For aficionados, there are few things in the automotive world that resonant as much as the initials ‘AMG’. For nearly half a century, the high-performance division of Mercedes-Benz has thrilled with its models, taking what, in hindsight, feel like mundane cars and transforming them up into extraordinary drives. With an AMG, you’ll know you can look forward to sportier looks, heightened performance, and better handling and stability than its regular Mercedes-Benz counterpart.
The Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC, for example, takes what is Mercedes-Benz’s most popular model and elevates it to another level altogether. While the DNA of the C-Class remains undeniable, the C 43 is an entirely different beast and quite unapologetic about it. The exterior, featuring a new AMG radiator grille with twin louvers in matt iridium silver, powerfully sculpted front apron, aerodynamically optimised AMG lightalloy wheels and two round twin tailpipes in high-gloss chrome, is an undoubted show of intent.
The sporty impression is reinforced inside the cockpit with details like the AMG Performance seats, which provide optimum lateral support when adopting a dynamic driving style, the use of ARTICO man-made leather and DINAMICA microfiber in black, and red topstitching that accentuated the upholstery, door centre panels and the dashboard. Just as eye-catching are the aluminium sports pedals with black studs, black roof liner and red seat belts.
The C 43 also features the new generation of AMG steering wheels – wrapped in nappa leather, it is sporty and easy on the hands, with a flattened bottom section and perforation in the grip area. Also new are the Touch Control buttons on the steering wheel, which control the functions of the instrument cluster and the multimedia system by horizontal and vertical swiping movements of the finger.
The back is spacious and looks comfortable enough but, to be honest, I didn’t try it for myself as all the fun in the C 43 is in the driving. Under its sweeping bonnet is a 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine, which delivers 287kW (390hp, an increase of 23hp from the previous itineration) and a peak torque of 520Nm, thanks to the two turbochargers.
What this translates to on the road is a mere 4.7 seconds to hit 100km/h from a standstill before reaching a top speed of 250km/h. The AMG Speedshift 9G TCT Sports Transmission makes gear transitions remarkably smooth, thanks to the shorter shift times, ensuring that, regardless of which mode you’re in – there are options of Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Slippery and Individual, not to mention manual mode with the shift paddles – it’s always effortlessly comfortable.
You will also enjoy a particular agility in the C 43’s performance with the rear-biased AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive, which enhances driving dynamics and lateral acceleration, as well as improving traction when accelerating. All that speeding is cushioned by the AMG Ride Control suspension, adjusting the dampening of each individual wheel to the immediate requirements, enhancing drive safety and ride comfort.
There is also an exhaustive list of safety and driver assistance features that comes with the C 43, some of which that make you wonder how you managed without them before. The new Active Lane Keeping Assist, for instance, warns the drive if the vehicle is drifting out of its lane, even pulling the vehicle back if it passes over a continuous line. Another, the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, will nag at you until you adjust whichever wayward wheel that is annoying it. My favourite, however, kicked in when the fuel indicator announced it needed replenishing – it then helpfully offered to find me the nearest petrol station.
All in, the Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC is a magnificent car, a limitless package of dynamic AMG driving and true Mercedes-Benz luxurious comfort. Its only flaw is that, with so much packed into it – from the effortless power on tap, to the cocooning AMG Performance seats, to the robust Burmester Sound System – anything less would be a complete disappointment.