Mercedes C-class Coupe AMG DTM (2012) at Frankfurt motor show

Published: 16 September 2011

Mercedes’ F125 concept might preview a hydrogen future for the automobile, but alongside this tech-laden show car Benz boss Dr Zetsche (with a little help from Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg) also unveiled a hardcore race car. It’s the Mercedes C-class Coupe AMG DTM, which will compete in next season’s Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters – think touring car, only with 4.0-litre V8s and rear-wheel drive chassis.

Is the Mercedes C-class Coupe AMG DTM a C63 AMG Coupe under the skin?

No, the pair are quite different. There’s no 6.2-litre V8 for a start; power comes from a 4.0-litre V8, with twin 28mm air restictors limiting the output to around 500bhp at 7500rpm, while maximum torque is 369lb ft. That’s more than the C63 AMG, in a car that weighs 1050kg with the driver – the C63 tips the scales at 1730kg.

As for the rest of the car, new rules for the 2012 DTM season are designed to cut costs and improve the safety, which means all three manufacturers (Audi will race its new A5 DTM, and BMW has been tempted back into the series after a 20-year absence because of the reduced costs) share a standard carbonfibre monocoque (with an integrated fire extinguisher and fuel tank).

Each DTM car also has a steel roll cage and six carbonfibre crash structures to aid driver protection.

Merc's new DTM racer: a carbon future

The carbon moncoqoue also means an identical wheelbase for all the cars, while other components like the six-speed paddleshift transmission are shared between the manufactuers too.

Other cost-cutting measures include control tyres from Hankook, standard carbon brakes, and minimum certain weights for certain components.

HWA AG (AMG’s parent company) began the design and development work in June 2010, the first chassis was assembled 12 months later, and the first car was completed in August 2011. The DTM-spec C-class Coupe has a lot to live up to; the current C-class saloon has scored 84 vicotries in 156 races, making it the most successful car in the DTM’s 27-year history.

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy