Marking a first for AMG, engineers chucked the base C-Class front suspension to accommodate the 6.3-liter V8 engine. “For the first time, all of the engineering was done by AMG, although we worked very closely with the series engineering team,” says Sven Graeble, product manager for
E-, C-, CLS- and CLK-Class AMG vehicles. The new front axle has a 1.4-in. wider track—visible through the wider wheel flares—to provide lower dynamic loads on the front wheels when cornering, with the added benefit of improved lateral dynamics. Custom tuned shocks, struts and springs are supplied by Sachs, while a larger torsion stabilizer bar, revised head bearings with rebound buffer springs improve on the already stabile foundation.
As one would expect, the modifications to the front axle required a design change, encompassing everything forward of the A-pillar. The dual power dome hood, quarter panels and fascia—accented with AMG’s signature honeycomb grille inserts and side air vents in the front apron to expel hot air from the oil coolers—are unique. Doors are shared with the series production C-Class; however the rocker panels have been modified for AMG. At the rear, quad-tip exhaust pipes are the telltale signature of the AMG variant, while the rest is shared with the series car.
Tucked under that specially designed hood is AMG’s signature 6.3-liter V8, although it has been toned down for this “entry-level” configuration to 451 hp (compared with 518 hp in the S63 AMG) and 443 lb.-ft. of torque. Graeble blames the downgrade in power to cooling issues: “This engine bay is very narrow,” he says. The engine is mated to the new SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7-speed automatic transmission (the only transmission available in the U.S.) with a double declutching feature to create automatic throttle blipping during downshifts. Revised control algorithms reduce shift times by as much as 50% compared to the previous SPEEDSHIFT transmission.