By Amanda Mfuphi
Innovative car manufacturers are renowned for always having their ear on the ground and being responsive to their customer needs. I feel Mercedes Benz was responding to a customer need of its customers when it decided to introduce the C43 AMG back in 2016 to fill the gap between the C300 and C63 AMG. The C43 AMG certainly plays its part in satisfying the needs of those customers who may have been part of the missing middle that essentially wanted a balance between the C300 and the C63 AMG at an affordable premium. We feel that the C43 AMG is the perfect “middle way” and recently we got to drive the updated C43 AMG 4MATIC Sedan.
The C43 AMG Sedan is a beautiful sexy car, which is wider and lower than the normal C-Class. The front part of the C43 AMG is quite striking and inviting to the eye. The C43 AMG has a big diamond front grille which feeds air into the engine with a subtle AMG badge that does the job of letting an onlooker know you are in an AMG. Another striking feature of the grille we enjoyed is the black Mercedes Benz badge which appears larger than life on the grille and commands attention. Our C43 AMG Sedan came in white with black side mirrors and a panoramic roof. Like the rest of the range, the C43 AMG enjoys updated LED lights at the back and upfront.
The standard wheels of the C43 AMG come in 18 inch wheels but there is an option to upgrade to the bigger 19 inch wheels. Our C43 AMG came with the 18 inch wheels and those somewhat took away from the muscular look of the C43 AMG – 19 inch wheels are preferable (just for aesthetic looks if not for performance). The C43 AMG has Multibeam LED daytime running headlamps. Interestingly, the C43 AMG has four-pipe oval exhaust pipes which gives it its unique character from the normal square-like exhaust pipes in other Mercedes Benz models.
The striking feature of the interior was the combination of the red and black inside the C43 AMG. This combination revealed itself through the black leather and suede seats with red stitching and red seatbelts as well as the black flat bottom steering wheel with red stitching. The door sills of the C43 AMG are illuminated and the dashboard has a combination of leather and dark oak work finishes.
On the technology front, the C43 AMG is quite impressive on the technology front with an emphasis on safety features such as adaptive cruise control, a speed limiter, blind spot monitor, lane keep assistance, active drive assistance with automatic speed regulation with proximity control for a vehicle in front of the car, real time traffic Information and navigation. Other interior features of the C43 AMG are the cabin-air purification system which keeps the vehicle smelling fresh, a fully digital 12.3 inch instrument cluster, an infotainment system with a new 10.25 inch screen, wireless charging, Apple CarPlay and a crisp Burmester sound system. The latter, although powerful, being almost cancelled by the sweet C43 AMG exhaust system.
The cabin of the C43 AMG is spacious and can comfortably sit 3 adults at the back with ease. Even though the vehicle is loud and grunts outside, the cabin is reasonably insulated from the noise and it is quiet.
Engine, power and drive
The C43 AMG is a performance vehicle and is powered by a meaty V6 Biturbo 3.0 litre engine with 287 kW of power and 520 Nm of torque. The C43 AMG has a 9-speed automatic transmission. The C43 4MATIC Sedan accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, with top speed electronically limited to 250 km/h.
We enjoyed driving the C43 AMG, it is inviting, engaging and gives a thrilling driving experience but also executes daily driving well comfortably. In this regard, the choice of driving mode provides an excellent everyday drive but still gives the driver the power of an AMG at a flick of a button. As such in that sense, it provides a good balance between practical, comfortable driving and performance. Some may undermine the V6 engine of the C43 AMG as slow when compared to the monster V8 engine of the C63s, however, the C43 AMG comes alive when it is placed on Sports+ mode, the suspension tightens and the vehicle roars and turns heads. In true AMG form, you do not struggle for power in the C43 AMG and the power is at your command whenever needed.
We did, however, find that there to be a split-second of sluggishness at launch when compared to other AMG engine variants such as the GLC 63s we had earlier on review a few months ago. Despite this, we found the C43 AMG to be a quite a powerful beast on the road and we particularly remember disciplining a Golf 7 R driver that mistook the C43 for a lower C-Class. We pushed the C43 AMG (within the limits of the traffic laws) to test its power and found that the four-wheel drive gives the C43 AMG enough grip on the road when the car is on high speed and you feel in control of the vehicle. The C43 AMG feels light and it has the ability to seamlessly change lanes and slice its way through murky situations we encounter in our roads on a daily. We also found the brakes of the C43 AMG to be quite effective and responsive when required to come to the party in unexpected tricky situations.
The C43 AMG certainly fills a vital gap between the C300 and C63, especially for those consumers who might find the C63 AMG on the pricier side.
The C43 AMG Sedan 4MATIC is priced from R960,264.
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