The Mercedes-AMG C 43 like the GLA 45 we last reviewed may have the same AMG badge and performance numbers that are close, but how each car behaves and who they’re meant for makes it all the more interesting. Is the C 43 for you? This is what we aim to answer.
The current generation C-Class is quite the headliner. When Mercedes unveiled it in 2014, it became the premium compact sedan unmatched on a visual level (much like how the brand has done it again recently for the new A-Class interior). The C-Class represented a bold departure from its predecessor – distinctly sculpted exterior with a cabin that quite literally puts the ‘class’ into ‘C-Class’.
The C 43 represents the highest of the available four-door C-Class’ available locally with performance numbers to match. Underneath the hood lies a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that now outputs 385 hp and 520 Nm of torque from 2,500 to 5,000 rpm, and is mated to a 9-speed AMG Speedshift transmission. Power goes to the 4Matic all-wheel drive system with a 31:69 torque bias to the rear until it’s needed at the front.
The new C 43 is better than ever. This is evident in the interior updates that has surprisingly made the experience more fluid and deserving of a sedan of this nature. This revision has brought the new steering wheel with touch controls, full-digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster and also a larger 10.25-inch central infotainment unit to the cabin that is widely praised for its comfort, lines and looks.
The central infotainment unit is a widescreen display and now runs on the newer Comand Online system which is easier to use than on the pre-facelift C-Class. Menu selection is now more linear from the home screen which is certainly a boost in the UI department.
But the icing on the cake has to be the digital instrument cluster that has not only display themes of Classic, Sport and Supersport, but the options to customize the data from either the central portion and tachometer (Classic and Sport), or at either side (Supersport).
As with AMGs, the person behind the wheel is the most important factor that defines the badge, and the C 43 doesn’t disappoint. What we liked here is the fact that the C 43 is as much a daily driver like its non-AMG siblings are. The differences in what the AMG does is essentially in the sharpening of the steering, immediacy of the engine response, and everything mechanically that is there to pay homage to the Aufrecht and Melcher duo. So whether it is cruising home on Comfort mode or setting it to Sport + when the curvy B-roads come up, the C 43 has that personality to keep you happy at all times.
Using it as a daily driver for a week proved to be highly satisfying. The included Blind spot information system, Lane departure warning and assist, as well as the 360-camera view with Active Park Assist made it easier to move around traffic, but that isn’t the main part of why anyone gets an AMG. On Comfort mode, the C 43 is easily the best mode for the everyday in terms of how the power is delivered, but when put on Sport or Sport +, it opens the power more forcefully. When paired with these modes and in manual, downshifts can be felt a little more perceptively with some jerks when decelerating, or accelerating to the limit and lifting off before engaging the following speed. Other than that, there’s more than enough power to put down when the driver wants to.
Did we like the C 43? Yes, definitely. Having tested the GLA 45 before this, the C 43 is more comfortable, less aggressive and is the everyday sedan. The only thing that we’re disappointed with, is that the V6 in the C 43 will most likely be the last vee-arrangement of its kind in the C, as the brand is looking to replace it with an in-line unit in the future. With that in mind and the fact that Mercedes already has a newer 43 in the form of the AMG GT 43 4-door Coupé, numbers are looking to change when it comes to the next AMG C-Class. One thing’s for sure, with the introduction of the AMG 35 now as the baby AMG, the next AMG flavoured C-Class will definitely have more power and dressings on the side.
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