It all started back in 2012 when I wanted a car that was to be purely self driven. I was looking at the entry-level luxury sedan segment and hence my choice was divided into the 3 big German brands. After test driving all three of them and pondering over which would be best suited for my needs, I finalized on the c200 in the avant-garde trim in white with cappuccino brown and black interiors. The car is powered by a 4 pot 1.8 liter turbocharged petrol unit outputting 186bhp and 285Nm of torque.
However, in its stock avatar the car looked like other luxury sedan on the road and didn’t stand out from the crowd. I wanted my car to stand out and look different, and hence I decided on starting by trying out a gloss black and white combo which would go hand in hand with the panoramic glass roof.
Beginning of the black and white journey
It started out by a small modification of painting the stock wheels in black and adding a subtle looking lip spoiler also finished in gloss black. This was done as an experiment to see if the black and white look would go hand in hand or not, and I was pleased by the outcome.
Next the diffuser and the ORVMs were painted black to give the theme a more pronounced look. The black and white look was really growing on to me, and by now I was sure that this is the direction I had to proceed in.
First set of rims
Now that I knew what I wanted to do with my car, the first thing to change had to be the rims. Nothing changes the visual appeal of a car as much as rims do. I wasn’t keen on upsizing at the time, hence my options were limited to 17 inchers. After a lot of searching and narrowing down on options, I finalized on 17” AMG wheels in their unmistakably 5 spoke starfish design. I opted for a high gloss black finish keeping in mind the theme. The rims did justice to the car and were slightly concave which also improved the stance of the car.
AMG Grille ( done with visual mods . . . . or so I thought )
The stock avantgarde grille in its stock aluminum and chrome finish was sticking out like a sore thumb as it was not in accordance with the theme. I had initially planned on getting the aluminum slats to be painted black keeping the chrome leading edge as it is, however I wasn’t getting time to send the car to the workshop and hence it kept on getting delayed. My birthday arrived before I could send the car to the workshop and to my amazement, my brother surprised me with an SL63 amg style grill. This grill was just perfect and completed the look of my car. “I’m done with mods on my car”, I said to myself, little did I know that I had just begun.
Getting bit by the performance bug (all hell broke lose)
The stock performance of the car was decent enough but nothing that would excite you, it had a linear acceleration and pull and the car preferred building speed in a non hurried manner. As I was happy with the visual of the car, my mind started drifting towards increasing the performance (Yes, the bug bit me, and it bit me so bad that now if asked to chose between performance and visual, I would go with performance every single time). First thing that comes to mind when trying to enhance the performance of a forced induction engine is to go for an ECU remap. The hunt had begun, me along with the help of Arush from Autopsyche started searching tirelessly for weeks for a remap for the 1.8 engine in the “200 CGI” avatar. After much efforts we learned, to our disappointment, that the India spec C200 came with the Bosch ECU, for which a remap wasn’t available. The next best alternative available was going for a piggyback unit. After much research and narrowing down of options, I finalized on the RaceChip TB Pro2 piggyback ECU, the company claimed gains for which was 231bhp and 350nm of torque. The chip arrived and once again, it was Arush to the rescue, he was over the phone for a painstaking hour helping me connect it properly. The gains didn’t feel major right after fitting it, but the gains increased gradually after 200-300kms of driving. The improvement in performance was noticeable and the mid range had become really strong as compared to stock. Over the months I kept tuning the chip to the perfect setting by trial and error. Although the gains were considerable, I have my reservations regarding the company claimed figure.
The racechip had to be one of the best investments I made on my car, it has been 2 years and 20,000+ kms since ive installed it and it has been an hassle free experience. As the majority of the torque was kicking in at midrange, the car had become a lot of fun, and soon the inevitable happened, the rear tires went for a toss !! Now that I needed new rear tires, I thought it would be a good idea to increase the section as the stock 225/45 r17 tires felt nervous footed on slippery sections of tarmac. The best upgrade keeping in mind the diameter and wheel well clearance was 235/40 r18 but that profile would have been a huge pain on Calcutta roads. Hence 245/40 r18 Yokohama Advan a13c were ordered along with cv3 style rims in a black and white combo. The new tires provided a lot of grip and the car didn’t feel nervous anymore, I feel it provided more grip than it was needed and the car’s acceleration had deteriorated due to the added friction, but the 235/40 was just out of question, hence had to make do with these.
The car felt faster than stock, looked better than stock, but something was missing, it did not make enough of a ruckus.
The next thing to go had to be the stock exhaust. Keeping my budget in mind, I sent my car to New Delhi to Autopsyche for a custom decat system with quad exhaust tip conversion. Due to the bigger diameter wheels and tires, the ride height had increased spoiling the stance of the car, my elder brother suggested going for lowering springs but I was skeptical at first given the road conditions back home. But Arush assured me that getting the car lowered by 35mm should be just fine and shouldn’t be an issue. H&R 35mm lowering springs were ordered along with c63 AMG front bumpers. Stance game was now supposed be on point.
A month or so later, my car was back, and boy did it turn out to be good, the exhaust was loud enough to wake up the sleeping my colony, the wourld fart on upshifts and give a slight crackle on lift off, this engine cannot sound any better. And due to the cat delete, the engine was gaining revs faster than before, and the overall effect on performance was better than I would have expected. As far as stance is considered, ill just let the pictures do the talking. I though I was done 2 years ago, whereas I’m not done even now. I cant do anything more to improve the output of the engine, so to make the car faster, all I can do is make it lighter. And the best way to do that is by opting for lighter wheels. Those are on their way and I’ll keep you guys updated on the gains that would provide. It has been an incredible 4 year journey of changing the car bit by bit to make it stand out, both in terms of performance and in terms of appeal. This would have been possible without the constant help and guidance of Arush, Prithwi and my elder brother Swastic. A lot has been done, a lot more is yet to come.