Mercedes-Benz to build R8 rival

AMG wing to develop new £80K Mercedes sports car to take fight to the Audi R8

Rather than work with McLaren again, Mercedes-Benz has decided to commission HWA – the motorsport wing of AMG set up in 1999 by AMG co-founder Hans Werner Aufrecht – to develop a competitor to Audi’s new R8. And if everything goes to plan we should see the first concept of this all-new, mid-engined AMG at next year’s Geneva show.

HWA is investing 4.5m euros to triple the size of its factory in preparation for building the car, which will cost around £80,000 in today’s money and be powered by the 6.3-litre V8 currently found in a number of AMG models.

Mercedes has been put off developing another car with McLaren because of the very high cost of the SLR project and that car’s subsequent disappointing sales. Instead it hopes that HWA (which is run by respected former Mercedes CEO Jürgen Hubbert) will do a much better job – and as HWA has always been disappointed that the SLR project went to McLaren, it will undoubtedly be out to prove that it can outdo the famous race-car manufacturer.

Expect the new car to be production-ready by the end of 2009.

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