If you live in the UK and want a fast, petrol-powered Mercedes C-Class, you’re a bit limited on choice. With the V6-powered C400 not available in the UK, you’re left with the upcoming C63 and C63 S AMG - which both have massive power outputs and massive pricetags to match - and nothing else, save for the humdrum 181bhp C200. But, that’s all set to change, with the arrival of this: the C450 AMG.
It’s a car we’ve been expecting for a while now, but it’s at last been fully revealed, using the Detroit motor show to make itself known to the world. Don’t be fooled by the AMG badging, this isn’t a full-blown Affalterbach-built beast - it’s a regular Merc built with AMG input - a sub-brand like BMW’s ‘M Performance’.
As anticipated, it’s packing a tweaked version of Merc’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 which develops 362bhp and 382lb ft of torque. You’ll find a less potent version of it in the C400 that isn’t sold in the UK, and the E400 which is. 0-62mph happens in a nicely brisk 4.9 seconds (five seconds dead if you go for the estate, above), and the top speed is the usual 155mph electronically-limited affair.
On cog-swapping duties is a revised version of Merc’s 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic gearbox, which AMG has had a hand in fettling. This sends power to all four wheels, although AMG’s also had a fiddle with this system, ensuring that the rear pair of boots are favoured with a 33/67 per cent drive split.
The chassis has received a bucket load of mods, including a plethora of parts pinched from the C63. There are new front pull rods, adjustable three-stage dampers, revised steering knuckles and firmer springs, among many other bits.
When Mercedes announced its intentions to create ‘AMG Sport’ models like this, many of you guys weren’t keen on the idea, branding it as an unnecessary diluting of the brand. However, we say bring it on. This new C450 plugs a huge, near-200bhp gap in the UK petrol C-Class range, and if BMW’s equivalent M Performance brand can come up with something like the M235i - arguably a better car than the full-fat M4 - the formula clearly works.
Prices are yet to be revealed, but around £40,000 is our expectation, meaning the C450 will be wading into battle against the likes of the Audi S4 and BMW 335i. It’ll go on sale as a saloon and estate this June.