Mercedes’ AMG performance division has a simple formula when it comes to building cars: start with a sensible Mercedes model, beef up the styling, add some sporty suspension, and most importantly of all, shoehorn a hugely powerful, hand-built engine under the bonnet.
The results are – more often than not – absolutely brilliant. As a result, the AMG badge is a desirable one, and AMG is looking to expand its range with a series of ‘AMG Sport’ models. The formula is much the same, only the engine choice is mildly more sensible.
What is it?
The car you see here is the latest model in this new venture. Known as the C450 AMG Sport 4MATIC, it sits a step down from the latest Mercedes-AMG C63 and will be available in both saloon and estate form.
It shares many of the aggressive styling cues from the fully-blown model. Huge front air dams at either end of the bumper set off the front, as do a honeycomb grille and a front splitter finished in a contrasting metallic shade. At the back, a similar effect is achieved with the diffuser integrated into the lower edge of the bumper, flanked by four neatly integrated tailpipes. The estate model is fitted with roof rails painted silver, hinting at the speed with which you can carry skis or bicycles across Europe. Subtle AMG badges on the front wings offer a subtle clue that the 450 isn’t just an ordinary C-Class.
Standard 18-inch wheels wrapped in 225/45 tyres complete the look, though several 19-inch designs are available as an optional extra. Behind them sit ventilated disc brakes, measuring 360mm at the front and 320mm at the rear, meaning it should stop as well as it accelerates.
The interior is typical C-Class fare, which is certainly no bad thing – after all, the C-Class won our car interior of the year award in 2014. A flat-bottomed sports steering wheel and heavily bolstered front seats are trimmed in swathes of black leather. Aluminium pedals and contrasting red stitching and seat belts hint at the sporting potential.
How much sporting potential?
More than enough. The starting point for this model is the slightly more sensible C400 4MATIC (Mercedes speak for four-wheel-drive). Under the bonnet sits a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 which produces a paltry – by AMG standards – 367hp. Performance however, is still fast to the point of alarming. 0-62mph takes 4.9 seconds (add an extra tenth for the estate) while top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.
It’s not all about the power either; 384lb ft of torque matched with Mercedes’ seven-speed automatic gearbox will be sure to endow the C 450 AMG Sport with huge mid-range overtaking flexibility.
Anything else I should know?
Although prices won’t be announced until later in 2015, you’re unlikely to feel short changed if you want one; many of the highly advanced and bespoke suspension components are borrowed straight from the faster C63.
The C 450, like most modern cars, lets you switch driving modes to suit your mood, and it even has an Eco mode, which enables start/stop and a coasting function – which turns off the engine at speeds between 38 and 100mph off-throttle, thus saving fuel. Despite the performance on offer, Mercedes reckon it’ll manage 36.6mpg.
The closest rival to the AMG Sport comes in the form of the long-established Audi S4 and S4 Avant. Thanks to a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 engine, it produces a C 450 rivalling 333hp. Though it can’t quite match the performance of the Merc, the 306hp BMW 335i M Sport might be worth a look, too.
How much will it cost?
Prices have yet to be announced, and buyers will have to wait just a little longer – the C 450 AMG Sport won’t be available for sale in the UK until Summer 2016.