Mercedes-Benz C36  For a quarter century, I'd fantasized about blasting down Germany's fabled autobahns. No speed limits, no plodding along at a lowest-common-denominator pace

no radar-gun-toting revenue agents-just me, the spectacular Alpine scenery, and endless miles of straight-to-the-horizon, smooth-as-glass, wider-than-the-Mississippi autobahn.

Curve- and hill-packed A1 is closer to well-worn Interstate 70 winding through the Rockies than a freshly poured, undeviating stretch of I-40 through west Tennessee.Mercedes-Benz C36

Narrower than interstate specs to start with, the autobahn tightened right up above 130 mph, and beyond that, it felt as if the single row of guardrail was about to rub my elbow.Mercedes-Benz C36

And what was all that traffic doing in my dream? Imagine driving 65 mph on a U.S. freeway and facing trucks backing up toward you at 35 mph

Before the end of the first mile on the autobahn, I noticed quite a lot of wind rush coming from the area of the Mercedes-Benz  C36's  mirrors.

The fact was logged in my razor-sharp professional road tester's brain: "The  Mercedes-Benz C36 exhibits unexpected wind noise at, uh, 125 mph."

The Mercedes-Benz  C36 is part image enhancement for the staid C-Class, part celebration of the German Touring Car

Unlike previous AMG-modified Mercedeses, the C36 was developed jointly by both companies.

It will be sold (starting at about $50,000) through Mercedes dealers and carry the same four-year/50,000-mile warranty as other M-B products.Mercedes-Benz C36

o meet these aggressive expectations, AMG and Mercedes raided the parts bin for many of the Mercedes-Benz  C36's upgrades.

Front brakes come from the V-12-powered SL600, rears from the V-8-powered E420. The intake manifold, complete with larger-diameter passages, is from the E320.

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To handle the additional power, the Mercedes-Benz  C36 gets the E420's four-speed automatic, fitted with a direct 1.00:1 fourth gear.

the Mercedes-Benz  C36's differential was designed for future E-Class cars and features wider faces on the ring-and-pinion gears.