Thursday, January 31, 2008
Car Review : 2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
The high-performance Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is making its North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, open to the public November 16-23, 2007 at the L.A. Convention Center. Following the widely acclaimed launch of the new-generation 2008 C-Class sedan earlier this year, the V8-powered C63 AMG represents an impressive top-of-the-line addition to the popular C-Class model family. The New C63 AMG – Visually and Technologically Distinctive Making its U.S showroom debut in April 2008, the 2008MY C63 AMG is distinguished by unique AMG body styling, 18-inch alloy wheels, sport suspension and high-performance brake system – all designed by AMG specifically for this new model. The C63 AMG can be easily identified by a special front hood with two power domes and a muscular front apron with large air intakes and side air outlets as well as fog lights ringed in chrome. A "6.3 AMG" badge marks each front fender, and contoured side sill skirts carry the aggressive lines of the front end to the rear, while an AMG rear apron with a black air diffuser insert and three pronounced diffuser fins help enhance aerodynamic performance at high speeds. An AMG lip spoiler on the trunk lid and a pair of twin tailpipes completes the exclusive look and sound of this special model. Inside the C63 AMG, drivers are greeted by newly developed AMG leather sport seats with integral head restraints finished in a special cross piping and an AMG three-spoke sport steering wheel with distinctive aluminum shift paddles. The unique "tubular" AMG instrument cluster was developed specifically for the C63 AMG with redesigned analog gauges and red needles. An AMG menu in the central display includes special "Warmup," "Setup," and "Race" modes that can be viewed via the multi-function buttons on the steering wheel. "Warmup" displays engine oil and coolant temperatures, while "Setup" shows the current ESP and transmission shift modes, and for owners who enjoy adjusting their vehicles to even higher limits, "Race" activates a timer that allows the driver to measure lap times. The First Engine Developed from the Ground Up by AMG The C63 AMG is powered by the first engine developed entirely by AMG – a 6.3-liter V8 that produces 451 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque for breathtaking acceleration times of 4.3 seconds from zero to 60 mph. Built almost completely from a high-strength silicon-aluminum alloy, the AMG 6.3-liter features four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing, bucket tappets (rather than rocker arms) and a variable intake manifold. The cylinder bores feature a twin-wire-arc-sprayed (TWAS) coating, a new process that results in impressively low friction and running surfaces that are twice as hard as conventional cast-iron cylinders. AMG engineers designed the 6.3-liter engine block with an especially rigid bedplate acting as the overall support of the main bearings, cast-in steel reinforcements and a sturdy closed-deck layout in the cylinder head area. The high-flow intake and exhaust ports form a vertical straight line, helping the 6.3 AMG engine rev freely to over 7,000 rpm, yet the highly flexible AMG engine still produces nearly 90 percent of its peak torque at only 2,000 rpm. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels of the new C63 AMG via a seven-speed AMG Speedshift automatic transmission that can be shifted manually by either a conventional lever or Formula-1 style shift paddles on the AMG sport steering wheel. To give performance-minded drivers total control of shifting, the manual mode of AMG Speedshift doesn`t intervene to cause any automatic upshifts – even at max engine speed – or automatic downshifts, even under full load. AMG Speedshift electronic control provides 35% faster gear shifts and torque converter lockup from 1st gear. The new C63 AMG is the very first AMG car with an automatic "throttle-blipping" feature during downshifts. This virtually jolt-free downshifting process reduces load-change handling response, and for motorsports-minded drivers, improves braking in advance of turn-in.
A Razor-Sharp Chassis
The C63 AMG is also the first AMG model with a three-stage ESP system. In addition to its normal "ESP ON" operation, the ESP button on the center console has an "ESP SPORT" mode as well as "ESP OFF." The ESP Sport mode allows for more aggressive driving with higher drift angles, which can make sporty driving more fun, not to mention more helpful on the race track. Mechanically, the C63 AMG chassis features a redesigned front suspension including stiffer shocks and springs all around, with special rebound buffer springs in the front shocks, as well as new bearings, a stiffer stabilizer bar and 1.4-inch wider track. Its speed-sensitive rack-and pinion steering feels even faster than its 13.6:1 ratio, thanks to a modified steering axis and a stiffer insulating disc in the steering column. At the rear, the multi-link suspension has been re-engineered, plus track is a half inch wider with increased negative camber for improved cornering. To handle the increased power of the AMG V8, beefier halfshafts and driveshaft joints are installed. Staggered-width 18-inch wheels (8.5 inches in front, 9.0 at the rear) make room for large AMG vented and perforated four-wheel disc brakes. Front discs measure 14.2 inches in diameter with six-piston fixed calipers, and ample 13-inch discs with four-piston fixed calipers are used at the rear.
AMG Performance Package Designed for the Race Track
For even crisper handling, the AMG performance package includes a limited-slip differential, stiffer suspension, composite (two-piece) perforated and ventilated front disc brakes and an AMG performance steering wheel wrapped in nappa leather. The AMG performance package was designed for owners who are serious about competing on the race track with their C63 AMG.
The New C-Class – A Handsome Family
The C63 AMG joins the new-generation C-Class line that`s larger in almost every dimension than its highly successful predecessor, with a greater emphasis on agility, comfort and safety. With a nod to the recently introduced S-Class sedan, the look of the mid-size C-Class reveals the latest Mercedes design idiom that`s characterized by an edgy interplay of taut lines and wide, rounded surfaces.
Distinctive Sport Models
The AMG-inspired C-Class Sport models can be identified by the iconic three-pointed star in the front grille, a design cue usually reserved for its coupes and convertibles. The new C-Class Sport models features AMG body styling – deeper front and rear aprons as well as under-door rocker panels – and twin-spoke 17-inch wheels of staggered width. The car also comes with sport shocks, springs and stabilizer bars that provide a crisper ride and more than a half-inch lower ride height. Instead of the Luxury model`s traditional four-spoke wheel and burl walnut trim, Sport models come with three-spoke steering wheels and either aluminum (C300) or black Birdseye maple (C350) interior trim.
Optional 4MATIC Four-Wheel Drive
As modern all-wheel-drive systems become even more refined, they are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the luxury car market. With negligible weight and fuel-efficiency tradeoffs, full-time four-wheel-drive systems provide year-round traction and stability benefits on both wet and dry roads. The latest version of the Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system is optionally available on the new-generation C300 Sport and the C300 Luxury model. After making its debut on the new-generation S-Class sedan, the new 4MATIC system features a totally redesigned full-time all-wheel-drive system that`s integrated into the seven-speed automatic transmission. The new system fits right into the standard body and utilizes the existing front suspension – gone are the special suspension parts and wider transmission tunnel that were necessary on earlier 4MATIC systems. The extra gears and shafts that drive the front wheels now weigh only 145 pounds more than the rear-wheel-drive model. Fuel efficiency has been improved, due to a number of innovative measures that minimize the energy needed to turn the extra hardware.
Electronic Controller Replaces Scores of Buttons
Similar to the popular system launched on the S-Class sedan, an electronic controller on the console works like a computer mouse to provide easy, quick operation of many functions that used to require scores of separate buttons and switches. By turning and pressing the aluminum controller, menus and sub-menus on the center-console screen are displayed and selected for the audio system as well as the optional navigation system and integrated phone. The controller is also linked to the rocker switches on the multifunction steering wheel.
A Choice of Audio Systems
Standard equipment in the new C-Class is an eight-speaker, 100-watt Audio 20 system that includes a single-slot dash CD/MP3 player, telephone keypad, an MP3 plug in the glove box and a Bluetooth interface. Optionally available is a Multimedia Package which includes, a 450-watt harman/kardon LOGIC7 audio system featuring Dolby Digital/DTS 5.1 surround sound a 6-disc CD/DVD changer, voice control and COMAND navigation. The LOGIC7 system comes with 12 speakers, including two surround-sound speakers and a sub-woofer. The C-Class includes a MusicRegister feature as part of the Multimedia package, which enables CD "ripping" (saving) to a four-gigabyte hard drive that can store up to 1,000 tracks from an audio CD. A Gracenote database automatically identifies each track with its title, artist, album name and other information. The audio system can also play tracks stored on a data CD, DVD or memory card.
No Need to Ask for Directions with COMAND Navigation
A five-inch color display nestled under a flip-up cover at the top of the center console is standard equipment on the new C-Class. When the car is equipped with the Multimedia package, a power-operated seven-inch display screen slides out and up when the flip-up cover is raised. The navigation system uses a hard drive with map data covering all of North America. In addition to the high-resolution map display at the top of the center console, next-turn navigation instructions can also be shown in the instrument cluster central display.
Renowned Mercedes-Benz Safety
The 2008 C-Class comes with all the safety features that people have come to expect from Mercedes-Benz – from four-wheel independent suspension and four-wheel disc brakes to six air bags, ABS anti-lock, traction control and ESP stability control. In addition, active front head restraints move forward nearly two inches and upward by about an inch in the event of a severe rear collision, helping to support the head and reduce the likelihood of whiplash injuries.
AMG has been a subsidiary of Daimler since 1999 and is located near Stuttgart in Affalterbach, Germany. AMG employs about 600 specialists in development, production and administrative areas. AMG develops each of its models, from the engine and driveline to suspension, brakes, chassis and aerodynamics. Each engine is produced and tested at AMG`s headquarters in Affalterbach, and AMG models are assembled at the main Mercedes-Benz vehicle manufacturing plants. Spanning all Mercedes-Benz model lines, approximately 10,000 AMG models were sold in the United States in 2006. With over 50 percent of AMG sales, the U.S. is the top market for AMG worldwide.
About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA, headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the sales, marketing and service of all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. In 2006, MBUSA achieved an all-time sales record of 248,080 new vehicles, setting the highest sales volume ever in its history and achieving 13 consecutive years of sales growth. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found on the Internet at www.mbusa.com and www.maybachusa.com. End of Mercedes C63 AMG review.
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