First UK drive of new AMG-tuned coupé
Its C 63 bigger brother comes with up to 503bhp, so does the new Mercedes-AMG C 43 have something to offer with ‘only’ 362bhp. We find out as we get behind the wheel of the new ‘AMG lite’ model in our first drive on British roads.
The C 43’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 is teamed with a conventional nine-speed automatic as opposed to the C 63’s seven-speed MCT box. Its standard-fit 4Matic all-wheel drive sends 69% of the torque rearwards, while further AMG tweaks over the standard model include C 63 steering knuckles. Additional negative camber front and rear gives the tyres more cornering bite, too, but the newcomer goes without the C 63’s flared wheelarches and wider track. So how does the C 43 measure up to its stablemate – which costs £15,500 more – on the road?
Mercedes-AMG C 43 4Matic Coupé
Engine: 3.0-litre six-cylinder, twin-turbo, petrol
Gearbox: Nine-speed automatic
Top speed: 155mph
Economy: 35.3mpg (combined)
CO2 emission: 183g/km
Engine and performance
With a 4.7sec 0-62mph sprint time, plenty of low-down guts and more than enough response through the gears, there’s nothing to sniff at in the performance department. Just don’t let the revvy engine and misleading 6500rpm redline fool you into catching the 6000rpm limiter, however.
The auto shifts are very smooth, while in manual model with the dynamics set to Sport +, the paddleshifters punch through the ratios. Downshifts are permitted only if the resultant gear doesn’t breach 4000rpm, however.
Sport + also weights up the steering, which remains progressive and informative, and changes the exhaust note. Even so, the engine doesn’t sound as characterful as that of the bigger-capacity C 63.
Ride and handling
Unusually, we’d suggest staying in the firmest suspension setting to really enjoy the A-road ride, as Comfort mode is simply too bouncy. The four-wheel drive doesn’t provide such playful dynamics as with the C 63, although the tremendous traction makes for great cornering in all conditions. Long-distance cruising is also best tackled in the better-controlled Sport + setting.
There’s plenty of kit inside, and the usual C-Class build and material quality pervades throughout – even if we’re not convinced Mercedes’ general interior quality is as good as it could be. Two adults can fit in the rear, and the load area is well sized.
The C 43 Coupé is a comfortable, all-weather, cross-country car that’s plenty quick enough. It isn’t such a riot to drive as the C63, of course, and it’s not quite as polished as a BMW 440i – but we climbed out with a big grin on our face.