Mercedes has done a good job of catering for most tastes with its new C-Class range. Economy-oriented drivers have the C350 Plug-In Hybrid, while those who crave power and the odd cloud of tire smoke tend to gravitate towards the C63 AMG. But what if you want a car that is sharp to drive without stretching all the way to the 476 hp C63? Mercedes has provided the answer with its C450 AMG 4MATIC.
Powered by a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo V6 engine driving all-four wheels, the C450 is designed to provide a stepping stone to the world of AMG performance. With 270 kW (367 hp) and 520 Nm of torque, the C450 should be quick enough to keep most drivers satisfied, while Mercedes' 4MATIC all-wheel drive system (which sends 67 percent of power to the rear wheels) provides a degree of security for drivers not used to having all that power under their right foot.
Despite said power, the C450 AMG is still frugal, returning combined economy figures of 7.6 l/100km (31 mpg) and emitting just 178 g/km of CO2 – impressive for a car that will hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.9 seconds, on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).
Mercedes has also done extensive work on the C450’s suspension setup. As well as fitting special steering knuckles and load-bearing joints to the car’s four-link front axle, AMG engineers have added extra negative camber on the front and rear axles for sharper cornering. A stiffer body also contributes to improved handling, while brakes are ventilated discs measuring 360 mm (14 in) up front and 320 mm (12.6 in) at the back.
To make the C450 AMG stand out from the compact-premium crowd, Mercedes has fitted 18-inch light alloy wheels and 245/40 tires as well as a more aggressive front bumper, chromed rear diffuser and a bootlid spoiler, which is designed to increase downforce over the rear axle. AMG badging and extra high-gloss black trim are also a part of the sportier styling package.
Inside Mercedes has taken a similar approach, with minor upgrades to separate the C450 AMG from its less-sporty brethren, including red seatbelts and an AMG instrument cluster with a speedo that runs all the way to 280 km/h (174 mph).
The C450 will be on sale from mid-2015. There's no word from Mercedes on pricing as yet.