AMG's Silver Hammers : The Evolution of the Compact AMG

As the top model of the current C-Class generation, the new C 63 AMG can look back at an impressive heritage. It has four direct predecessors (C 55 AMG, C 32 AMG, C 43 AMG and C 36 AMG), all of which are powerful AMG high-performance vehicles.

It all began with the 190 E. When this compact Mercedes saloon appeared in 1982, only four-cylinder engines were on the market. And while it does not appear in AMG history, the real precursor was the Cosworth fettered 190E 2.3-16 which culminated in the 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II, the most powerful variant in this model series. Its four-cylinder engine had 173 kW/235 hp and a top speed of 250 km/h. The Evolution II sold for DM 115,259 in 1990.

AMG at this time was both competitor and customer to Mercedes and Mercedes Benz were holding their own ground with these Cosworth primed engines and also with the 500E produced with the help of Porsche.

But with the launch of the six-cylinder 190 E 2.6 in 1986, AMG in Affalterbach seized upon the potential for developing a powerful sports saloon. In 1987, exactly 20 years before the launch of the C 63 AMG, the 190 E 3.2 AMG made its first appearance.

• 190 E 3.2 AMG: the inspiration from 1987

In 1987, AMG surprised the industry with the 190 E 3.2 AMG. Featuring an engine capacity increased by 600 cc to 3205 cc, it generated previously unknown levels of dynamism. Output increased from 54 kW/74 hp to 172 kW/234 hp and max. torque rose to 317 Nm.

Fitted as standard with a five-speed manual transmission, the performance of the 190 E 3.2 AMG was highly respectable: 7.7 seconds were needed to accelerate from 0-100 km/h; the top speed was 244km/h (four-speed transmission: 7.6 s and 240 km/h).

The AMG sports chassis with its 16-inch AMG light-alloy wheels and larger brake system proved to be the ideal partners for the powerful AMG six-cylinder engine.

• C 36 AMG: the first result of the cooperation contract with AMG

A milestone was reached 26 years after the company was founded: in 1993 AMG and Mercedes-Benz launched their first jointly developed and produced car – the C 36 AMG. The sports saloon with the new name was presented at the Frankfurt International Motor Show. Market launch was initially limited to Europe.

The C 36 AMG was launched in America one year later. The top model of the successful first generation of Mercedes-Benz C-Class featured a 3.6L in-line six-cylinder engine with two overhead camshafts and fourvalve technology. The max. output of 206 kW/280 hp was reached at 5750 rpm; the 385 Nm max. torque at 4000 rpm.

The C 36 AMG accelerated to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds, with a top speed of 250 km/h. An automatic transmission with four – later five – gears transferred power to the rear wheels. The AMG sports chassis with 17-inch AMG light-alloy wheels ensured optimum roadholding and the hallmark Mercedes-Benz long-distance comfort; the large AMG high-performance brake system ensured premium deceleration characteristics.

By 1997, only four years after its world premiere, 5000 C 36 AMG vehicles had been sold. This first co-production was not only an economic success; it also marked an important milestone in the company's history and rapidly enhanced the profile of AMG.

• C 43 AMG: featuring a new V8 engine and available for the first time as an estate modelIn September 1997, the successor to the C 36 AMG was presented at the Frankfurt International Motor Show: the C 43 AMG featuring a new AMG V8 engine.

Boasting a 4.3L capacity, the eight-cylinder engine developed 225 kW/306 hp and 410 Nm torque. 0-100 km/h acceleration was achieved in 6.5 seconds and the top speed was electronically limited to 250 km/h. AMG addressed an emerging lifestyle-oriented target group by launching the C 43 AMG Estate in addition to the sedan.

The new model featured a five-speed automatic transmission. The AMG sports chassis with 17-inch AMG light-alloy wheels and the AMG high-performance brake system also contributed to optimum performance.

A highly exclusive development was the limited-production C 55 AMG. Virtually indistinguishable from the C 43 AMG to look at, the top model featured a 5.5-litre eight-cylinder engine familiar from the CLK 55 AMG and developed 255 kW/347 hp and 510 Nm torque.

• C 32 AMG: new supercharged V6 engine with 354 hp peak outputIn 2001, Mercedes-AMG GmbH entered new territory: a new supercharged V6 engine generating 260 kW/354 hp and 450 Nm torque was developed for the C 32 AMG. The powerful six-cylinder engine was closely related technically to the 368 kW/500 hp AMG 5.5L supercharged V8 engine of the SL 55 AMG.

Available as both a sedan and estate, the C 32 AMG was at the head of its segment in terms of peak performance and torque value, producing performance figures previously only achieved in sports cars: 0 - 100 km/h in only 5.2 seconds (estate 5.4 s), 200 km/h after 18.8 seconds (estate: 18.8 s) and a top speed of 250 km/h (electronically limited).

A further new development was the AMG SPEEDSHIFT five-speed automatic transmission with active engine-braking downshift, optimum gear function, torque converter lockup and particularly rapid gearshifting.

An AMG sports chassis with 17-inch AMG light-alloy wheels and an AMG high-performance brake system ensured dynamic handling. AMG bodystyling and a full range of standard equipment added a note of dynamic exclusivity to the C 32 AMG.

• C 55 AMG: with large-volume eight-cylinder powerhouse
The new C 55 AMG was launched to coincide with the presentation of the new generation C-Class in 2004. Boasting an optimised and enhanced AMG 5.5L V8 engine, the new eight-cylinder top model took first place in its competitive segment.

270 kW/367 hp und 510 Nm torque ensured superb vehicle performance: accelerating from 0 - 100 km/h in a mere 5.2 seconds (estate: 5.4 s), the C 55 AMG (available in both sedan and estate versions) reached a top speed of 250 km/h (electronically limited).

When it comes to visual impact, the C 55 AMG had a more athletic appearance than its predecessor. With a distinctive front end, larger track width, 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels, new AMG bodystyling and AMG sports exhaust system with two sets of twin chromed tailpipes, the V8 model displayed what it was capable of.

This was backed up by its equipment, featuring an AMG ergonomic sports steering wheel including steering-wheel gearshift, an AMG SPEEDSHIFT five-speed automatic transmission with a manual drive program, AMG sports chassis, AMG high-performance brake system and direct-transmission steering.

Total number of C-Class models made by AMG.
Around 22,000 AMG high-performance versions of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class were sold between 1993 and 2007. The most important markets were the United States, Germany, Western Europe and Japan.

Global sales from the C 36 AMG to the C 55 AMG at a glance:
Model                   Dates         Quantity
C 36 AMG (W 202) 1993 - 1997: 5400
C 43 AMG (W/S 202)1997 - 2001: 3850
C 55 AMG (W/S 202)1999 - 2001: 59
C 32 AMG (W/S 203) 2001 - 2004 8250

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