The C-Class sedan is the best selling Mercedes-Benz model, and the 2011 C-Class lineup features four models – the 451-hp C63 AMG, the 268-hp C350 Sport and the 228-hp C300 Luxury and C300 Sport. Both C300 models are available with optional 4MATIC all-wheel drive. For 2011, both Sport models are now equipped with LED daytime running lights and black inlays around the headlights, and all C-Class models come with new headlight control switches and ESP controls relocated to the instrument cluster.
The high-performance C63 AMG has a powerful new option package – the AMG Development Package, which features new lightweight forged pistons, connecting rods and crankshaft with modified engine management that together provide an extra 27 horsepower, for a total of 481 hp. The AMG Development Package also includes track-calibrated sport suspension, limited slip differential, red brake calipers, a carbon-fiber rear spoiler and a higher speed limiter of 174 mph.
Distinctive Sport Models
While Luxury models wear the iconic three-pointed star perched on top of the front hood, the C-Class Sport can be identified by a bold star in the front grille – usually reserved for its coupes and convertibles. Sport models also come with standard AMG styling, including deeper front and rear aprons as well as sculpted rocker panels.
The Sport features staggered-width, five-spoke 17-inch wheels; sport shocks; springs and stabilizer bars that provide a crisper ride and more than a half-inch lower ride height. Instead of the Luxury model’s traditional four-spoke wheel and burl walnut trim, Sport models come with three-spoke steering wheels and a choice of aluminum, burl walnut or black birds eye maple interior trim. The C300 Sport features a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission.
All C-Class models boast Agility Control, which provides the benefits of both soft and stiff shock absorbers. Each twin-tube shock absorber is fitted with a hydraulic by-pass piston that acts like a very soft shock absorber to effectively dampen road noise and tire vibration. However, over bumpy or uneven roads, the by-pass piston is out of the picture, which preserves the outstanding steering and handling response of a stiffer shock absorber.
The C-Class comes with an ‘Eco/Sport’ button, and in the Sport mode, understeer and body lean are reduced. Selecting the Sport mode quickens throttle response, increases steering feel and raises shift points for maximum performance. In the Eco mode, shift points are lowered, and the vehicle starts off in second gear for optimized fuel economy.
Optional 4MATIC Four-Wheel Drive
As modern all-wheel-drive systems become even more refined, they are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the luxury car market. With negligible weight and fuel-mileage tradeoffs, full-time four-wheel drive provides year-round traction and stability benefits on both wet and dry roads.
After making its debut on the current-generation S-Class sedan, the latest version of the Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system is optionally available on the C300 Sport and the C300 Luxury models. The 4MATIC system features a full-time all-wheel-drive system that’s cleanly integrated into the seven-speed automatic transmission and fits right into the standard body, utilizing the existing front suspension.
The extra gears and shafts that drive the front wheels weigh only 145 pounds more than the rear-wheel-drive model. Fuel efficiency has been improved, due to a number of innovative measures that minimize the energy needed to turn the extra hardware.
A High-Performance Instrument Cluster
C-Class standard equipment includes a power sunroof, eight-way power front seats with lumbar support, two-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and a central controller with a five-inch display screen.
A display in the center of the speedometer is linked to a 12-button multi-function steering wheel that can call up a variety of helpful information. The display can show phone and audio system information such as radio station, CD track or iPod playlist as well as range, fuel mileage and oil temperature. If the car has the optional navigation system, the display will also show next-turn directions.
A Versatile Audio System
An eight-speaker audio system includes an ‘aux’ connector for iPod-type devices and a Bluetooth interface that allows a phone still in a pocket or purse to be operated through the audio system.
An optional Multimedia Package can play tracks stored on a data CD, DVD or memory card, and the audio system can be fitted with an optional six-disc, in-dash CD changer. The C-Class includes a MusicRegister feature, which enables CD ‘ripping’ (saving) to a six-gigabyte hard drive that can store up to 1,500 tracks from an audio CD. A Gracenote database automatically identifies each track with its title, artist, album name and other information.
No Need to Ask for Directions
When the car is equipped with the optional COMAND audio and navigation system, a power-operated seven-inch display screen slides out and up when the flip-up cover is raised.
The navigation system stores maps for all of North America on a 40-gigabyte hard drive. In addition to the map display, next-turn navigation instructions can also be shown in the instrument cluster central display.
With the key still in a pocket or purse, an optional Keyless-Go system allows the doors to unlock automatically, and the car starts at the push of a button. Other options include a rear-view camera, driver’s four-way power lumbar adjustment and a tilting side mirror for parking.
Renowned Mercedes-Benz Safety
The 2011 C-Class comes with all the safety features expected from Mercedes-Benz – from four-wheel disc brakes and ABS anti-lock brakes to traction control and ESP stability control. The C-Class boasts nine supplemental restraints, including two-stage front air bags, a knee air bag for the driver, and pelvic air bags which work together with curtain and side air bags to provide extra protection for front occupants in dangerous side-impact collisions.
V8 Power for the C63 AMG
The high-performance C63 AMG is distinguished by its 451-horsepower V8 engine, unique AMG body styling, 18-inch alloy wheels, sport suspension and a high-performance brake system – all designed by AMG. The C63 AMG is further identified by a special front hood with two power domes and a muscular front apron with large air intakes and side air outlets as well as fog lights ringed in chrome.
A ‘6.3 AMG’ badge marks each front fender, and contoured side sill skirts carry the aggressive lines of the front end to the rear, while an AMG rear apron with a black air diffuser insert and three diffuser fins help enhance aerodynamic performance at high speeds. An AMG lip spoiler on the trunk lid and a pair of twin tailpipes completes the exclusive look and sound of this special model.
Inside the C63 AMG, drivers are greeted by AMG sport seats with integral head restraints finished in a special cross piping and an AMG three-spoke sport steering wheel with distinctive aluminum shift paddles. An AMG menu in the central display includes special ‘Warmup,’ ‘Setup,’ and ‘Race’ modes that can be viewed via the multi-function buttons on the steering wheel. ‘Warmup’ displays engine oil and coolant temperatures, while ‘Setup’ shows the current ESP and transmission shift modes, and for owners who enjoy adjusting their vehicles to even higher limits, ‘Race’ activates a timer that allows the driver to measure lap times.
The First Engine Developed Totally by AMG
The C63 AMG is powered by the first engine developed entirely by AMG. Its 6.3-liter V8 produces 451 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque, for breathtaking acceleration times of 4.3 seconds from zero to 60 mph. Built almost completely from a high-strength silicon-aluminum alloy, the AMG engine block was designed with an especially rigid bedplate acting as the overall support for the main bearings, cast-in steel reinforcements and a sturdy closed-deck layout in the cylinder head area. The cylinder bores feature a twin-wire-arc-sprayed (TWAS) coating, an innovative process that results in impressively low friction and running surfaces that are twice as hard as conventional cast-iron cylinders.
The 6.3-liter AMG V8 features four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing, bucket tappets (rather than rocker arms) and a variable intake manifold. Forming a straight line through the engine, high-flow intake and exhaust ports help the AMG engine rev freely to over 7,000 rpm, yet the highly flexible V8 still produces nearly 90 percent of its peak torque at only 2,000 rpm.
AMG Speedshift Plus
Power is transmitted to the rear wheels of the C63 AMG through a seven-speed AMG automatic transmission that can be shifted manually by either a conventional lever or Formula-1 style shift paddles on the AMG sport steering wheel.
To give performance-minded drivers total control of shifting, the manual mode of the AMG transmission doesn’t intervene to cause any automatic upshifts – even at max engine speed – or automatic downshifts, even under full load. Called ‘AMG Speedshift Plus,’ this mode provides 35 percent faster gear shifts and torque converter lockup from 1st gear.
The C63 AMG features automatic rev-matching during downshifts. This virtually jolt-free downshifting process reduces load-change handling response, and for motorsports-minded drivers, improves braking in advance of turn-in. The C63 AMG is also the first AMG model with a three-stage ESP system.
In addition to its normal ‘ESP ON’ operation, the ESP button on the center console has an ‘ESP SPORT’ mode as well as ‘ESP OFF.’ The ESP Sport mode allows for more aggressive driving with higher drift angles, which can make sporty driving more fun, not to mention more helpful on the race track.
Mechanically, the C63 AMG chassis features a redesigned front suspension including stiffer shocks and springs all around, with special rebound buffer springs in the front shocks, as well as new bearings, a stiffer stabilizer bar and 1.4-inch wider track. Its speed-sensitive rack-and pinion steering feels even faster than its 13.6:1 ratio, thanks to a modified steering axis and a stiffer insulating disc in the steering column.
At the rear, AMG has re-engineered the multi-link suspension, plus track is a half inch wider with increased negative camber for improved cornering. To handle the increased power of the AMG V8, stronger halfshafts and driveshaft joints are installed.
Staggered-width 18-inch wheels (8.5 inches in front, 9.0 at the rear) make room for large AMG vented and perforated four-wheel disc brakes. Front discs measure 14.2 inches in diameter with six-piston fixed calipers, and at the rear, ample 13-inch discs with four-piston fixed calipers are used.
For C63 AMG owners who are serious about competing on the race track, the AMG Development package features new lightweight forged pistons, connecting rods and crankshaft with modified engine management that together provide an extra 27 horsepower, for a total of 481 hp. The AMG Development Package also includes an even stiffer sport suspension, limited slip differential, red brake calipers, carbon-fiber rear spoiler and a higher speed limiter of 174 mph.
About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA, headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the sales, marketing and service of all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. For more than forty years, MBUSA has taken pride in providing superior quality luxury vehicles coupled with a commitment to outstanding customer support.