Power Play | let the battle begin

Posted on Jul 9, 2012 by

The news of Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG switched my thinking hat on. Sports divisions of car makers are launching more, newer cars and as a result, the number of high performance cars in showrooms is going up by the day.

German car makers are undoubtedly leading this race and naturally, fiercely competing among themselves for the top slot. , BMW M range and Audi Quattro RS series are competing tooth and nail with an ever growing range of high-performance cars.

Ironically, this is happening at a time when governments in Europe and elsewhere are hitting hard on emission standards. Not to forget that the world economy has been reeling with recessionary pressures for over half a decade, if not more.

Mercedes A 45 AMG

Mercedes A 45 AMG will likely massage nothing less than 340 horses. Expect it in early 2013.

So why are these high performance cars filling up every possible market segment? Is it desperation on part of car makers to woo every possible customer in their showroom or is it show of muscle in tough times? Whatever it is, this is an interesting shift in trends.

Up until now, high performance was a domain of large, very expensive cars. Now the guns are aimed at smaller, more agile and comparatively less costly cars. I am not suggesting one bit that these are inexpensive cars, merely a few notches below their big, bad brethren.

An added advantage – this new playground allows car makers to produce limited number of cars that are likely to get sold fairly quickly and with high profit margins on them. On the flip side,  it allows them to test new technologies such as carbon-fibre materials, light construction, turbo charging systems… to name a few. Win win from both ends.

BMW-M135i

The BMW M 135i pack in 320 ponies and is likely to hit the showrooms later in 2012

Undoubtedly, producing limited number of cars are not what car plants are designed for, barring a few uber luxury brands right on top of exclusivity and price spectrum. However, higher than usual profit margins justify limited runs of tailored cars, if I may call them so in a broad sense. Let’s take a look a few of these peppy toys coming our way in times ahead.

The Mercedes A 45 AMG packs in a 2.0 liter engine that produces 250kW/340 horsepower. We are talking the power of 170 ponies per liter here. AMG is all guns blazing. Plans are nothing short of firing 8 new models over the next five years, including a smaller brother of the iconic gullwing Mercedes SLS.

BMW’s M division is not sitting by the fence and watching the three pointed star steal the limelight. A diesel engine is being introduced in the sports division soon. Later this year, the M 135i, with an output of 320 horsepower is being introduced to take on the Mercedes A 45 AMG. An M6 Gran Coupe is also planned for 2013.

Audi Q3 RS

The Q3 RS was unveiled at Beijing Motor Show. It is only a matter of time before this sports SUV rolls out from Audi’s production lines.

Audi’s Quattro division is somewhat trying to catch up with Mercedes AMG and BMW M. We saw a 360 hp Audi TT RS a while ago. The 450 hp RS4 is Audi’s newest salvo in the power play. A new R8 is in the works, according to sources. Looking at the success of its Q series, sporty version SUVs cannot be ruled out. It’s only a matter of time before we see Q3 RS fitted with 360 hp engine, first seen at the Beijing Motor Show, hit the production lines.

With high fuel costs in Europe and limping US economy, the oil rich Middle East becomes a natural hot bed for these cars, in addition to China and Russia. Unfortunately, a majority of these high performance cars are bought merely as status symbols. None the less, the consumer is getting a healthy dose of small, power packed cars.

‘Good things come in small packages’ and not ‘bigger is better’ seems to be the driving mantra these days.

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