The Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG arrived wearing a price tag of $154,900. It was driven by 3.6-litre straight-six engine that developed 206kW and 385Nm. It was mated to a four-speed auto driving the rear wheels and was good for a 0-100km/h sprint in 6.5 seconds. Top speed was electronically limited to 250km/h.
Fast forward 20 years to the international launch of the latest-generation Mercedes-AMG C63 S, which is powered by a 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 developing 375kW and 700Nm and is capable of going from 0-100km/h in 4.0 seconds flat.
But it’s not just about the car’s outright speed, this latest iteration is equipped the kind of technology that was unheard of two decades ago.
Standard features on the Mercedes-AMG C63 S – the model that will be sold in Australia – includes complex performance systems such as AMG Ride Control sports suspension with adjustable shock absorbers, an electronic rear locking differential and the AMG Dynamic Select drive programs.
Another feature unique to the segment is the dynamic engine mounts – borrowed from the Mercedes AMG-GT sports car – which claims to provide the best balance between ride and handling by adapting their stiffness to the prevailing driving conditions.
The decision by Mercedes-Benz Australia not to take the entry-level C63 and go exclusively with the C63 S was driven by the fact that sales of AMG Performance Pack option during 2011 (the first year it was offered) made up around 80 per cent of all C63 models orders.
Another major influence in the decision by Australia to also take the C450 AMG 4Matic (all-wheel drive) – a car that packs a serious punch thanks to a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine that is tuned to deliver 270kW and 520Nm of torque.
Power is delivered to all four wheels via a seven-speed auto, allowing the C450 to sprint from 0-100km/h in 4.9seconds.
The C450 AMG 4Matic is also the first of a new breed of second-tier performance cars from the luxury German carmaker that Benz hopes will attract both a wider customer base, and allow it to compete with the likes of Audi’s ‘S’ models BMW’s M-Performance variants.
“With the new C450 4Matic, we are extending our C-Class family and addressing an even wider customer base”, said Tobias Moers, chairman of management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
“Both of the new C-Class models from Mercedes-AMG will support the growth strategy of our brand on a sustained basis”, Moers added.
The Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG 4Matic is scheduled to arrive in Australia in mid-2016 with pricing expected to be in the low $100,000s before on-road costs.