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Mercedes-Benz unveils new C-Class flagship

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July 4, 2007

Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG

Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG

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July 5, 2007 Mercedes-Benz has released details of the new C 63 AMG. Due to hit the market in early 2008, the high-performance C-Class promises stunning looks to coincide with its impressive performance specs. Powered by a 6.3-litre V8 engine with a peak output of 336 kW/457 hp and maximum torque of 600 newton metres that’s capable of achieving zero to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds, the V8 flagship model also boasts exemplary handling via a wider track, an all-new front axle, speed-sensitive AMG sports steering and suspension plus a new 3-stage Electronic Stability Program.

The fifth generation of the cooperative venture between Daimler-Benz and AMG, the new AMG C-Class has an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h and achieves its 336 kW/457 hp output at 6800 rpm from a displacement of 6208 cubic centimetres, bringing it very close to the 470 odd horsepower delivered by its sister AMG C-Class racing touring car in the German Touring Car Championships (DTM). Torque developed by the 6.3-litre V8 engine is said to be 30 percent more than comparable engines in this performance class, reaching a maximum of 600 newton metres at 5000 rpm. The torque curve is also impressive: from 2000 to 6250 rpm the driver always has more than 500 newton metres on call providing powerful acceleration in any engine speed range.

First introduced in 2005, the AMG V8 engine is features variable camshaft adjustment, four-valve technology with bucket-type tappets, a rigid aluminium crankcase of closed-deck design, low-friction TWAS coating on the cylinder contact surfaces and electronically controlled fuel delivery, all contributing to the sporty AMG note.

The AMG 6.3-litre V8 is built in the AMG engine shop on the traditional "one man, one engine" principle. This means that one technician is responsible for hand-assembling a complete V8 engine to the highest quality standards – which is attested to by his signature on the AMG engine plate.

The exterior design includes a new bonnet with prominent power domes along with the trademark AMG radiator grille with a central star and two louvres with chrome inserts. The honeycomb pattern of the grille is also reflected in the large air dams of the new front apron which forms part of the AMG-specific bodystyling. The fog lamps with chrome surrounds are spaced well apart, acting together with the flared front wheel arches to accentuate the width of the car and side air vents in the front apron serve to expel the hot air from the oil coolers.

The cars profile reveals 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels and the AMG sports exhaust system with two chrome twin tailpipes provide further visual highlights along with the spoiler lip on the boot lid which reduces lift and ensures greater handling stability at high speeds.

Inside the car special AMG sports seats with integral head restraints are added for the first time and the standard upholstery in ARTICO man-made leather/AMG fabric is available in a choice of black or reef grey – or as an option the interior can be further enhanced with particularly high-grade leather in black, reef grey or black/sahara beige. The three-spoke design AMG performance steering wheel is also new with its rim diameter of 365 millimetres and a flattened lower section.

AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC The transmission features AMG steering wheel shift paddles and three driving modes: "S" (Sport), " C" (Comfort) and "M" (Manual) differ in their shift characteristics and speed. Gearshifts in "S" mode are around 30 percent faster than in "C", and around 50 percent faster in "M" mode. It’s also the first AMG car to feature an automatic throttle-blipping function during downshifts. This not only enhances the driver’s emotional experience – the almost completely jolt-free downshifting process also reduces the load-change responses and has a particularly positive effect when braking before bends.

Redesigned front axle with 35-millimetre wider track The C 63 derives its handling performance via AMG sports suspension and an all-new three-link front axle design. The stiff configuration of the springs and gas-pressure shock absorbers ensure optimal road contact and low body movements when negotiating bends at speed and the new front axle has a 35-millimetre wider track ensuring lower dynamic wheel loads when cornering. Stability and braking performance is further enhanced by the redesigned wheel location at the front, larger torsion bar stabiliser, new head bearings and dampers with rebound buffer springs

The multi-link independent rear suspension has also been thoroughly re-engineered, with a twelve-millimetre wider track and more camber leading to improved cornering performance. Reinforced drive shafts and drive joints increase fatigue strength and round off the improvements to the rear suspension.

18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels The C 63 AMG is fitted with 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels in a five-spoke de-sign. Painted in titanium grey, these high-sheen 8.0 x 18 and 8.5 x 18 wheels are shod with wide-base tyres in size 235/40 R 18 (front) and 255/35 R 18 (rear). There's also the option of 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels.

AMG high-performance braking system Internally ventilated and perforated disc brakes all-round reside behind the spokes of the AMG wheels. The front brakes have size 360 x 36-millimetre discs with six-piston fixed callipers, while deceleration at the rear is by 330 x 26-millimetre discs with four-piston fixed callipers designed to provide greater sensitivity and high fade-resistance.

3-stage ESP with Sport function The C 63 AMG is the first AMG model to feature the 3-stage ESP with a Sport function. This system offers three different control settings: "ESP ON", "ESP SPORT" and "ESP OFF" – the currently active mode is shown in the central display of the AMG instrument cluster. In "ESP ON" mode, the onset of handling instability leads to braking intervention at one or more of the wheels, accompanied by a reduction in engine torque. Briefly pressing the ESP key activates "ESP SPORT". In this mode the braking intervention to counter oversteer or understeer, as well as the accompanying reduction in engine torque, allows a higher dynamic threshold. ESP is restored to its normal function as soon as the brake pedal is operated. Holding pressure on the ESP key activates "ESP OFF". There is no intervention to control the handling dynamics, and no reduction in engine. "ESP OFF" should only be used by experienced drivers on dedicated racetracks. Once again operating the brake pedal restores all the normal functions of ESP. The system’s traction logic is active in all three ESP modes. If one of the drive wheels threatens to spin, specific brake pressure is applied to create the effect of a mechanical differential lock. This means that the engine power is optimally transferred to the road.

Development and design of the C 63 AMG Development of the Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG began in 2004 when it was first constructed as a digital model. In spring 2005 the first 1:4-scale design models were produced on the basis of drawings and computer images, and in addition the first testing and development vehicles were already built on the basis of the preceding C 55 AMG. This made it possible to test major assemblies such as the drive train, brakes and axles. The latest onboard measuring technology provided valuable data such as engine oil, coolant and brake disc temperatures – but other aspects of interest were lap times e.g. on the north loop of the Nürburgring, as well as measurable, precisely defined handling manoeuvres to provide comparisons between different axle configurations. These tests were accompanied by extensive aerodynamic tests on the bodyshell of the C 63 AMG before the final design was approved.

Following approval of the concept in the autumn of 2005, the first fully-fledged prototypes of the C 63 AMG were built. At the same time the high-performance saloon was also produced as a digital prototype. Computer simulations made it possible for the "real" development prototypes to exhibit a very high level of maturity during the first rollout. These simulations included the most important vehicle functions - handling dynamics, the engine and drive train, bodyshell durability, suspension performance, passive safety, the engine’s thermal characteristics and performance/fuel consumption.

The AMG development and test programme for the C 63 AMG began in summer 2005. Over the next couple of years around 20 vehicles were dispatched all over the world from Mercedes-AMG GmbH in Affalterbach, to be subjected to strenuous tests in every climatic zone. Major test stages for the drive train included altitude tests in Denver, Colorado (USA), Lesotho (South Africa), Mont Ventoux (France) and Granada (Spain), High temperature tests in Death Valley, California (USA), Upington (South Africa), Idiada proving ground (Spain) and Phoenix, Arizona (USA), driving trials in Los Angeles, California (USA) and cold temperature tests in Arctic Falls (Sweden). The cooling, fuel and braking systems underwent similar stringent testing around the world along with endurance testing on a wide range of roads and proving grounds.

About the Author
Noel McKeegan After a misspent youth at law school, Noel began to dabble in tech research, writing and things with wheels that go fast. This bus dropped him at the door of a freshly sprouted Gizmag.com in 2002. He has been Gizmag's Editor-in-Chief since 2007.   All articles by Noel McKeegan
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