of April, ac­cord­ing to Jato Dy­nam­ics, which was 7.6% fewer than in the first quar­ter of 2016.

By con­trast, the Tiguan could pass the Golf’s vol­umes by the third quar­ter of the year. It screamed up the sales charts, grow­ing by 47.9% over the first quar­ter of 2016 to post 172,623 sales.

The 2018 MercedesBenz G-Class could re­ceive a few de­sign items from the 2012 Ener-G-Force con­cept.

Subaru is busy test­ing an STi ver­sion of its ex­ist­ing BR-Z.

The VW Tiguan looks set to over­take the Golf in sales vol­umes later this year.

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