Almancil, Portugal – As the childhood tale of Goldilocks suggests, the search for something ‘just right’ often lies between two extremes. Of course, what’s just right to some is not so for others, so in the case of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, this has prompted an expansion of its popular C-Class lineup to include more content, styling and performance choices to help buyers find their elusive ‘just right’ within an expanding and diversifying C-Class family.

Enter the 2016 C 450 AMG 4Matic, scheduled to arrive this fall, and in doing so introduce a new line of AMG products that don’t quite qualify for the similarly rebranded Mercedes-AMG lineup of hot performance cars. As such, the C 450 AMG tucks in closer than the current C 400 to the fire-breathing Mercedes-AMG C 63 sport sedan in looks, nomenclature and power, but still offers the year-round traction advantages of all-wheel drive, a more comfortable ride, and lighter monthly fuel and car payments.

So let’s start with those looks. At this press preview event for the C 450 AMG as well as the new C 63 just outside Faro in sunny southern Portugal, Mercedes-Benz officials wisely chose different colours for the two models, as otherwise there would be little outside the differing rim designs to distinguish them. Both have expanded nostrils in front, similar lower body cladding all around, and nicely integrated quad exhaust tips – you really have to get up close and personal to see that the hotter C 63 model’s tips protrude just a touch more, and are ringed with the AMG logo.

Peek under the hood, and the twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine features a red aluminum insert to signify that this engine has been breathed upon by the folks at AMG. Perhaps not as heavily as the single master engine builder who sweats the details for every AMG engine built in Affalterbach, and signs their work as such, but like elsewhere, it does provide a distinguishing touch.

It’s a similarly familiar story inside. Our C 450 AMG tester didn’t have the two-tone seats or the matching dead-centre mark at 12 o’clock on the steering wheel of the C 63 S we sampled (which actually made these particular interiors more distinct than the exterior design), but we’re fairly certain that C 450 AMG buyers who want two-tone seats will be able to order them. What they won’t be able to receive inside is the C 63’s 320 km/h speedometer, carbon-fibre look trim on the gauges, and the Race mode algorithm on the AMG Dynamic Select toggle switch on the centre console just to the left of the shifter, which adjusts throttle response, shift points, and shift speed to increasingly aggressive levels as you toggle up from Comfort to Sport and Sport+ settings.

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