There’s something about fake exhaust tips that really riles me. It is, I think, partly because the practice seems a little dishonest, and partly because a lot of them look so cack close up. And sometimes not that close up.
I know why car makers like to fit them. The peashooter-spec exhausts on many modern cars would look a little embarrassing without a little dress-up, after all, and designers like the back ends of their cars to look powerful and shporty. In some instances, they also act as heat shields, which is handy if you don’t fancy melting your rear bumper.
This does little to assuage my rage, however, particularly when it comes to cars like the new TDI Audi S4/5/6/7 and SQ5, whose real pipes don’t even point the right way. Despite being swept down towards the ground, Audi has added fake quad tailpipes that are entirely blanked off. It’s morally wrong.
You can probably imagine my delight, then, when it looked as though Mercedes’ updated range of AMG C43s had switched to proper, real quad tailpipes instead of those trapezoidal ‘things’ on the earlier cars.
More like it, I thought, until I took delivery of ‘our’ C43 estate long-term test car, a close-up inspection of which revealed I’d been duped. They’re as fake as Donald Trump’s tan, making me so upset I wanted to walk around the car shouting ‘SHAME!’ like those nuns on Game of Thrones.
A few months into C43 ‘ownership’ however, I’ve decided I’m OK with the arrangement. That’s mostly because they actually look real, unlike what was fitted to the pre-update cars. They’re reminiscent of the quad tailpipes AMG used to stick on its cars, and crucially, they’re actually functional, with a metal shroud fitted to the other side of the bumper effectively feeding through exhaust gases; an important point as firstly it’s nice to know they actually do something, and secondly because it saves any potential embarrassment over wayward exhaust clouds on a cold start.
I’d love to be in a world where every performance car has a dirty great set of stainless steel pipes poking out from under the rear bumper, but that’s just not reality. If a set of fake ones can pass the test above, however, I reckon they’re OK.
Do you agree?