MERCEDES-BENZ returned to Australia’s motor show scene today with a vengeance with an eyeball-searing orange C63 AMG show car that it had specially made to launch a new Performance Pack for its hottest C-class sports sedan.
The German importer also wheeled out the road-going equivalent of a stealth bomber – a matt black Mercedes SLS show car – that it also had specially dressed at Performance Studio in Germany for the Sydney show.
As well, Benz is using the show to re-launch its rugged 4x4 G-wagen range, headed by the $214,900 supercharged G55 AMG.
The 2010 Australian International Motor Show marks the first appearance of Mercedes-Benz at a local show for two years, having pulled the pin in protest at the multitude of motor shows around the country – and the cost of attending them all.
Now that the Australian motor industry has elected to support just one show a year alternating between Sydney and Melbourne, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific has dusted off its show stand and celebrated with one of lairiest cars ever to wear the three-pointed star.
The not-for-sale C63 Concept 358 – nicknamed ‘Jaffa’ internally – is cloaked in a one-of-a-kind Designo pearl orange metallic paint and bespoke interior leather trim with contrasting orange stitching.
According to the company’s senior corporate communications manager, David McCarthy, a buyer would have difficulty specifying a C63 to match the Concept 358, but the underpinnings – including the grunty $14,000 Performance Pack – are available to all-comers who sign on the dotted line for a C63.
The pack includes an extra 22kW over the standard C63 AMG, to 358kW at 6800rpm, courtesy of engine modifications including forged pistons from the SLS AMG, new conrods, lighter crankshaft and a new variable intake manifold, plus an engine management software tweak to take the rev limiter out to 7200rpm (an extra 200rpm).
The extra performance is said to slice 1.2 seconds from the standard C63’s 0-100km/h sprint time, dropping it to 4.4 seconds, but top speed is still electronically limited to 250km/h.
Torque remains the same at 600Nm at 5000rpm, but 19-inch wheels and bigger front disc brakes are thrown in.
Adding the pack to the C63 takes the price from $150,980 to $164,980, but that is unlikely to deter buyers – Mercedes dealers have sold a staggering 1300 C63s since its inception, helping to make Australia AMG’s fifth-largest market.
Like the orange paint of the Concept 358, the unique matt black of the Mercedes SLS sports special at the show is not for sale. Mr McCarthy suggested that, if someone tried to recreate it, they would end up paying a price “with a five in front of it” – well over the standard SLS AMG price of $464,000.
Unlike the revved-up C63 show car, the Designo Magno Night Black SLS uses the standard model’s 420kW/650Nm 6.2-litre V8 powertrain.
Mercedes-Benz marked the return of the 30-year-old G-wagen at the show with two models – the hot supercharged G55 AMG packing 373kW of power and 700Nm of torque, and the diesel G350, the first vehicle to be launched in Australia with Mercedes emissions-slashing BlueTec system.
This system injects a urea compound called AdBlue into the exhaust system to slash nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by up to 80 per cent while maintaining good fuel economy, and is used on several other Mercedes models overseas.
Powered by the 155kW/540Nm 3.5-litre CDI diesel engine, the G350 is priced at $159,900.
Australian dealers have already taken deposits for 10 of the flagship G55 wagens, which can sprint from 0-100km/h in just 5.5 seconds.
Based on the tough-as-nails ladder-chassis G-class used by the Australian Defence Force, among others, the hottest civilian version of the G-wagen sees the return of the 5.5-litre V8 as used on previous sports models such as the CL55.
In the G55, maximum torque of 700Nm is achieved at 2750rpm.