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The “Best-Handling Car Ever” Wears Donuts?

January 15, 2012 by Matt

Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Donuts Spare Tires Tyres

In my July 15 post, I wrote:

I believe a “de-militarization” of the sports car arena is needed. Automakers need to take a deep breath and announce that the next iteration of a particular model will have *gulp* less power than the outgoing model. But in that same breath, they can hopefully also announce that its weight is lighter, it’s more efficient, and most significantly, that it’s more fun to drive. That lowering of the bandwidth would improve the cars we drive by bringing them back into focus for the average driver, and bring the driver up by encouraging and rewarding his involvement of in the act of driving. Win-win.

Chris Harris agrees, by way of an unusual experiment. Making the case that the absurdly narrow 255-section rear tires are completely inadequate to control the 480 hp emanating from the great whacking 6.2l V8 under the hood of the Mercedes C63 AMG coupe, rather than add more tire, he decides to go the other way and fit a set of 4 125-section space-saver spare tires (“donuts”) all around.

The results are entertaining, to say the least. He makes a great case for predictability as a handling attribute, noting that prodigious levels of tire grip can lull a driver into false sense of security—not to mention entice him to drive beyond his ability—until they abruptly let go at speeds where “things” could occur quite rapidly on the track, to say nothing of the street environment. Click on the jump below to watch the segment. It’s worth it.

Filed under: Car Industry, Mercedes


  1. John D says:

    “We have just invented possibly the greatest driving machine on the planet!”

    That looks like an absolute blast.

    I admit that I am one of the first to become frustrated when I find that ‘thing’ about any given car that limits it’s performance ability. Whether it be overly soft (or hard) suspension, skinny tires, an anemic engine, etc. But that’s because I am extremely goal oriented. It’s just my personality. I want the result, not the experience. (Actually I want both…but results are my priority because I get frustrated if they aren’t what I think they should be.) But even I can appreciate this experiment and feel a sense of joy just watching Chris drive that absurd thing.

    So even though I must agree with you about increasing the ‘fun to drive’ factor about modern cars, I would certainly be one of the first to become dissatisfied and begin modifying that ‘fun’ car to become a ‘better/faster’ one. I can’t help it. It’s in my DNA. Hence my proclivity towards muscle cars, I bet. ;)

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