What is Germany known for? There is the discipline of its people, the beer, the autobahn, and the football triumphs. Then, there is the German car.
From the people’s car called the Volkswagen to a super sports car like Porsche, German car engineering is considered to be one of the best in the world. Its quality can best be shown in the trinity of German carmakers. Fondly called the Big Three, these are Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi.
Which company sells the most? Before we get down to the numbers, it is better to compare and contrast the three brands’ most powerful tuned-up models.
AMG used to be an engineering firm independent of the car manufacturer. It specialized in the enhancement and improvement of Mercedes Benz vehicles. In 1990, Daimler Chrysler took a controlling interest in the company. It then became the full owner in 2005. It has since become a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG.
AMG models are the highest and most expensive class of each Mercedes Benz model. It is further differentiated in its badge number, as it usually has only a couple of digits compared to the standard three. The look of the AMG is characterized by an aggression that complements its higher level of performance, marked by better handling and stability. Additionally, it makes use of carbon fiber more extensively.
Engines from AMG are all built by hand. Based in Affalterbach in Germany, the company prides itself in a one man to one engine philosophy. The builder’s signature will be stamped on the engine produced with an engraved plaque.
Unlike other tuning firms that specialize in Mercedes Benz vehicles like Brabus, AMG models are sold side by side with the regular production models. Engine covers are made of carbon fiber and brakes are of carbon ceramic.
Some of its engines and the Mercedes models they are used for include the following:
2-liter inline-4 turbo engine for the “45” series
5.5-liter M152 V8 engine for the “55” series
6.2-liter M156 V8 engine for the “63” series
5.5-liter M157 V8 BiTurbo engine for the “63” series
6-liter M275 V12 BiTurbo engine for the “65” series
In addition, AMG also has a Black Series available for two-door Mercedes AMG vehicles. Black Series vehicles are characterized by further weight reduction, bucket seats and alterations on the exterior. It can be done on the following models:
SLK 55 AMG
CLK 63 AMG
SL 65 AMG
C 63 AMG
As a testament to AMG’s expertise, it also provides engines and components to Pagani and Aston Martin. Pagani is now exclusively using the M120 that was originally used by the SL 73 AMG.
The BMW M GmbH is part of the giant German car manufacturer BMW AG. The BMW racing program was hugely successful back in the 60’s and 70’s. To further facilitate the program, the company created BMW M, or M-Technik. It aimed to supplement the company’s car portfolio with modified and higher trim models.
BMW M cars also have modified transmissions, suspensions, interior trims and aerodynamics. There are also alterations in the exterior to make them standout compared to the regular production models. The cars are then tested and further enhanced at the private facility of the company in the Nurburgring racing circuit.
Outside the X1 and X3 compact crossovers and the flagship 7 Series luxury sedan, all BMW production models have M versions.
The current M cars include the following:
M3 – E92 coupe and E93 cabriolet
M5 – F10 saloon
M6 – F12 coupe and F13 cabriolet
X5 M – E70 SAV
X6 M – E71 SAV
The X5 and the X6 are the first SUV models with the M badge. However, these two were actually developed by the BMW Group and not by BMW M.
Future M cars include the following:
M2 – F20 coupe and F20 cabriolet
M3 – F80 sedan
M4 – F82 coupe and F30 cabriolet
All these will be released in 2014, except for the F20 cabriolet that is slated for production in 2015.
The company quattro GmbH is a fully owned subsidiary of Audi AG. It was established in 1983 and it specializes in manufacturing high performance Audi vehicles and components. It can also customize an Audi car based on the specifications requested by the customer. It took its name from the Audi Quattro, a four-wheel drive vehicle inspired by rally racing. As a result, the name of the company is styled with the lower case q, as in quattro GmbH.
Aside from designing, testing and producing high-end Audi vehicles, the company also creates state of the art road wheels and sports suspension systems. It also makes specialist body parts to dress up the vehicle, such as front bumpers, splitters, side skirts, rear bumpers, diffusers and rear spoilers.
The quattro line includes the following Audi models:
RS – stands for RennSport, or racing sport. These are conventional sedan or station wagons that have the technology and performance of a high-end sports car.
S – stands for Sport. This is a trim specification that gives a sporty appearance to the regular Audi models.
The company also produces the R8, a mid-engine twin seat vehicle that is exclusively designed, developed and manufactured by quattro GmbH. It has a 4.2-liter FSI engine, with options for either a V8 or V10. There is also a diesel engine concept called the R8 V12 TDI.
The company is also responsible for the Q7, the most powerful diesel engine-powered SUV. It has a V12 Turbocharged Direct Injection, or TDI, internal combustion engine. It performs like a modern sports car, with top speed limited to 250 kilometers per hour.
Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi are three of the most popular cars. In their native Germany, first quarter numbers show that Mercedes Benz is the most popular with 62,909 units sold, followed by BMW’s 55,376 and Audi’s 55,338.
In the United States, sales numbers for the first half of the year shows that BMW is the most popular with 140,431 units sold, followed by Mercedes’ 90,650 and Audi’s 74,277.
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