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
2024 Mazda CX-90
A Force To Be Reckoned With
If you’ve been following Mazda lately, you’ll know they’ve been fielding some serious new designs; you could even say, they’re latest efforts are 10-times better than before. After all, the CX-3 became the CX-30, then CX-5 became the CX-50, and now it’s the CX-9’s turn. So, let’s find out if this all-new CX-90, their largest SUV yet, is a real multiplier or if it’s all just a numbers game.
Don’t think of this 2024 Mazda CX-90 so much as an updated version of the CX-9, as it’s more of a complete rethink of their 3-row crossover, the first built on an all-new, large vehicle platform for the brand. And this platform carries a host of surprises. Not only does it make the CX-90 bigger by every dimension, but it’s a rear-drive architecture, and features all-new powertrains, including the brand’s first plug-in hybrid, and even an inline-6 engine.
Why an inline-6 to replace the CX-9’s turbo-4? Well, in general terms, I6s are better balanced, run smoother, and can deliver more torque at lower RPM. Just ask the BMW faithful, or any of the truckers you see going down the road hauling more than 20-tons of cargo with their inline-6s.
There are 2-versions of the longitudinally mounted 6, both assisted by turbocharging and a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Output for the base Turbo is 280-horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque; this Turbo S cranks it up to 340-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. The PHEV, on the other hand, is based on a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I4, working with a 100-kW electric motor to deliver 323-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. A 17.8-kWh battery delivers 26-miles of EV driving.
It’s not the prettiest SUV, but it does have very smooth body work; plus, the longer hood and 7½-inches of wheelbase stretch over the CX-9, give it more stately proportions. All CX-90s come with i-Activ all-wheel drive and the brand’s first 8-speed automatic transmission; the longer wheelbase allows tow ratings to step up from 3,500-lbs. to 5,000.
At the test track, our Turbo S launched effortlessly with good grip on the way to a 6.4-second 0-60. The smooth vibes continued throughout the ¼-mile, with refined power delivery, seamless shifts, and a noticeably more solid and stable feel at speed than the CX-9. Our best time was 14.7-seconds at 98 miles-per-hour.
Through the cones, it still behaves like a Mazda, with very good steering feel and a solid presence in corners at low to moderate speeds. Some understeer and body roll will show up when pushed hard, but Mazda’s Kinematic Posture Control uses subtle selective braking to help the vehicle rotate, and safety systems will step in well-before it gets out of sorts.
There’s a nice firm feel to the brake pedal, delivering good stopping results of 118-feet from 60 miles-per-hour. You can feel a lot of weight transfer, but nosedive was well contained.
Another unique element the CX-90 brings is seating arrangements for 6,7, or 8. It’s the 8-seater that’s standard with 3-across bench seating for 2nd and 3rd rows. 7-seaters get either captain’s chairs in the 2nd row, or more contoured seats for the 3rd; 6-seaters sport 2nd row captains and the contoured 3rd row. Cargo capacity varies with seating, but is at best 15.9 cubic-ft. behind the 3rd row, 40.1 behind the 2nd, and 75.2 with all seats folded.
As far as what it’s like to actually live with, the CX-90’s cabin is a clear step up, including on some trims suede-like materials, intricate stitching, and real wood, all consistent with what we’ve seen from the brand lately. A 10-inch dashtop touchscreen is standard for infotainment, with upper trims getting a larger 12.3-incher. We applaud Mazda’s inclusion of plenty of old-school manual controls for radio and climate, which keeps menu diving limited to secondary functions. PHEVs get a few unique controls and readouts to monitor drive modes and battery level.
Overall, the CX-90 is highly functional, entertainingly sporty to drive, and will be more competitive in the ever growing 3-row family crossover segment; and its posh interior may even attract luxury buyers on a budget.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the Turbo S are 23-City, 28-Highway, and 25-Combined. We averaged a good 26.5 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Pricing begins with the base Turbo at Select trim for $40,970, PHEVs are available in Preferred trim and above starting at $48,820, and the Turbo S starts at $53,125.
Force multiplier is a military term for when strategic elements come together to produce results greater than would have been possible without them. Well, no high-level math skills are necessary here to see that the 2024 Mazda CX-90 is clearly more than just a much better CX-9; it’s now a force to be reckoned with in the 3-row family crossover segment.
- Engine: 3.3-liter I-6
- Horsepower: 340
- 0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 118 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 26.5 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 369 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 14.7-seconds at 98 mph
- EPA: 23 City / 28 Highway / 25 Combined
- Starting Price: $40,970