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Here is a copy of the text from the May 2001 article on the C32 AMG. I scanned the pages but didn't know what to do with the huge files so I ran them through OCR software and spit it out below. It may not look pretty but it's readable and downloads quickly. Enjoy!<br><br>
ASK A TAXI DRIVER OR A RACING driver if they could do with a little extra performance. I bet you a pint of cool Guinness they will declare that there is no such thing as enough power. Case in point: the new Mercedes C class. The C 180 is okay, but the C200 Kompressor is better, and the C320 is more desirable still. Until you discover the AMG cars.<br><br>
First, we fell for the 280bhp C36 AMG, but soon after we preferred the quantifiably quicker 304bhp C43 AMG, and now we’re in love with the brand new 354bhp C32 AMG, which is quite simply the fastest ever C class. Although this is a relatively heavy piece of kit, the<br><br>
Kompressor has enough grunt under the bonnet to take on proper sports cars like the Porsche 911, and challenge its eternal rival, the 343bhp BMW M3.<br><br>
Mercedes offers the supercharged 3.2 litre V6 in three different body styles: saloon, estate and SLK roadster. We drove the former, which has no direct rival since BMW dropped the four-door M3 and Audi discontinued the S4 saloon. To differentiate the C32 from its off-the-peg siblings, AMG conceived a pleasantly subtle go-faster kit with lowered, uprated suspension and bigger wheels and tyres.<br><br>
Inside sit sports seats and steering wheel, a standard two-tone leather trim<br><br>
and a bespoke instrument panel which manages to be even uglier than that of a run-of-the-mill C class.<br><br>
The lever of the automatic transmission looks familiar, but it incorporates a new feature known as Speedshift. When you nudge the stick to the left and hold it briefly in that position, the black box will instantly select the lowest possible gear, even if that means changing down two or three notches and retying the V6 to its 6200rpm redline. Speedshift does not a offer the same degree of driver involvement as Porsche’s Tiptronic or the second generation BMW SMG ‘box, but it is o quicker and more persistent than a simple kickdown. Although when mated to an engine as torquey as this, it only takes a couple of hundred miles for the novelty to wear off.<br><br>
The supercharged V6 is all muscle and no fat. Unlike most of its competitors, the C32 does not depend on high revs to deliver the goods. On paper, the maximum torque of 325lb ft is unleashed at 4400rpm, but what counts more in real life is that this engine musters a broad-shouldered 2901b ft all the way from 2300 to 6100rpm.<br><br>
Economy? Not really. Although<br><br>
Mercedes claims 24.9mpg, our test<br><br>
car disagreed and averaged a disappointing 17 .8mpg. Acceleration?<br><br>
Oh, yes. The Benz will roar from<br><br>
0 to 62mph in 5.2sec. It surely is no<br><br>
coincidence that the BMW M3 and<br><br>
the Porsche 911 do the same job in<br><br>
an identical time.<br><br>
Above 100mph, the C32 will actually pull away from the other two cars until it hits the governor at 156mph sharp. Early prototypes topped an honest 188mph, but Mercedes points out that tampering with the engine management system jeopardises the type approval, so you should either do it properly (through AMG), or not at all.<br><br>
Although Mercedes has for some time used superchargers to squeeze more power out of its four-cylinder petrol engines, the blower for the V6 was developed from scratch. The screw-type device employs tefloncoated aluminium rotors which spin <br><br>
at up to 20,700rpm. Other engine modifications include a counterrotating balancer shaft and stronger crankshaft, as well as reinforced pistons, conrods and valve springs.<br><br>
Unlike the C200 Kompressor, which can only be described as an acoustic anticlimax, the supercharged V6 is guaranteed to make you listen. From behind the wheel, the distinct intake rasp, the sonorous exhaust growl and the high-pitched supercharger whine are quite subdued, but from the outside the loud and steely sound carpet brings back fond memories of the classic silver arrow KompressorRennwagen from the 1950s.<br><br>
When you put the hoof down, the C32 AMG takes off like greased lightning, but never sheds its composure. The performance is explosive yet controllable. The throttle responds emphatically but not with the sharpness of a razor blade. The upshifts are swift but by no means<br><br>
brutal. And with ESP, the handling is entertaining, not challenging.<br><br>
This is a road hugging car: flat, stable, unerring. It may not be as chuckable as an M3, or as sensuous as a Camera 2, but it is deceptively quick because it simply goes where you point it, no questions asked, no comments added. The steering, which feels a little heavy at first, matches the Merc's rock-solid character, and the huge, inner ventilated discs (cross-drilled in the front), make the silver sedan decelerate in time warp mode. From 62mph to a complete standstill, the C32 eclipses the lighter M3 by seven feet, which can make all the difference.<br><br>
When you switch off ESP, the AMG prepared C class remains surprisingly forgiving. To provoke power oversteer requires the usual overdose of oomph, plus a low gear and eventually some opposite lock. The rhythm that whips you through the bend is determined by equal<br><br>
parts of throttle and steering. More drama is always an option, but tic C32 is at its best when you let it ride along the edge of adhesion from one corner to the next, sliding only when already well past the apex.<br><br>
The car's composure at the limit never ceases to amaze. Body control is exemplary, roll and yaw are rarely an issue, and even under pressure: there is that confidence inspiring stability which takes the sting out o' driving really fast, even in less than. perfect conditions.<br><br>
In Germany, the C32 AMG costs 110,262 Deutschmarks, 10 percent more than an M3, 20 percent less than the spartanly equipped 911. With the exception of xenon lights. sat-nav and a sunroof, the Mercedes is fully loaded. And now that the Audi RS4 Avant is sold out, the C32 is the only available mid-size estate car on steroids. For the ultimate stealth appeal, look no further.<br><br>
For even more power, you could wait for the beefed up M3 GT light<br><br>
weight, the facelifted 911 3.6 or the next-generation 400bhp CLK AMG Kompressor. You see, there is no such thing as enough power.<br><br>
Price: £45,000 (est)<br><br>
Engine: Supercharged 3199cc<br><br>
sohc 18V V6, 354bhp, 3251b ft<br><br>
Performance: 156mph,<br><br>
5.2sec 62mph, 24.9mpg<br><br>
On sale in UK: May<br><br>
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