When two cars are compared to Batman and Robin, what in all of Gotham does that imply about the vehicular Robin?
And the C450 AMG 4MATIC is definitely not the Batman in this comic book, Mercedes-AMG’s Oliver Wiech made emphatically clear as he closed his presentation with an image of the comic world’s dynamic duo.
Batman? That would be the tire-incinerating AMG C63, the headliner in the two-car media preview through the Azores hill country (and on the Autodromo Portimao in the C63S).
Driving Robin, the C450: transformative. It’s like stepping into someone else’s clothes and not a superhero’s, rather someone who’s a better driver than you are, more aware, breathes more deeply, a person who sometimes takes the long way and may well still arrive earlier than anticipated.
The AMG legend is not taken lightly: true believers can recite how founding engineers Aufrecht and Melater (the third letter in AMG was taken from Aufrecht’s birthplace) began hot-rodding Mercedes sedans in 1967 and won racing championships by perfecting large-as-possible engines.
The “one man, one engine,” tradition of hand-assembling V-8s and V-12s at AMG’s Affalterbach plant for installation in AMG-badged Mercedes-Benz cars, continues to be prominent in the marketing of the likes of the ongoing C63 coupe.
Powering the C450, though, is a production line V-6 basically identical to that of the C400 sedan now departing the Mercedes-Benz Canada lineup that lacked any AMG reference in its badging. In C450 guise, it’s made more powerful with AMG-prescribed increased boost from its twin turbochargers. A red aluminum insert in the engine shrouding fills in for the hand-assembler’s autograph on an AMG V-8.
It’s a soaring engine. It does not lollygag. Contemplate the numbers: the C450 accelerates to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, compared to 4.1 seconds for the C63 with its hand-assembled V-8. Less than a second difference between the standard bearer and the unsigned. Top speed, for either C450 or C63, is limited to 250 km/h.
What a shame the V-6 lacks the V-8’s arresting full-throttle bark. A great sport sedan must have a great soundtrack and the C450’s doesn’t sound nearly as good as it drives.
And how it drives can be tailored to personal taste on the run: ride quality, steering effort, and transmission modes are easily selected for desired responsiveness. Comfort damping, for example, erases what passes for potholes in Portugal, while at the same time maintaining posture in fast cornering. Firm steering: just right for precision turning into those tightening corners. Sport+ firms and hastens everything, including accelerator response.
It’s important to realize the C450 is not a C63 Lite. Although the two cars share some AMG-specific parts such as steering knuckles, the C450 is better considered an AMG-engineered version of the C-class sedan, than a junior C63. Biggest difference between C450 and C63 is that all-wheel drive (permanently split 33:67 front-rear) makes the C450 a far less challenging all-weather car.
You’ll like this car if … You want life in the fast lane to be low-key, relatively speaking.
The AMG DNA may be debated, but there’s no questioning the results.
The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.
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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail