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Mercedes recalls AMG C63 S

Traction trouble: Mercedes-AMG’s drive axles work just fine unless the rear drive wheels grip suddenly on a variable surface, such as a wet road, sending a 700Nm shock through the drivetrain.

AMG issues safety recall for V8 C63 S after mucho mumbo overwhelms drive axles

Mercedes-AMG logo7 Dec 2017

By RON HAMMERTON

ONE of Australia’s most popular muscle cars, the Mercedes-AMG C63 S, has been recalled for a software tweak to tame its off-the-mark acceleration that can potentially snap an axle driveshaft on wet roads.

The safety recall affects 1343 current-model C63 S sedans, coupes, cabriolets and wagons sold between February 1, 2015 and July 31 last year.

Loaded with 375kW of power and 700Nm of torque from its twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine, the C63 S puts all that grunt to the tarmac via the rear wheels.

The problem arises when torque peaks suddenly within the drivetrain when the driver puts the foot down on surfaces with variable traction. If a rear wheel suddenly gains traction, the shock potentially can overwhelm the steel driveshaft between the differential and wheel.

Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific public relations and product communications manager Jerry Stamoulis said the remedy was an update for the car’s electronic stability control (ESC) software and, if necessary, the suspension control unit.

He said the software was designed to reduce the stress on the drivetrain when the rear wheels suddenly hook up on a variable surface.

Because a broken shaft might leave a driver marooned in traffic, the issue has been declared a safety recall and advertised on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website.

Owners should make an appointment with their Mercedes-Benz dealership to have the software reprogrammed. The owners will also be notified by letter.

Mercedes-AMG C63 S cars sold since the middle of last year are not affected, presumably because the tweak was done at the factory.

Although sales figures for AMG-fettled cars are not broken out from official VFACTS sales data for Mercedes’ C-Class, it is known that AMG cars account for up to one in five Mercedes-Benz sales in Australia – the highest percentage in the world.

As prices of imported performance cars have come down, Australians brought up on a diet of local V8 vehicles have in part switched allegiance to manufacturers such as Mercedes-AMG with their throaty engines and enormous power.

This year, the company expects to sell a record 7000 AMG vehicles in Australia, making AMG arguably the top-selling performance marque in Australia.

It also places the Australian market in AMG’s top five in the world for volume.

Much of the growth has come from an expansion in AMG variants, including the four-cylinder A45 and CLA45.

Within AMG’s C-Class variants, the C63 has long been the top seller, but this year it is being challenged by the twin-turbo six-cylinder C43 – Mercedes-AMG’s answer to the BMW M3 and M4.

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