The new Mercedes Benz C 63 AMG | Part Five

Mercedes Benz C 63 AMG

Mercedes Benz C 63 AMG

AMG main menu with a wide variety of displays

The trademark AMG instrument cluster in a tubular design features newly styled dials, AMG-specific lettering and a new night-time design. Eye-catching details include the 200 mph speedometer scale, AMG lettering, red needles and the “6.3 V8” logo in the rev counter.

The AMG main menu in the central display allows numerous settings, with “Warm Up”, “Set Up” and “RACE” modes activated via buttons on the AMG performance steering wheel. “Warm Up” displays the engine oil and coolant temperature, “Set Up” the current ESP mode and the transmission mode “S”, “C” or “M”. “RACE” mode makes the RACETIMER available, with which the driver is able to measure lap times on a racetrack.

Development and design of the C 63 AMG

Creating a new car is a complex undertaking, and this certainly applies to the new Mercedes Benz C 63 AMG whose conceptual phase commenced in 2004. This began with the fundamental feasibility study known as packaging. The new C 63 AMG was first constructed as a digital model, the engine, cooling system, fuel system, drive train and axles being “married” with the bodyshell to examine buildability.

In spring 2005 the first 1:4-scale design models were produced on the basis of drawings and computer images, and in addition the first testing & development vehicles were already built on the basis of the preceding C 55 AMG. This made it possible to test major assemblies such as the drive train, brakes and axles. The latest onboard measuring technology provided valuable data such as engine oil, coolant and brake disc temperatures - but other aspects of interest were lap times e.g. on the north loop of the Nürburgring, as well as measurable, precisely defined handling manoeuvres to provide comparisons between different axle configurations. These tests were accompanied by extensive aerodynamic tests on the bodyshell of the C 63 AMG, and it was only then that the final design was approved.

Following approval of the concept in the autumn of 2005, the first fully-fledged prototypes of the C 63 AMG were built. At the same time the high-performance saloon was also produced as a digital prototype. Computer simulations made it possible for the “real” development prototypes to exhibit a very high level of maturity during the first rollout. These simulations included the most important vehicle functions, such as handling dynamics, the engine and drive train, bodyshell durability, suspension performance, passive safety, the engine’s thermal characteristics and performance/fuel consumption.

From Affalterbach to every climatic zone on earth

The standardised and highly sophisticated AMG development and test programme for the C 63 AMG began in summer 2005. Over the next couple of years around 20 vehicles were dispatched all over the world from Mercedes-AMG GmbH in Affalterbach, to be subjected to strenuous tests in every climatic zone.

Test, analyse and optimise - that is the creed of the AMG specialists to achieve the objectives laid down in the book of specifications. Another decisive aspect was an ongoing dialogue between Design and Development, so that any necessary technical modifications were also implemented in design terms.

The major test stages at a glance:

Development testing of the engine, transmission and drive train
  • Altitude tests in Denver, Colorado (USA), Lesotho (South Africa), Mont Ventoux (France) and Granada (Spain)
  • High temperature tests in Death Valley, California (USA), Upington (South Africa), Idiada proving ground (Spain) and Phoenix, Arizona (USA)
  • Driving trials in Los Angeles, California (USA
  • )
  • Cold temperature tests in Arctic Falls (Sweden)
Development testing of the cooling and fuel systems
  • Various driving trials on the high-speed tracks in Nardo (Italy) and Papenburg (Germany)
  • Trials in Upington (South Africa) and Death Valley, California (USA)
  • Tests in the DaimlerChrysler wind tunnel
Development testing of the braking and control systems
  • Brake testing on the high-speed track in Nardo (Italy) and the Grossglockner Alpine pass (Austria)
  • Testing of dynamic control systems on the Idiada proving ground (Spain), in Arjeplog (Sweden) and on the Boxberg proving ground

In addition various endurance trials are run, with the aim of simulating the vehicle’s entire lifecycle under the most severe conditions:

  • North loop of the Nürburgring: The car’s drive train, suspension, wheel location system, dynamic control systems, tyres and brakes are tested on the world’s most demanding racetrack.
  • Long-term testing on different roads: All the components and systems are tested together in everyday operation. Loaded up to their permitted gross vehicle weight, the test cars are put through a precisely defined test programme on country roads, motorways and in city traffic.
  • Endurance testing on the DaimlerChrysler proving ground in Papenburg: Extreme acceleration and braking manoeuvres with a high proportion of full load operation, making extreme demands on the cooling and fuel delivery systems.
  • Endurance testing in the Swabian Alb region: The vehicles are loaded up to their permitted gross vehicle weight and driven on country roads with numerous uphill and downhill gradients, placing extreme loads on the transmission and drive train.
  • “Heide” endurance testing: (named after the poor post-war roads across the “Lüneburger Heide”): 2000 kilometres of extreme trials on the test track or on state-of-the-art test rigs. In this case the focus of the developers is on the durability of the drive train components, the entire bodyshell and the integral subframe on which the front axle, steering and engine are mounted. The test cars are loaded up to their permitted gross vehicle weight.

These tests are supplemented with extensive crash simulations and real crash tests, to provide the necessary evidence for country-specific certifications without which no registration would be possible. The end result is final vehicle approval - the green light for the launch of the C 63 AMG.

Published 4 July 2007 Melanie Carter
 

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