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 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Bringing Supercar Performance To The Street…American Style
What happens when you let enthusiasts and engineers worry less about tradition and allow them to do what they do best? You get cars like this Chevrolet Corvette Z06. What happens when GM let’s us borrow one for a few days? That’s what we’re about to find out!
While the Z06 package first became an option for the Chevrolet Corvette back in 1963, it wasn’t until the C5 that it describe the ultimate track-focused ‘Vette. And while since then every Z06 has gotten more extreme, if we were plotting things out on a graph, this is where the line of performance progression goes from a steady incline to almost vertical. Yes, the latest C8 Z06 is all that.
It starts with a brand new LT6 5.5-liter DOHC V8 that outputs 670-horsepower and delivers 460 lb-ft. of torque. It sounds great too, the very aggressive nature of its flat-plane crank design has it sounding, and feeling like it’s trying to shake its way out of the engine bay unless you unleash some of its furry.
This dual-cammer featured a dry-sump design from the get-go and is more racing engine than souped-up small block, being developed originally for the C8.R race car.
It made short work of Roebling Road Raceway’s long front straight, able to reach 160 by the end of it. With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
But, as you can imagine, Chevy has done much more than just plop a bigger motor into its rear-midship engine bay, which was easier to do since they didn’t have to worry about anyone seeing over it. They’ve addressed just about every part of the car to ensure it puts that power to best use for coming out of corners like few other cars on the street.
That includes upgrades for the short/long arm double wishbone suspension setup that can be further enhanced with an available Z07 Performance Package that adds more aggressive tuning for Magnetic Ride Control, and Michelin Sport Cup 2R tires. Which can be mounted on 20 and 21-inch carbon fiber wheels with carbon ceramic brakes nestled behind.
It all translated into more grip than a semi’s worth of industrial strength Velcro through Roebling’s 9-turns.
With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
Like most Corvettes, the Z06 can be as wild or mild of an experience as you care to make it but will most likely be the fastest car to show up at most track days. Yet, the same magnetic dampers that void all body roll on the track, provide an almost plush ride quality for the drive home, though not quite as plush as the standard Corvette.
We’re struggling to find something non-fan boy to say; sure the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox doesn’t deliver shifts with the brutality of some exotics, but really, they’re just as fast, and the shifts are much smoother.
Believe it or not, almost all the body is unique. So, rather than just tacking on some fender flares, Chevy made the entire car wider to cover the 345 rear tires, yet keep the same uniform look in place.
The optional Carbon Fiber Aero Package adds a front splitter, rocker extensions, front dive planes, and a huge rear wing. We’re not sure if the multi-level nature of that rear wing was done for functional or aesthetic reasons, but it doesn’t block your rearview, and that is much appreciated.
We always talk about torque being more important than horsepower when it comes to acceleration, and the Z06 works with almost 200 fewer lb-ft. of torque than horsepower, but you sure wouldn’t know it when you mash the throttle.
Easy to use programmable launch control allows you to dial in your preferred RPM for launching; we found 4,500 was just about perfect for Roebling’s front straight, allowing for just a tiny bit of slip before rocketing us to 60 on a 40 degree day in just 2.6-seconds.
Power continues to pour on hard as the engine quickly hits its 8,600 RPM redline, and gear changes happen often. The sound inside the cabin in intense, and when the ¼-mile came to an end in 10.7-seconds at 130 miles-per-hour, it felt like it was just getting started.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are a low 12-City, 19-Highway, and 14-Combined.
For the Z06 there are 3 LZ pricing points to land on, starting at $114,395; but you can go with the top-of-the-line Z06, add 50-grand worth of options, and still come out half the price of anything you can compare it to.
Call us home teamers all you want, but America’s only exotic does it yet again, not only is it the best Corvette ever, but it is also easily one of the greatest American cars of all time, arriving at a particularly poignant time culturally as we mourn the potential loss of internal combustion engines altogether. So, come for the spectacular engine and stay for the complete performance package, and experience, that is the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
- Engine: 5.5-liter V8
- Horsepower: 670
- 0-60 mph: 2.6 seconds
- EPA: 12 City | 19 Highway | 14 Combined
- Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch auto
- Torque: 460 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 10.7-seconds at 130 mph