Imagine owning a car that you can use every day, with performance parts that are derived from years of experience in track racing. A vehicle that offers you the joys of owning a luxury car and a sports car all packaged into one powerful brute of a machine. The sort of car that your family can use during the day and that is equally at home on a racetrack on the weekend. To cater to those who seek such machines are the performance divisions of companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Volvo Cars and BMW.
Operating as a sub-brand of Mercedes-Benz, the Mercedes-AMG division has a clear focus on building high-performance cars that offer an exhilarating driving experience. At the heart of these cars is the AMG engine that follows the ‘one man, one engine’ principle. Each handmade engine is put together by a single engineer and the engine also bears the signature of that particular engineer. Along with the high-powered engine, Mercedes-AMG also tunes the suspension for better handling and fits the vehicle with performance parts. It also uses a generous amount of carbon fibre parts in order to make the vehicle lighter.
All this is carried out to ensure that the vehicle can cope with the high-powered engine and deliver the very best in terms of handling characteristics that one would expect from a performance car. Speaking about Mercedes-AMG, Roland Folger, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India says, “Worldwide, AMG stands for superlative automotive performance, unmatched exclusivity, high efficiency and dynamic driving pleasure. Today the AMG sub-brand has transformed itself as the sporting spearhead of Mercedes-Benz.” Incidentally, Mercedes-Benz India has been quick to bring its latest products to the Indian market and this includes the AMG CLA 45, C 63 AMG and the mighty AMG G 63 as well.
For BMW, the quest for performance began in 1972 when the company set out to create a division that would help facilitate BMW’s racing programme. Better known as the M division, it is committed to offering performance versions of BMW’s existing product portfolio. The modifications that the M division carries out include a high performance engine, sports transmission, a race-derived suspension set-up, a complete aerodynamic package that includes the modified body panels. There are enough ‘M’ badges both inside and outside to remind you that this isn’t just a BMW, but a thoroughbred performance machine.
In India, BMW offers the M Performance Training programme as well, which allows customers as well as prospective customers to get behind the wheel of one of these exquisite cars and learn how to derive the best in terms of performance. Vikram Pawah, president, BMW Group India, says, “The BMW M Performance Training programme offers fast and dynamic action on a race track environment with an emphasis on the highest levels of safety. Professional BMW instructors offer guidance on performance and safe driving both on and off race track, thus helping one develop a perfect command on vehicles in any situation.” BMW’s M division vehicles include the M3, M4 and M5, which are all available in India.
While Volvo has been known for building some of the safest cars available in the market and has stood at the forefront of innovation, in this regard, it was involved in racing through a performance company called Polestar. The company’s expertise exists in building track-bred versions of Volvo Cars such as the S60 Polestar, which was recently launched in India. The S60 Polestar boasts of over 260 different parts as compared to its stock counterpart and runs a high-performance race-tuned engine that delivers like no other. Tom von Bonsdorff, managing director, Volvo Auto India, had this to say about why a performance division is essential to Volvo Cars: “The performance segment is something that adds to the desirability of the brand. At Volvo, we now have all range of cars from the hatchback V40 to the XC90. With the S60 Polestar, we have a complete range of vehicles in the luxury segment, which supports the brand in general, and gives us the opportunity to offer our customers a performance car from Volvo.” He further added, “The Volvo S60 Polestar is the quickest car from Volvo's stable, and a combination of 20 years of Polestar's racing pedigree with Volvo's inherent pragmatism and engineering heritage. It is a powerful luxury vehicle with safety at its core.”
Bringing you closer to the track than ever before, these exquisite machines have their own place under the sun. The ability to turn heads and dash from 0 to 100 km/h in a blitz while keeping you cocooned in luxury as you get the ultimate adrenaline rush that only a race-derived engine can offer makes these machines the perfect choice for performance aficionados who seek precision, perfection, luxury and practicality.
The writer is an editor with MotorScribes and tweets at @VikramGour