A visit to Mercedes AMG – talking bikes, fast cars and inspiration…
Why are we so mad about what we do? Is it the drive to achieve the ultimate performance, a fascination for technology, or the desire to consistently improve ourselves and our bikes? Perhaps it’s the thrill of pushing the limit? High speeds? Or just the simple joy of moving at speed?
There are so many reasons why we love mountain biking. And surely these are the same ones that are awoken when we catch sight of a fast car.
So that’s precisely why we didn’t hesitate for a moment when the AMG ROTWILD MTB Racing Team invited us to Affalterbach for a tour of the AMG plant. During our time as journalists, we’ve visited tons of production and manufacturing facilities, but the day we spent in Affalterbach was on a completely different level.
2.7 litre, 180 horse power – as we puttered into AMG’s entrance in our Audi A6, we felt immediately out-gunned. To our left was the new GT, there was an SLS in the corner; we were literally surrounded by cars we only see in our wildest fantasies. But there was an entirely different purpose behind this Wednesday afternoon – and unfortunately, it didn’t involve reenacting our fantasies.
The AMG portfolio isn’t just home to these luxury cars (although for the record, our favourite is the Mercedes G63 AMG 6×6, costing over 400,000 €), it also produces cars for mere mortals that cost around a tenth of the G63. And these are exactly the kind of motors that they’re kitting the AMG ROTWILD MTB Racing Team out with.
Ahead of the day’s official key ceremony, there was unmistakable tension in the air despite the blazing sun and warm temperatures. Stood between the two good-looking pro cross-country riders, Sofia Wiedenroth and Nadine Rieder, the ever-smiling Stefan Kudella waited impatiently to enter the sacred home of AMG, where the official handing over of the keys for the team vehicles would take place.
Nadine, can we ride with you?
Vrooooooom. With an aggressive growl, the AMG 2.0 litre turbo-charged four-cylinder motor gets the GLA45 AMG going. Its 360-horse power means the GLA45 accelerates from 0 – 100km/h in 4.8 seconds, satisfyingly out-running the Porsche 911 Carrera. Top speed: 250km/h. We don’t hesitate before asking: Nadine, can we ride with you?
A look behind the scenes
Contrary to our assumptions, no cars are actually built at the AMG headquarters in Affalterbach, just the V8 and V12 motors. Over 1,300 full-time employees work here, focusing on development, the production of motors, administration, sales and marketing. Developing one new motor takes around four years, costing about half a billion euros in the process.
By the end of the day we were all really impressed and not just by the fascinating cars that had surrounded us, but also by the work process in the assembly and development departments. What’s more, the opportunity to take a glance outside of the cycling world was invaluable and inspiring, giving us a different perspective on our own industry. At both AMG and in our world, it’s about performance, a love for the unusual and having fun at speed.
Words: Robin Schmitt Pictures: Klaus Kneist