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Visit to Affalterbach 7-14-16

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AMG GT The GT/GT S is the second sports car developed entirely in-house by Mercedes-AMG. Its front mid-engine design with a rear transaxle, the use of aluminium lightweight construction and its newly developed AMG 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine underscores the hallmark of AMG driving performance.
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Visit to Affalterbach 7-14-16

 
Old 07-15-2016, 07:47 PM
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Visit to Affalterbach 7-14-16

I last visited AMG in 2007 when I picked up a CLK63 Black and I wanted to see the new engine facility that was just breaking ground at the time of my last visit. In 2008 AMG was building about 30,000 engines a year. Since then the M177/178 is the new variant and I was more than curious as to what changes they've made in the assembly process, since now I own one. Today they build 70,000 AMG's all by hand! This doesn't count the 4 cylinder which are assembled elsewhere. They will start building Aston Martin V8's as well as the V12 Pagani's which are the only outside customers beside of course their race teams.

There are now 70 techs that build the AMG motors and they work in two shifts. AMG gets their pick of the top graduates from the german schools. Only one tech per motor and if he or she is sick, that motor and trolly will be pulled off the line and covered until the tech returns to work. The super speciality race motors and Pagani are built by only two very senior techs. The Pagani engines take about 15 hours to assemble compared to the S65, Sl65 which is 12 hours.

The M177/178 assembly starts with the block being bolted to a trolly which is moved by the tech only when the componets are green lighted by the computer and parts computer scanned. The block is received by AMG from a Mercedes foundry and it's already machined with the bearing caps installed. The tech then has to remove the caps to prep it for receiving the crankshaft which is at the next station. I watched as the crankshaft was lowered into the block and the tech installed the four bolt main caps along with the side bolts. This is one hell of a bottom end which is clearly understressed in it's present configuation. He then spun the crank easily showing how well it matched it's bearings.

Next the piston and rod assembly's are installed. AMG uses forged aluminum rods which have the end caps cracked in order to mate the rod cap perfectly with the I beam. The pistons are made by Mahle and are forged units. I saw the QR code on the top of each piston and watched as the tech scaned each one so AMG knows what tech built the engine and installed the piston into which cylinder.

From there the trolly moves to the cylinder head installation. I could go on and on but the interesting thing which I didn't know is that there are four cold tests performed during the assembly. The one after the heads are installed uses helium gas to detect if there is any valve or cylinder leakage. They use helium becasue the molecules are smaller than other gases and would show a potential leak with more specificity than even a hot test.

It takes a tech about three and a half hours to assemble a complete 4.0 motor which is surprising given the complexity of the forced induction. The final test is conducted in a special test module which takes the motor through a varity of checks. The system costs 2 Million euros and is superior to a hot test as it doesn't use petrol but provides more information.

One reason besides emissions of going to a 4.0 turbo was the location of the turbo's inside the hot V which allowed the engine to fit inside the C class chassis,
other considerations were fuel economy and ability to expand the power for different applications.

Andreas my tour guide told me that the 5.5 litre turbo V8's will be slowly phased out as well as the 6.2 which will only be used for the current GT3 vehicle.
AMG was clear their not a fan of tuners and will not modifiy their engines even in their special vehicle department. After seeing them assembled I can see why compromise something that has had such rigorious testing. BTW, I'm no choir boy. I've modified virtually every vehicle I've ever owned.

Next we were allowed to tour the special modification area where customers can have their vehicles painted or upholsterd in any way they desire. Other modifications can be made as well but no engine mods. AMG said we are not the fashion police and if a customer wants it we'll build it. I saw a red GT S getting a special red leather diamond stiched interior. Many other AMG GT's getting mods they declined to tell me ( for fear I would be jealous).
Also a G500 2 in Alien Green with some expensive interior upgrades several stages beyond designo. Next year G classes will be 50% AMG's and they are their most expensive vehicle (G65).
As we walked by the final building a door opened and out drove the test GT-R in camoflouge as they were making some changes to settings but got very vague when pressed. That car sounds unreal! I don't think I could have got any more info from Andres even if I waterboarded him.

He did say GT-R will be in the states this time next year. I asked the question I knew the answer too, and what was the target market for the GT-R and he said the Prosche GT3RS. We believe our car is going to be much faster becasue of balance. (I just made that up for JCart) so I asked when's the black series coming he just smiled.

The final stop was the engine development hot dyno rooms. They have five running all the time though a special converter which supplies electricity to the plant and they sell the extra to the city of Affalterbach.
Here's what blew me away, they run the engines at full throatle until it blows up! Only that way can they find the weak link.
The one running had been on the dyno ....ready for this ...FIVE MONTHS!
Their GT3 teams running the normally asperated motors will run a full race season on one motor. Last time I checked Gt3 Porsche Cup cars need a refresh after 24-30 hours.

After a nice cup of capachino in the lounge Andreas recommended a nice little town about 5 kilometer away named Marbach am Neckar for lunch. We headed there and had a great lunch and marvled at the buildings that were still standing from the 1200's. I guess it's in the German DNA to build things that last.

Jim
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California John (07-16-2016), jrcart (07-19-2016), PaulE550 (07-20-2016), Uhlenhaut (07-20-2016)
Old 07-16-2016, 12:50 AM
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Thanks for the write up, Jim.
I will admit I am jealous in a good way.
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Old 07-16-2016, 01:06 AM
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Very enlightening, thanks.

Did they mention when the 9Spd will start making it into the AMG cars?

Last edited by RJC; 07-16-2016 at 03:44 AM.
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Old 07-16-2016, 01:15 AM
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Terrific write-up. Thanks for all the information!
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Old 07-16-2016, 01:22 AM
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Great trip,and insight.

Did you see your car??
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Old 07-16-2016, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by RJC View Post
Very enlightening, thanks.

Did they mention when the 9Spd will start making it into the AMG cars?
They will not comment on future products although the question was asked as the 9 speed is an automatic, I wasn't too concerned.
The V12 will continue to use the 5 speed due to torque limitations of the transmissions which is 1000 nm. Motor will produce over 1200nm!
The DCS will have to be beefed up to handle the Black Series as it believe he said currently it's somewhere around 800 nm. (Don't flame me if this isn't right still jet lagged)
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Old 07-16-2016, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by AMG 17GT View Post
Great trip,and insight.

Did you see your car??
Well yes and no.

I ordered an Selenite Grey with red pepper interior which was built on 6-23-16.
Plan was to pick up at factory in Sindgelfingen.
When my wife saw the red pepper interior in person prior to leaving for Germany she said "That reminds me of your '79 VW Sirocco tin can with red vinyl and metallic grey!" long story..yada yada

Immediately changed my mind and went with the Solar beam yellow with black and same option well almost which she loved. Thank you Antony at FJ Temecula for helping get what I really wanted and arranging AMG tour.
Jim
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Old 07-16-2016, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim Brady View Post
Well yes and no.

I ordered an Selenite Grey with red pepper interior which was built on 6-23-16.
Plan was to pick up at factory in Sindgelfingen.
When my wife saw the red pepper interior in person prior to leaving for Germany she said "That reminds me of your '79 VW Sirocco tin can with red vinyl and metallic grey!" long story..yada yada

Immediately changed my mind and went with the Solar beam yellow with black and same option well almost which she loved. Thank you Antony at FJ Temecula for helping get what I really wanted and arranging AMG tour.
Jim
Ohh man. Happy wife.....
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Old 07-16-2016, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim Brady View Post
They will not comment on future products although the question was asked as the 9 speed is an automatic, I wasn't too concerned.
The V12 will continue to use the 5 speed due to torque limitations of the transmissions which is 1000 nm. Motor will produce over 1200nm!
The DCS will have to be beefed up to handle the Black Series as it believe he said currently it's somewhere around 800 nm. (Don't flame me if this isn't right still jet lagged)
Jim
Thanks...I think the 9 spd will be for either the '17.5 or '18 AMG's.
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Old 07-17-2016, 09:14 PM
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So what's the story of AMG giving Weistec an early 4.0? Real or not giving their aversion to tuning.
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Old 07-19-2016, 03:27 PM
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Very insightful write up. The engine running at WOT for 5 months is impressive. I knew these engines were strong but that's another level of insane.
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Old 07-19-2016, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by AMG 17GT View Post
So what's the story of AMG giving Weistec an early 4.0? Real or not giving their aversion to tuning.
I think that was what is considered "off the record".
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Old 07-19-2016, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim Brady View Post
He did say GT-R will be in the states this time next year. I asked the question I knew the answer too, and what was the target market for the GT-R and he said the Prosche GT3RS. We believe our car is going to be much faster becasue of balance. (I just made that up for JCart) so I asked when's the black series coming he just smiled.


Jim
LOL, The GT-S is a very balanced car, superb handling, I am sure the improved aero on the GT-R will make it even better. I guarantee however the GT-R comes nowhere close to the GT3 RS in the braking department, weight and mass is weight and mass, no way around it. I will be awaiting new on the Black Series in the next couple years. If the kinks have been worked out of the platform and the GT-R's are all they are cracked up to be I might go for a Black Series....only time will tell.
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Old 07-20-2016, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by AMG 17GT View Post
So what's the story of AMG giving Weistec an early 4.0? Real or not giving their aversion to tuning.
Weistec's a sponsor of this Forum and I have a lot of respect for companies that put their hard earned money up on internet marketing program that is susceptible to all kinds of loons who can damage a company's reputation with a key board and a lack of knowledge. I've used Weistec and thought they did a great job on my rev matching program for the Black Series.

Since I have no direct information as to how Weistec came by a 4.0 I could only speculate.
When Evosport Motorsports (not Evosport retail arm) was looking for a development 6.2 engine AMG told them no. Per AMG "we don't like tuners"! "But here's some spy pictures we took of your car and the build quality is quite good Ja". Go see HWA racing and buy an SLS race car" BTW, HWA builds vehicles and components for Mercedes AMG. Evosport did source a 6.2 but not through AMG. AMG is very aware of the US market and they read these boards.
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