Packing a 270 kW 5,5-litre V8, burbling through four AMG-tuned exhausts, Mercedes-Benz’s facelifted C-Class flagship looks and feels more substantial that its V6-engined C32 AMG predecessor.Packing a 270 kW 5,5-litre V8, burbling through four AMG-tuned exhausts, Mercedes-Benz’s facelifted C-Class flagship looks and feels more substantial that its V6-engined C32 AMG predecessor.
The powerplant of the Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG, which has been launched in saloon (R585 000) and estate (R603 000) versions, isn’t the first non-supercharged AMG engine in the line-up, that honour befell the current CLK55 AMG. Its peak power output (270 kW) isn’t much higher than that of the current C-Class flagship, the 260-kW C32 AMG. However, the C55 produces maximum torque of 510 N.m – 60 N.m more than the C32 – and then there’s the rorty V8 soundtrack, with which the C32 AMG cannot compete.
The C55 AMG’s five-speed, three-mode Speedshift automatic gearbox offers gear changes via selector paddles behind – or by buttons on the sports steering wheel. On the track, the C55 AMG paddles were ultra-sensitive to operate and aided the engine smooth and linear power delivery.
When the manual shift programme "M" is operative, the gearbox will remain in a selected gear even right up to the rev-limiter, a feature that will be very popular with enthusiastic drivers. Mercedes-Benz claim the latest incarnation of the AMG Speedshift ‘box offers torque converter lockup, optimal gear function, automatic braking deceleration and faster gear changing.
According to the Affalterbach-based division of Mercedes-Benz, the new C55 AMG will accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 5,2 seconds and reach a limited top speed of 250 km/h.
On the outside, the C 55 AMG is clearly distinguishable from other C-Class models by its CLK-like front end, which has been extended by around 80 mm in order to accommodate the beefy V8 engine and now incorporates the facelifted C-Class’s three-louvre radiator grille and elliptic twin headlamps.
When comparing the appearance of the C55 AMG directly with the C32 AMG, but the new car has a lot more presence (almost an E-Class like quality, the correspondent notes) thanks partly to the redesigned side skirts and 18-inch AMG rims. The trade off of the handsome rims and low profile tyres was that the C55 AMG’s ride felt less than smooth on normal roads.
A trailing edge on the boot cover (saloon only) distinguishes the C55 AMG from normal C-Class models and a new AMG exhaust system channels the unmistakable sound of the V8 engine.
Inside, there are new AMG sports nappa leather seats with shoulder-height Alcantara inserts for improved lateral support. Standard specification comprises a new AMG instrument cluster equipped with four classic round gauges, windowbags, automatic belt feeders, electric windows, bi-Xenon headlamps with headlamp lens cleaning system, a rain sensor, and an adjustable steering column (rake and reach), automatic climate control system (Thermotronik) and COMAND, which includes satelite navigation.
The C55 AMG is covered by a two year/unlimited kilometers warranty and includes a six-year/120 000 km maintenance plan that requires staggered customer contribution as the mileage increases. Also offered at no extra cost is the touring guarantee, which offers 24-hour roadside assistance.