2016 Mercedes Benz C450 AMG
With just about every brand’s ever expanding lineups and the multitude of vehicle categories emerging, these days, it’s all about finding a niche to exploit. That might explain this car, the Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG Sport. So, is this tweener worth a look, or is it just marketing gone overboard?
So where does this 2016 Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG 4Matic sedan fit in the C-class hierarchy? Well, as you might guess from the elongated name; it attempts to bridge the gap between a luxury-minded C300 and the all-out performance insanity of an AMG C63.
It’s one of what Benz now calls the AMG Sports models. You know it’s a sports model if the AMG comes after the model designation, not before it. Got it? According to MB, it’s all about making AMG more attainable to more people, regardless of the confusion.
But much like that AMG C63, the 450 AMG also boasts twin-turbo power, only with 2 fewer cylinders in play, and a whole lot less bark. Here it’s a 3.0-liter V6 that outputs 362-horsepower and 384 lb-ft. of torque. Not bad, considering that’s 33–horsepower and 30 lb-ft. more than last year’s C400. Even better, when you consider the BMW 340i, with its inline turbo-6, rates a distant second.
The 450 AMG’s transmission is a true 7-speed automatic, and there’s standard 4MATIC all-wheel-drive that has a 2/3s rear bias.
The letters AMG usually also mean distinctive styling, and here the 450 gets an aggressive look, but one that’s not overdone. Very similar in fashion to full-on AMG editions of a generation or two ago.
Openings in the unique front fascia are enlarged; and for better or worse, the grille gets ‘Benz’s floating diamonds treatment.
In addition, there are AMG logos to go along with the black trim, dual chrome exhaust tips, 18 or 19-inch AMG light alloy wheels, and a distinctive spoiler lip tacked on to the rear deck.
Driving dynamics are of much more significance of course. And for that, the 450’s suspension is a variation of the top shelf C63’s, with adaptive 3-stage dampers, stiffened 4-link in front, and multi-link in rear.
In Eco mode, there’s engine stop/start and a “sailing” function that disengages the transmission when you let of the gas. In Comfort mode, ride quality is quite good, with really no hint of the performance nastiness that’s available.
But things really wake up in Sport Plus mode, as steering and throttle become more responsive and the suspension stiffens up dramatically; becoming borderline too harsh for the street.
So, hopefully you can find yourself a nice smooth race track like we did, our winter haunt of Roebling Road Raceway near Savannah. And around its fast turns, the 450 feels competent and well-settled, with nice and direct steering; accompanied by much better than average brakes.
It’s no lightweight at 3,693-lbs., but like a traditional German sports sedan it wears it well; feeling quite capable in both transitions and powering through sweepers.
All-in-all, highly proficient for a car that we still feel is more at home backroad joy riding.
Acceleration numbers fall right around where you’d expect, with a 4.5-second trip to 60 and a 12.9-second ¼-mile at 109 miles-per-hour.
It feels plenty powerful off the line, and the all-wheel-drive grip makes good use of all that’s available. There’s just a hint of turbo lag before power comes on in full, and it sounds pretty sweet for not being an all-out performance sedan. Especially when you let off the throttle and get that neat V8-like crackle from the exhaust.
Shifts from the 7-speed automatic are firm and quite prompt, with barely any drop-off in power between them. And in manual mode, surprise! The shifter only shifts when you tell it to. Not when a computer thinks it’s prudent.
Inside, the mix of durable MB-Tex vinyl, color stitching, and aluminum accents “sportify” the space without looking fast or furious. Of course you can upgrade to real leather and add some carbon fiber if you choose.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 21-City, 29-Highway, and 24-Combined. Keeping the Energy Impact Score right around average with 13.7-barrels of oil burned and 6.1 tons of CO2 emitted yearly.
When it comes to pricing, the C450 pendulum swings closer to a base C300 sedan, starting at $51,725. Yet when it comes to performance, that pendulum easily swings closer to the full-on AMG C63.
In truth, this very easy to look at 2016 Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG 4MATIC is in many ways simply a renaming of last year’s C400 with some AMG trickle down goodies thrown in for sport. And a good sport it is as you get most of the AMG C63 performance quotient for a fraction of the added price. And it’s one luxury sport sedan that still embraces the luxury aspects of the equation as well. All of that, makes this meaner tweener much more than just a clever marketing maneuver; rather, a ride more than worthy of your consideration.
- Engine: 3.0 liter V6
- Horsepower: 362
- Torque: 384 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 12.9 seconds @ 109 mph
- EPA: 21 mpg city/ 29 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 13.7 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 6.1 tons/yr
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined