NEW YORK -- The Panamericana grille that originated on the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car will become the new face of AMG.
Gorden Wagener, chief design officer for Daimler AG, confirmed the plan to replace AMG's current grilles with the Panamericana design as vehicles are added or redesigned. To keep it special, the new face will only be for the "purebred" AMG 63s and 65s with handcrafted engines, Wagener said, not for AMG's 43 line of midrange performance vehicles.
"I really love that grille because it looks so aggressive and so powerful. It's a great new face," Wagener told Automotive News. "It has that heritage in there, but in a modern way. It's not retro, but it still keeps that feeling of the vintage race cars."
The vertical-bar grille was derived from and is named after the 1952 300 SL Panamericana race car, he said.
Mercedes reinvented the look for its GT3 race car and then introduced it last year on the production Mercedes-AMG GT R sports car, which goes on sale in the U.S. this summer. The company has since expanded the Panamericana grille across the AMG GT two-door sports car family. It is also featured on the AMG GT four-door concept that premiered in Geneva and is the basis for a production car going on sale in the U.S. in late 2018 or early 2019.
At the New York auto show, Mercedes showed the grille migrating to its AMG GLC63 production models set to go on sale by early 2018. It's the brand's first move of the design signature into the non-GT part of the AMG lineup.