We’ve not seen the name ‘C43’ on the back of a C-class for a while now – since the first-generation C-class, in fact. Back then, the C43 replaced the old C36 AMG, trading six cylinders and a supercharger for eight naturally-aspirated chambers.
The latest addition to the C-class family, the Mercedes-AMG C 43 4Matic does the opposite, its 3-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 giving potential AMG buyers a more affordable alternative to the existing V8-powered C63 model.
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That’s not to say the C43 is some kind of under-nourished poor relation to its V8 brother: AMG has tweaked the ECU, increased turbocharger boost pressure and raised the rev limiter to liberate 362bhp from the Mercedes V6, equivalent to the output in larger, heavier models like the GLE 450 AMG.
Between 2000-4200rpm there’s 384lb ft of torque on offer, directed through Mercedes’ new nine-speed, 9G-Tronic automatic transmission. Sport and Sport Plus modes give drivers faster shifting options, and even Eco and Comfort shifts are quicker than they are in cooking models.
The result is a 0-62mph time of 4.7sec – seven tenths behind the V8 – and an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph. With combined economy of up to 36.2mpg, it’s also slightly more frugal than the V8’s quoted 32.8mpg.
As the 4Matic name suggests, all-wheel drive is standard, with a rear-biased setup that sees 69 per cent of the engine’s torque sent to the back wheels in typical driving.
AMG Ride Control sport suspension handles movements of the four-link front and multi-link rear axles. Here, as with the transmission, various modes are available to make the most of the variable setup – Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus settings are activated on a button press.
If you’ve not yet finished prodding around the cabin, you’ll also find Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual modes to the AMG Dynamic Select system, which changes the behaviour of the engine, transmission, suspension and steering.
Exterior styling isn’t quite as aggressive as its V8 sibling, but has enough aesthetic cues to separate it from lesser models. Large intakes define the front bumper, and the grille features distinctive chrome-plated ‘pins’.
Mirror housings, waistline trim and window frames are black, while Biturbo, 4Matic, AMG and C43 badging reaffirms the model’s origins. A set of 18-inch alloy wheels (also painted black) is standard; 19-inch items are optional.
Inside you get sports seats covered in Artico artificial leather and microfibre cloth, materials that also cover much of the dashboard, door panels and centre console. It’s set off by red stitching, an AMG instrument cluster and multifunction steering wheel.
The C43 Coupe is to be the first in a series of ‘43’ models that support their brisker ‘63’ brethren in the AMG lineup. No pricing details have yet been announced – expect those to follow closer to the car’s launch.