The rule that says that “less is more” is hard to apply to AMGs. From the early beginnings of the Company, it was all about making Mercedes’cars go faster and to be the fastest Autobahn-smokers on the face of the Earth.
Traditionally, words like downsizing don’t apply to AMG: turbocharging rules now, but think about the mind-blowing GT and every argument you heard about “fuel economy” is shattered by the thunderous growl of this angry beast.
By default, cars like the C43 shouldn’t wear the AMG badge: a twin turbo V6 in a big, bad Merc? I wouldn’t be surprised that there would be many around who will criticize it. But is it a weak AMG in reality? Well, it sure lacks the stance of the almost-legendary C63: for unwary bystanders it may look like a regular C Class Cupè with the AMG body kit installed. No offence, as it looks rather nice, but it may not convey that sense of occasion that usually surrounds every AMG. However, if the looks may seem a bit “watered-down”, underneath its skin the C43 is a properly sorted Mercedes. It has the same suspension geometry of the 63 and it is equipped with the excellent 4MATIC all wheel drive transmission. It is powered by a 362 hp 3.0 liter twin turbo V6, which produces a whopping 520 Nm of torque. It may look disappointing on paper, but it is an excellent powertrain which will deliver great overall performance, especially due to its fantastic mid-range.
The opportunity to test the rather sublime ’43 came alongside during our epic 3 day road trip to the Geneva International Auto Show through Switzerland with our friends of The Outlierman brand.
Despite not being built at Affalterbach like all AMG’s the C43 is everything an enthusiast wants a Mercedes to be. It’s very refinement and this quality shines through the perfectly sorted active suspension system: there’s a real and significant change between each set up, which is not always as clear in other competitor’s offerings. The ’43 in comfort mode is very soft: it works beautifully on smooth surfaces and on highways, but the occupants will suffer from increased pitch and roll should the car drive on rough surfaces. Ideally, the ’43 works incredibly well in both the medium and hard settings on average road conditions. It is very refined for being a sports coupé and it easily trades off some of that AMG drama for some daily refinement and smoothness.
The car behaves impeccably under every conditions: throttle response is accurate and precise and the steering is very direct. The 4MATIC all wheel drive transmission is a jewel: on snowy conditions like those encountered around Gstaad, it works magnificently and on clean tarmac offers all the traction typical of four wheel drive transmissions. The e-diff locks the rear wheels depending on the conditions, giving the car both the advantages of the safety and road-stability-efficiency of an open diff and the traction and aggression of locked rear wheels.
The weak spot of the ’43 it’s its pricing: the base price doesn’t include leather upholstery and electric seats, nor other essential options that should be standard in a mid-to-high sized luxury cupé. If ordered with all the must-have gadgetry, its price will soon pass the 70k mark, making its bigger sister, the almighty C63, a much more tempting buy.
As it sits, the C43 is a great car, offering a very rare balanced mix between everyday discreetness and week-end aggression. its performance will always come in handy but it will never feel overwhelming: in some ways it is an AMG in a working suit. It’s true that less is more, but always mind the price you pay for it!