Merc’s eye-catching AMG wagon gets a nice power boost

For some people, station wagons aren’t the kind of cars that need aftermarket upgrades. While that may be true to some extent, German automakers like Audi and Mercedes have successfully shifted that way of thinking by introducing performance-oriented wagons like the RS3 Sportback and the C450 AMG 4MATIC. The latter, in particular, has been a revelation thanks in large part to its premium looks and the hefty amount of power and torque it has at its disposal.

The C450 AMG 4MATIC has been a pleasant surprise to the extent that Mercedes tuner extraordinaire Vath has taken an interest to the car. You don’t say that too often for wagons other than Audi’s RS3 Sportback, but given what Mercedes was able to do with the C450 AMG, it was really only a matter of time before a tuner like Vath would take a stab at it.

Now that “that time” has arrived, owners of the performance wagon now have the option of taking Vath up on its aftermarket program. The kit itself does very little to the exterior and interior of the C450 AMG, but Vath makes up for it in spades with a significant engine modification that really brings the life out of the wagon. Not that it needs to do that, but there is a significant difference between the standard model and a Vath-tuned version. The latter is faster and more powerful, two things rarely said to describe a wagon. But it’s all there and it’s all because Vath saw the potential in the C450 AMG.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

  • 2016 Mercedes C450 AMG 4MATIC by Vath
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    441
  • Torque @ RPM:
    570
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • Top Speed:
    186 mph
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Mercedes C450 AMG 4MATIC by Vath High Resolution Exterior
- image 674320

There are no exterior upgrades to speak of, so don’t try to look for one. The only thing that Vath is offering in this regard is a new set of 19-inch forged alloy wheels wrapped in 245/35ZR19 and 275/30ZR19 tires in the front and rear, respectively. It’s not much, but at least the tuner didn’t leave this section completely dry. In any event, the design of the C450 AMG 4MATIC is nice enough that it’s not the end of the world if it didn’t receive any aerodynamic upgrades.

Interior

It’s the same story with the interior so again, don’t get your hopes up that you’ll see something different. From the looks of things, Vath completely disregarded putting in some work on the C450 AMG 4MATIC’s cabin. Not that it’s a problem because that’s the tuner’s prerogative. But could it at least have given some floor mats? Maybe some aluminum pedals too?

Drivetrain

2016 Mercedes C450 AMG 4MATIC by Vath High Resolution Exterior
- image 674325

The meat and potatoes of Vath’s program for the C450 AMG 4MATIC can be found under the hood where the wagon’s 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine sits. The work was pretty straightforward as it mainly involved the use of the tuner’s very own V 45 tuning kit, which is made up of a large cooling system, individual precision-adjustment of the engine electronics, and the lifting of the Vmax limiter. Using that kit, Vath was able to increase the output of the V-6 engine to an impressive 441 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque. Do the math from the model’s standard output of 367 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque and you get a nice increase of 74 ponies and 186 pound-feet of twist.

Vath was able to increase the output of the V-6 engine to an impressive 441 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque.

The German tuner complemented the V 45 engine kit with a new exhaust system made up of two oval tailpipes with flanged edges, each measuring 4.64 x 3.34 inches. All told, Vath didn’t mention how the mechanical modifications help the C450 AMG 4MATIC improve its 0-to-60-mph time. It did say that with the removal of the Vmax limiter, it was able to increase the top speed of the wagon to an impressive 186 mph, 31 mph higher than the standard model.

Suspension

2016 Mercedes C450 AMG 4MATIC by Vath High Resolution Exterior
- image 674322

The German tuner also put some time working on the C450 AMG 4MATIC’s suspension, installing a lowering kit that decreases the ground clearance of the vehicle by as much as 1.57 inches. Additionally, Vath also upgraded the wagon’s brake unit with durable braided steel flex lines and a high-performance racing-brake system oil, ensuring that the car’s stopping power remains in tip-top shape to go along with the extra power the wagon is carrying under its hood.

Pricing

The entire kit costs a total of €8,435.43. That converts to about $9,580 based on current exchange rates.

Competition

Audi RS3 by MTM

2015 Audi RS3 V8 By MTM High Resolution Exterior
- image 657415

If it’s a battle of the wagons we’re talking about, it would be foolish not to include the Audi RS3, considered as one of the C450 AMG’s biggest rivals. It just so happens that the RS3 has turned into a tuning favorite of sorts. Earlier this year, noted Audi tuner presented its own program for Audi’s resident performance wagon and unlike Vath’s own kit for the Mercedes, this one came with a handful of aero kits, most notably a carbon front spoiler wing and the carbon diffuser. Since this is MTM we’re talking about, design stickers and carbon mirror caps were also included in the program.

More important than any of that is the tuner’s M-Cantronic engine upgrade that pushes the output from the RS3’s 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine to 415 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. A more powerful MTM-motronic upgrade was also made available for owners of the RS3. This kit helps the hot hatch reach an output of 435 horsepower and 447 pound-feet of torque, allowing it to sprint from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.9 seconds to go with a top speed of 186 mph. The numbers are right around what Vath was able to get out of the C450 AMG, which should make for a really interesting race between the two cars.

Read our full review on the Audi RS3 by MTM here.

Audi RS3 by MR Racing

2016 Audi RS3 By MR Racing
- image 672053

Did I mention that there have been a number of tuning programs for the Audi RS3 Sportback lately? Yes, yes I did. This one comes by way of MR Racing and while it doesn’t come with any aero upgrades like Vath’s program for the Mercedes, MR Racing did at least inject some personality to the RS3 by giving it a custom body wrap that evokes images of the old Martini racing livery. In addition, the tuner also installed a new set of 19-inch lightweight alloy wheels finished in a “Traffic Red” color.

As far as engine modifications are concerned, MR Racing prepared two separate engine kits for the RS3’s 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine. The first is the Stage 1 kit, which comes with an ECU remap and a custom-made stainless steel sport exhaust system that the tuner received from Friedrich Motorsport. These upgrades help the RS3 Sportback increase its output to 448 horsepower and 482 pound-feet of torque. If those numbers aren’t good enough, the tuner also has a Stage 2 kit that builds from the first stage kit and adds a new TTE 500 turbocharger, high-pressure fuel pump, and a more efficient intercooler, further increasing the output up to 535 horsepower and 517 pound-feet of torque.

Read our full review on the Audi RS3 by MR Racing here.

Conclusion

2016 Mercedes C450 AMG 4MATIC by Vath High Resolution Exterior
- image 674319

I’m of the belief that tuning programs should cover every corner of a car and not just concentrate on particular section. Granted, I’ve seen some dedicated kits that have really impressed me, but more often than not, those were for cars that really didn’t need aero upgrades to begin with. Maybe I’m just too picky with these things, but I think it would’ve been better if Vath gave the C450 AMG a few aero bits here and there. I like what it did with the wagon’s engine and the results that came out of it, but I just think that there are things that are still missing with this kit. It’s a solid program, but I wouldn’t blame anybody if they held off on getting it so they can wait for another option to hit the market.

  • Leave it
    • It still looks like a standard C450 AMG
    • Maybe wait for another tuning kit?
What do you think?
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