C55 AMG -
dates : 10th October 2004
14th October 2004
week Clint took us through the new Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG,
discussing its luxury aspects and racetrack ability thatís
astounding, considering itís a five-seater family sedan.
This week, still at Wesbank Raceway, Clint uses the C55 to
explain certain dynamic driving techniques, as well as delving
a little deeper into the Benzís amazing systems designed to
act as a safety net for the driver.
The slalom test induces what is known as yaw and pitch in
engineering terms. In plain English, this is where a car tends
to rock from side to side and nose-dive at the same time as
weight is thrown onto the front suspension.
The AMG treatment on the C55 controls this movement with much
stiffer and shorter springs and firmer damping rates. The
particular trick to the C55 set-up is that the very stiff
springs somehow still impart a comfortable ride.
When Clint turns up the wick to a speed where there would
normally be a degree of loss of control, the AMG-tweaked
electronics come into play.
Known as ESP, or the Electronic Stability Programme, this
systems works via electronic sensors on the body, the steering
wheel column and the throttle to automatically "sort
out" a skid.
When the car understeers, or loses traction at the front
wheels, the ESP automatically brakes the outside rear wheel
and the inside front, until the car is traveling in the
direction signaled by the steering wheel angle.
Simultaneously the system backs off on the throttle, or
accelerator, to restore control.
When the car is in an oversteering or rear-wheel-skidding
attitude, the system brakes the appropriate front and rear
wheels to get it into line, and again automatically reduces
power to the rear wheels.
The Brake Assist System automatically applies maximum pedal
pressure to the brakes, if sensors on the car detect an
These sensors measure the speed of the brake pedal travel in
its initial stages, or as soon as the driverís foot hits the
If the speed exceeds a certain limit, maximum braking force is
The reason for this system is that accident studies have shown
that most drivers initially hit the brake pedal very hard and
then back off too much pressure to avoid locking the wheels.
The Brake Assist applies maximum pressure just short of
wheel-lock up, using sensors on the brake discs.
Itís engineering in all aspects of the car that makes an AMG
version such a marvelous tool for safe, quick, performance
More power without attending to suspension, brakes and in
todayís era, electronic driving aids, can make for a lethal
The AMG C55 is quite possibly one of the finest road cars in
the world right now, in terms of its overall mix of
performance, handling and sheer class.
Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG
Engine: All-aluminium V8,
5 439 cc
Power:270 kW @ 5 750 rpm
Torque: 510 Nm @ 4 000
0-100 km/h: 5,2 seconds
Top speed: 250 km/h
Fuel consumption: 15-16
litres/ 100 km (estimated)
Price: R585 000
Car Torque is