For the 1990 racing season, Mercedes-Benz teamed up with Sauber to create the C 111 Group C car. The results were spectacular: the team became world champions.
They wanted to look for ways to test active systems for controlling vehicle dynamics before introducing them on production models – and so the high-performance C 112 sports car was born. Powered by a 6.0-litre V12 engine, it developed 300 kW (408 hp) and peak torque of 580 Nm. To ensure its huge power could be used with maximum active safety, the engineers came up with a range of electronic systems.
One such system was Active Body Control (ABC), which made its debut on the C 112. ABC features a combination of springs and hydraulics at each wheel, plus sensors that monitor the vehicle’s movements. A computer then assesses the data collected via the sensors and adjusts the active suspension elements accordingly. The result is ride stability the likes of which had never been seen before.
It was not just in its ability to offer controllable high-performance motoring that the C 112 was a precursor to the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren however. It also had the gullwing doors first seen on the legendary 300 SL and recently revived on the SLR.
Displacement: 5987 cc
Power: 408 hp
Top speed 250 km/h (155 mph)