The current generation C-Class has been with us for nearly two years and has been one of the best cars in its class. The last generation C-Class lacked certain qualities one expects from a Mercedes-Benz and made you feel like you were sitting in the cheapest car in their lineup. So when Mercedes went back to the drawing board, they drew inspiration from the best car in their lineup: The S-Class. That inspiration is very noticeable from both inside and out where the C-Class bears a strong resemblance to the S-Class.
Apart from fixing the C-Class’ obvious shortcomings with its styling and interior, Mercedes sought to outperform its rivals in the performance department. AMG is Mercedes’ in-house tuner and has created flashy high-powered machines for Mercedes for the better part of nearly the last three decades. In order to bring the AMG feel at a more accessible price, Mercedes has added the AMG 43 model to several models in its lineup such as the C-Class. The AMG C43 is supposed to capture the styling, dynamics and feel of its V8 brother
Mercedes has tried to make the new C43 as sporty as they could and the fresult is right in front o0f you. The C43 AMG gets all the styling characteristics of the AMG which makes it instantly recognisable that it is a part of the AMG family. The typical AMG front apron with bigger air vents, diamond mesh and silver chrome trim. The diamond radiator grille now features chrome plated pins, the louver gets which has been finished in Gloss black colour gets the AMG lettering as well. The side profile of the coupe gets lightweight alloy wheels. Towards the rear the Coupe features chrome plated twin tailpipes with centre divider. The rear profile also gets the “AMG” (left) and “C 43” (right) lettering on the boot lid and also the new “BITURBO – 4MATIC” lettering on the front wings.
The interiors of Mercedes-Benz C-Class AMG C43 4MATIC feature AMG line interior trims with open pore black ash wood and door sills with “AMG” lettering illuminated. The seat matrix features sports seats for the driver and co-passenger provided with electrically-adjustable feature and memory function for the convenience of regular users, and the seat upholstery in Nappa leather upholstery. The comfort and luxury convenience of the occupants has been enhanced with Thermotronic 2-Zone automatic climate control, and infotainment system with 7” high-resolution media display and music system with 4 high-resolution loudspeakers delivering high quality of audio output.
Well, that pattern extends squarely to the performance department as well. The C 43 AMG runs a 3-litre twin-turbo V6 that makes 367PS and 520Nm. That’s two cylinders, 143PS and 180Nm down on the C 63, but two cylinders, 183PS and 220Nm more than the standard C200. And straight away, I can tell you that this engine is my favourite part of the C 43 AMG. Many write about how turbos blunt throttle response, but not once did I think, “Oh, I wish the engine’s responded faster to my right foot.” In fact, in the Sport +, the raciest of all the modes I had to make a conscious effort to smoothen out my throttle inputs. Then there’s the beautiful power delivery. Performance is strong from as low as 2,000rpm, and it just builds and builds till the needle slams into the 6,500rpm redline. I guarantee that you will repeatedly run into the rev limiter the first time you drive this car hard in manual mode. Power gets so addictively strong at the redline, and accompanied by that sweet 6-cylinder roar, you simply can’t help it! If only there were 500 or 1,000rpm more to play with, what an epic motor this would be. Wishful thinking, but still engine performance is nothing short of stunning. We recorded repeated 5.0s 0-100kmph runs, and top speed is limited to an easily achievable 250kmph. While I mentioned that the exhaust sound is enjoyable at the redline, at start-up and lower revs it lacks the bigger AMG’s volume and also doesn’t pop or burble quite so dramatically. That may disappoint some but it makes the car calmer and more comfortable to live with at low speeds.
There are five driving modes as well as individual control over engine and suspension settingsThere are five driving modes as well as individual control over engine and suspension settingsLike the GLE 450 AMG Coupe that shares this motor, the C 43 uses a 9-speed automatic transmission. AMG says they’ve increased speed and responsiveness, but the transmission doesn’t work quite the same magic as the engine. Shift speeds are quick enough, but I found that the gearbox lacks the on-edge reactiveness and responses that the engine deserves. It’s fast, but not dual-clutch fast. In the enormous GLE 450, this didn’t matter because it’s not the type of car you push too hard, but the lighter, more agile C 43 encourages flat-out driving and that’s where you start to notice the gearbox.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
The C43 features AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension. Towards the front the coupe gets four-link front axle which gets all the components optimised in terms of rigidity, the rear profile gets multi-link rear axle. All these setup helps the cars overall agility and also improves the dynamics as well. The driver will also benefit from reduced body roll, higher lateral acceleration and better traction. The driver can further select the automatic adjustable damping system’s three suspension modes which includes “Comfort”, “Sport” and “Sport Plus” modes. The driver also further gets assists of the speed-sensitive sports steering.For stopping the Coupe relies on a internally ventilated compound brake discs, perforated towards the front which has a diameter of 360 mm, while the rear gets 320 mm discs.
BRAKING AND SAFETY ;
The braking system of C-Class AMG C43 4MATIC features adaptive brake system with anti-lock braking system and brake assist system with servo brake assistance for emergency braking. The safety features offered include front and side airbag for the driver and co-passenger with thorax protection, window airbags for the driver and front passenger, and curtain airbags for the rear seat occupants. The passenger seat occupant detection, Pre-Safe system with reversible belt tensioners, glove compartment with emergency lockable key and electronic immobilizer are featured for safe usage and prevention against theft attempts.
Middle ground is a space appreciated by a lot of folks. Not everyone wants extreme performance, but many aspire for more than the ordinary. The C 43 AMG straddles this space well, especially in an age where a C 63 AMG costs over Rs 1.7 crore on-road in Mumbai (Maharashtra takes about 25 per cent of your luxury car’s value, but we’re not quite sure where it’s being spent, but it certainly isn’t on the roads). Similarly, the C 43’s enticing ex-showroom price of Rs 73.6 lakh shoots to Rs 98 lakh on-road in Mumbai. Nevertheless, at this price, you get a sports sedan that is far more luxurious and refined than a CLA 45 AMG but also costs a lot less than a full-on super saloon. It’s not the ultimate driving machine, but on the right road it’s a proper laugh, and aside from the Audi S5 Sportback, there isn’t much else at this price point.