On Sale: Mid 2008
Expected Pricing: About $55,000

Mercedes-Benz released its redesigned C-Class compact sedan in the fall of 2007 as a 2008 model and is adding a high-performance C63 AMG model in April. The C63 AMG will also debut as a 2008 model.

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG features a 6.3-liter V8 that makes 451 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. The all-aluminum 32-valve V8 has variable valve timing and a variable intake manifold. Mercedes says it can rev freely over 7000 rpm. The engine sends its power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted manually via the gearshift or steering wheel paddles. The transmission has a rev-matching feature that blips the throttle on downshifts. Mercedes says the C63 will be capable of a 4.3-second 0-60 mph sprint.

For crisp handling, the C63 has stiffer shocks and springs, a stiffer front stabilizer bar, a 1.4-inch wider front track, and modified speed-sensitive steering. The five-link rear suspension has been re-engineered and track is 0.5 inch wider. The 18-inch wheels are unique to the C63 and carry wider tires in the back than in the front. The brakes are 14.2-inch diameter vented discs up front and 13-inch discs in the rear.

The electronic stability control has three modes, ESP On, ESP Sport, and ESP Off. The sport mode allows for higher thresholds of wheel slip and drift angles, and the off mode turns the stability program off altogether.

An available Performance Package adds a limited-slip differential, even stiffer suspension settings, two-piece perforated and ventilated front disc brakes, and an AMG steering wheel wrapped in Nappa leather.

The C63's exterior gets several modifications. It has a unique dual power dome hood, a front fascia with larger air intakes and side air outlets, chrome-ringed fog lights, a rear apron with a black air diffuser, a rear lip spoiler, and a pair of twin tailpipes.

Inside, the C63 has leather sport seats, a three-spoke sport steering wheel with aluminum paddle shifters, and an AMG-specific instrument cluster. A menu on the dashboard screen allows drivers to view oil and coolant temperatures, change ESP and transmission shift modes, and even activate a timer to measure lap times.

Pricing hasn't been announced, but the C63 AMG should start at about $55,000.


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