Steel Brakes vs. Carbon Ceramic Brakes

If you follow any of our dealerships on social media, then you know that the different colored brake calipers indicate that the vehicle is equipped with a particular type of brake system. Which means… what, exactly? Mercedes-Benz offers two different types of brakes. Both will keep you safe, but each has its own unique set of pros and cons. Let’s explore.

Gray calipers: steel brakes; red calipers: Mercedes-AMG S model distinction; gold calipers: carbon ceramic brakes

As mentioned, there are two types of brakes. “Conventional” brakes feature steel rotors, while “ceramic” brakes have carbon ceramic both. While there is no real safety benefit to either option, they each perform differently under certain types of conditions.

Before we go any further, a quick refresher in how your vehicle’s braking system works: brakes slow your car through friction. As you may remember from science class, friction creates heat – and that’s where steel and carbon ceramic brakes differ.

During repeated use – especially on a race track – steel brakes have a harder time dissipating that heat. Because it can take longer for them to cool down, they are more susceptible to  becoming warped and deformed, which can lead to less effective performance over time.

However, carbon ceramic brakes are more effective as heat dissipation. They also can handle more extreme temperatures and are less susceptible to corrosion from exposure to water and salt. They're also quite a bit lighter than conventional brakes, which helps to reduce the overall weight of your vehicle.

While this seems to indicate that carbon ceramic brakes are superior to steel, that is not necessarily the case here. As with most anything else, it really depends on how you’re going to use them – or, in the case, how you’re going to use your new Mercedes-Benz. After all, carbon ceramic brakes are truly designed for high performance use – which is why you’ll only see them on some of our Mercedes-AMG models. These brakes are designed primarily for track use. If you use them during normal, everyday driving, you’ll notice that they can feel “squishy” until they’ve been heated up.
Since the decision to upgrade to carbon ceramic brakes is also an expensive one, it’s best to talk through your options with one of our sales consultants. The sales teams at all three of our Mercedes-Benz dealerships understand the benefits of both options and can help you make the right decision for your needs.

Whether you have questions about this or anything else, we’re here to help. Call or email us today to discover everything that Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG have to offer!

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