"Step out of the car and you are greeted by the big three-pointed star and diamond mesh which are unmistakably Mercedes-AMG territory."
In the ever-confusing world of alphabets and numbers, we have a new entrant: the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG. As you could guess, the C450 replaces the existing C400 in the Mercedes lineup, which further shortens the gap between the sane Mercedes owners and the insane Mercedes drivers. The ultimate aim of every C-Class out of the Mercedes production line would be to grow up into a C63 AMG of course! That is one insane car and the C450 AMG is a step in the right direction.
If you find your rpm gauge showing a value of more than 2,000, feel free to plonk the throttle pedal and you could feel the AMG DNA oozing through the C450. The 3.0-liter V6 biturbo petrol engine produces an impressive 367 horsepower around 5,500 rpm and generates 520 Nm of torque between 2,000 and 4,200 rpm. Very usable I would say. Acceleration is brisk by Mercedes standards and good by AMG standards, with a claimed top whack of 250 km/h. The engine loves to be revved all day, and Mercedes runs the 4Matic system on the C450 with a full-time four-wheel drive split of 1:3 between front and rear wheels respectively. The all-wheel drive system robs the tail-happy AMG hooliganism, but gives you much more confidence when pulling out of corners. You can have the most fun when exiting the expressway into a long interchange loop!
The power from the engine is transferred to the wheels through a seven-speed transmission (which was on the C400). Apart from occasional hesitation to downshift in Auto mode (Eco/Comfort/Sport), the transmission did keep up with the overall 'AMG-iness' of the C450. Adding to this was a great sounding exhaust system, which was a new design for the C450 with an ample amount of cracks and pops for the daily driver. It sounds good for a V6 powerplant and makes sure that you don't miss the awesome AMG V8s. It sounds sweet when you have the transmission in full manual mode and gearshifts hold on until you decide to shift. One nice feature on the C450 is that if you turn off the car in 'Sport' mode and turn it on again, the engine revs to 2,000 rpm before settling into an idle. You feel like you're in a powerful car!
Steering the C450 AMG is a very direct affair and you seldom feel that this is an electronically powered and assisted unit. The weight comes on nicely as the C450 builds up speed, with great feedback and quick response. The steering wheel is an AMG unit with a very comfortable grip and is made of material you would love to keep your hands on. One thing that constantly bugged me during the two-day drive was the gear selector stalk behind the steering wheel. Dynamics of the C450 is further enhanced by the multilink suspension with the dampers borrowed from its big brother, the C63. Dampers are electronically adjustable and tune themselves according to the selected drive mode. The 'Comfort' setting gives you a smooth ride that is most suited for those long cruises, while the tightest 'Sport+' setting is for the winding twisties and for having fun in alleys. The C450 holds on to the road on 18-inch AMG light alloy wheels with 225/45 section tires up front and 245/40 on the rear. 19-inchers are an optional upgrade. Braking is taken care of by disc brakes all around, with ventilated units in the front and solid discs on the rear.
One of the toughest things on a sport-ish sedan is to put in a balanced interior. It needs to be comfortable and dynamic at the same time. The C450 features red AMG sport seats on the front with a good amount of lateral support for those fun corners and have a fair bit of cushioning for highway cruises. The rear seats are largely comfortable which can take in two passengers with ease, and three with a squeeze. The touch and feel of the seat material is truly Mercedes-Benz class with luxury inscribed all over it. Interiors of the C450 remain chic and clean with leather splashed lavishly all around, ensuring that everything you touch feels soft and strong. Red contrast stitching within the cabin enhances the sporty feel on the C450 as well. The center console is mostly finished in black piano lacquer with a large screen that displays and allows swapping between various vehicle settings. Our test car had the interior overlays in optional aluminum carbon fiber finish.
The moment you step out of the car and take a look at it, you are greeted by the big three-pointed star and diamond mesh which are unmistakably Mercedes-AMG territory. The radiator grille is finished in high-gloss black, and aluminum inserts provide great contrast. From the sides, the AMG wheels provide quick identification and we can also see simulated air vents with the AMG badge, which may remind you of the C63. Towards the rear are the boot-lid spoiler and two twin-exhaust pipes, which hint about the C450's performance figures. Black and aluminum trims provided throughout the body provide contrasting and give you that attention-to-detail feel. It can quickly pass you for a smaller C-Class but that is the whole point of the C450 I guess.
A great performing car, without all of the flare and rumble of the C63 AMG. A C63 which can be driven daily, a C63 which costs you less, a C63 which looks sane; but not essentially a C63. Of course you miss out on all that tail slipping and crazy attention from onlookers, but the C450 is one great package of a car and the closest sane Mercedes to the C63. Taking it from here, the very existence of a 2.0-liter turbo C300 with a much lower price tag along with the C450, is a tight situation. We hope the 4Matic badging on the boot of the C450 gets replaced with an AMG badge soon.
Pros: Refined ride, handling, elegant and tidy interiors, engine note, responsive biturbo engine
Cons: Pricey variant among C63 and C300, and the rivals
Rivals: BMW 3-Series (340i), Jaguar XE (3.0 SC), Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400
Engine:3.0L V6 twin-turbocharged, 367 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 520 Nm@ 2,000 rpm
Transmission:7-speed auto, 4WD
Performance:0-100 km/h: 5 sec, 10 L/100 km, top speed: 250 km/h
Weight: 1,739 kg
one word: roar