• ‘17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPE!

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPE

    ‘It’s a usable point-and-shoot coupe, quite willing to play hard, and then settle down for a drive to dinner,’ blogs Dan Scanlan.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEI say AMG, and you say Mercedes-Benz’s hot rod, usually with a big V-8 hand-made by someone in Affalterbach, then signed on an alloy plaque on top. But just as the tuner started by Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erghard Melcher has been fully folded into Mercedes-Benz, so have some changes come to what’s now called Mercedes-AMG.

    So while this all-wheel-drive C43 AMG has received the golden touch from the folks who tune special Benzes, it is a different breed of Mercedes musclecar. This C-Class’ 3-liter/362 horsepower V-6, its twin turbochargers visible under air intakes in the tightly packed engine bay, wasn’t built in AMG’s operation in Affalterbach. It was just designed there. So, no engine builder’s plate, but it does get a new AMG-enhanced nine-speed automatic transmission with “Manual” mode so you can paddle-shift. With peak torque of 384 pound-feet in the “Sport+” drivetrain setting, it leaps to 60-mph in 4.5 seconds and 100 mph in 11.5 with super-quick up-shifts and no wheel spin. The G-meter on the expansive gauge display claimed .7 Gs acceleration at full launch. Tap the exhaust valve button and there’s an exotic snarling scream, each up-shift punctuated by a rifle shot-like bark from quad pipes. Backing off adds crackling, popping overrun.
    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPESet drivetrain in “Eco,” activating engine shut-off at stoplights, and the C43 AMG delivers 20 mpg on premium. It decouples the transmission from engine when you slow down. Or enjoy “Comfort,” which dials back the throttle response and steering feel for daily commuting, but still delivers precise, buffered shifts and strong mid-range torque for passing – 0 to 60-mph in 5 seconds, and 100 mph in 12.2.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEUnder its steel unibody with aluminum hood, trunk lid and front fenders, there’s an independent multi-link suspension with coil springs, tubular torsion bars and double-tube shock absorbers with adaptive variable damping. “Comfort” setting left us with a nice ride that absorbed everything, a touch of float over repetitive bumps. It was all too buffered, from steering to throttle response, for me.

    “Sport” gave a slightly firmer edge that smoothed out repetitive bumps, further buffering on full compression. The firmer suspension and all-wheel-drive with a rear biased torque distribution of 31 percent front/69 percent rear meant the C43 just hugged curves and went around them in a neutral fashion, turn after turn. Sport+ offered much quicker and tighter bump control, not too nice on rougher road or streets with raised crosswalks, but great for nicely paved sweepers. Its quicker and more aggressive shift pattern meant razor-sharp downshifts for powering out of curves, and tighter steering to help.
    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEThere’s an “Individual” mode, so you can set steering and drivetrain – I picked powertrain in “Sport+” and suspension in “Sport,” tapping open the sport exhaust valve. The C43 AMG stitched turn to turn, the shifts putting the rpm where needed to pull out of a curve. Tap the paddle and downshifts were executed concisely with a throttle blip. Bumps didn’t bother as we swept through turns, very flat.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEThere was no drama on our skidpad, only a touch of understeer. We regularly pulled .93 Gs in turns. With cross-drilled and vented 14.2-inch front discs, and 12.6-inch rear solid discs, we had great pedal feel and initial bite on our 3,000-mile-old test coupe. Plus solid stopping power with no nosedive and no fade after some very high-speed stops, pulling 1.1 Gs at full pedal push.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEThe C43 has a more prominent and upright grille with big Benz star and upswept LED headlights. Concentric chrome-plated pins flank the grill’s center star; side brake ducts flanking a low center air intake. The 10-spoke light-alloy wheels in gloss black with brushed alloy finish show off big disc brakes with silver AMG-badged front calipers. Lower profile P225/40R 19-inch Continental tires up front are matched with staggered wider P255/35Rs in back, giving the coupe a well-planted look. Our test car’s “Night Package” adds a gloss black lower diffuser with twin ebony-finished tailpipes, as well as gloss black front splitter.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPE17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEInside are highly sculpted bucket seats with leather-like MB-Tex and suede-like microfiber inserts, accented in red stitching. With 10-way power adjustment, they were very grippy in turns, with great support. Black leather and suede accent the flat-bottomed AMG multifunction sport steering wheel, also with red stitching. The fat-rimmed steering wheel has long, easy to reach alloy shift paddles behind it. There’s a 180-mph speedometer and 8,000-rpm tach with 6,500-rpm redline. They flank a 4.5-inch display for stereo, navigation, and an AMG menu item – digital speedometer, gear, G-force, lap-timer, turbo boost and engine gauges. A head-up display shows tach, speed and gear position.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEA base C300 Coupe starts at $42,650, while our C43 AMG coupe started at $55,500 with lots of standards including the high-performance summer tires. But options like the COMAND navigation system, red paint, ash wood interior trim, AMG exhaust and split-spoke alloy wheels brought it to $66,945. You can still get an AMG coupe with more muscle – the C63 AMG with twin-turbo V-8 and 469 horsepower and easily-smoked tires. Or go for AMG-lite C43 and get a very comfortable and usable point-and-shoot coupe, quite willing to play hard, and then settle down for a drive to dinner.

    For the complete AMG story and models available, please visit https://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/amg

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  • WILD-EYED & REVVED-UP: RODS AND ROSES!

    It’s become a tradition: The High Noon Engine Rev at the Rods & Roses Car Show in Carpinteria, CA. The show celebrated its 20 Anniversary on July 1st – and the roar of the engines this year was a loud salute to local automotive legend, Andy Granetelli.

    There were over 150 wicked, wonderful and wild-eyed customs, classics and musclecars lining Linden Avenue, Carpinteria’s main thoroughfare that delivers you to the “World’s Safest Beach” on the Pacific. Proceeds from this always-enjoyable show support local non-profits such as Future Farmers of America and Carpinteria Education Foundation. Our Jim Palam captured the spunk and spirit of this July 4th weekend event.The only thing thorny about Leonard Login’s ’23 Ford “C” Cab Custom, above, is the complimentary Participant Rose catching a stare from wild eyes on the air scoop covers.

    If you had a Fury fixation in 1958 then you needed to drop $3,892 to grab the title to this full-option Plymouth Fury. This one features an optional 350/305 dual-quad engine and push-button automatic. Bill Craffey proudly owns this high-fin beauty, left.

    It’s official: Chicks dig Porsches! Bill Pitruzzelli’s ‘56 Porsche Carrera GT attracts a bevy of young show goers.

    If there’s a car show anywhere near Michael Hammer’s home base in Montecito, you can bet that he’ll be there with a big grin and some eye-poppin’ treats from his impressive car collection – like this super-slammed and sexy ’51 Chevy Lead Sled.

    One of the High-Noon noisemakers was this Chip Foose designed, Jordan Quintal built F-100 Custom from the Petersen Museum Collection. That’s a towering cast-iron 502-cube V8 sporting a blower with “F-this” badging!

    Purple People Pleaser!. Rob Hansen’s plum-perfect ‘70 Dodge Challenger R/T sits ready to pounce at the intersection of Sleek and Sexy.

    Seeing Double: The folks at Mathon Engineering in New Jersey like doubling-up on their project bets. ’23 Ford T-Bucket – another Petersen Museum car – has at its thumpin’ heart a double-Chevy 350-inch motor mash-up.

    Ron Lawrence is a retired LA County firefighter who apparently got tired of polishing things. So it’s no surprise that this car guy’s pride and joy is this perfectly weathered and unpolished ‘30 Model A Ford roadster.

    How to Drive to Work: This beautiful and original (one respray since new) ‘68 Shelby GT350 is a daily driver for a Santa Barbara technology executive. What, no Tesla?

    Heading out of the show I spotted this ‘Work in Progress’ Low Rider parked on a side street. POTUS might call this frugal custom a “Bad Hombre.” But come on, those frenched antennas are a sure sign of style and sophistication. Pass the Grey Poupon, s’il vous plait!

    Words & photos: Jim Palam, http://www.jimpalam.com/

    For more information about Rods And Roses, please visit https://rodsandroses.wordpress.com/

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  • How to Reduce Tyre Overloading

    We love travelling in cars, vans and motorhomes for the freedom and comfort they give us. And we love the fact we can bring lots of things along. But when we pack our lives into our cars or load the caravan for a trip, we often forget to think about how much additional weight we are adding. Tyres can’t bear unlimited weight! Just because your van has enough space to fit that bike, boat, and a cooler packed with food doesn’t mean your tyres can cope with the task. The same applies to an SUV towing a trailer or a car with a roof box piled high for a road trip.

    For a safe trip, it is crucial not to overload your vehicle. It is very important to adjust your tyre pressure depending on the weight you have added. We’ll tell how to avoid overloading tyres when on a long trip.

    Why is overloading dangerous?

    The tyre is doing very hard work supporting the total weight of the vehicle and withstanding deformations, speed, heat and incredible forces. Heat causes exfoliation and separation of tread pieces as well as sidewall cords damage that can progress even after the extra load is removed. If your vehicle is overloaded then these forces are multiplied. Every tyre has a specific weight limit you shouldn’t exceed or it will simply fail – think about what will happen if you experience a blow at in your hugely overloaded car at high speed on a busy motorway.

    Consistently using tyres on the top of their weight limit degrades tyres the same as overloading them for a short time. If a tyre has already been underinflated or damaged, even a small extra load can lead to a blowout.

    How can overloading be avoided?

    1. Know your limits. At first, you need to find out how much weight your tyres need to support. This information can be found in your cars owner’s manual or on the sticker placed on the driver’s doorjamb. Then check the tyre’s maximum load capacity on its sidewall. It must be equal to or more than the total load you are going to bring along. In this case, your tyres must be inflated to their maximum pressure (this information can also be found in the owner’s manual), which MUSTN’T be exceeded. Let’s assume that information on the tyre’s sidewall says “Max 2,000 lb @ 35 psi”. It means that the tyre can carry the maximum of 2,000 pounds being inflated to no more than 35 pounds per square inch. It also means that, once your car has 4 tyres, the total weight of the car and baggage mustn’t exceed 8,000 pounds.

    If in doubt refer to Tyresafe’s car tyre or caravan tyre pressure calculators.

    2. Choose tyres accordingly. If you need to haul heavy loads, consider changing your tyres for another set with the same size but a higher load capacity or slightly larger tyres. Consult a tyre specialist before opting for larger tyres. Another solution is to increase pressure in tyres if their maximum pressure limit allows doing so. For your RV, use only caravan tyres that match your owner manual’s specifications.
    3. Choose motorhome wisely. If you are going to rent a recreational vehicle, do it with your prospective load in mind. Modern RVs vary in design, size, and loading capacity. Some of them have equipment for carrying a certain type of cargo like a motorcycle, bikes, or a boat.

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  • Buying Second-Hand and Revealing a Car’s History

    In the market for a second-hand vehicle? It can be daunting to navigate such a large market, but when you know what to look for and how to find it you should not have too much trouble. It is vital that you are thorough with your search and are not rushed into any decisions as there are a lot of dishonest sellers out there and the vehicle may not be as advertised.

    Checking the Car Over

    Once you think you have found the right vehicle, the first thing to do will be to check it over and take it for a test drive. This will involve much more than simply kicking the tyres – fortunately, there is a lot of helpful information online to help you with this process. In addition to this, a smart move is to enlist the help of a mechanic who will be able to provide their assessment of the automobile. This ensures that it is safe to drive and will give you peace of mind.

    The History

    A lot of motorists think that this is enough to determine whether or not they should purchase the vehicle, but this is absolutely not the case. Equally important is learning the history of the vehicle – this will indicate if there are any recurring issues, how many owners it has had, how far it has travelled and if it has a hidden history (stolen, unpaid parking tickets, previously written-off, outstanding finance etc.)

    A hidden history could reveal itself further down the line and cause a major issue for the buyer. In addition to this, concealing an aspect of the vehicle’s past may allow the seller to negotiate a higher price. This is why it is absolutely essential that you carry out a vehicle history check before making a purchase on a used-car. The seller may have done this themselves, but it is always worth doing it yourself for peace of mind.

    Uncovering the History

    These checks, available from companies like cap hpi, reveal an in-depth history and everything that you need to know to make an intelligent decision. You should ensure that there are no major issues with the car’s history, and also check that this information matches what the seller advertises.

    Buying a used car can be daunting, but by knowing how to inspect a vehicle and how to reveal its history it should allow you to search with confidence and find exactly what you are looking for.

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