Australians are the biggest buyers of Mercedes-AMG cars in the world as a percentage of all Mercedes-Benz sales. Sales are going to rise even more with the introduction of an entry-level model to the C-Class AMG variants.
While most people may not see $100,000 as being ‘entry-level’ the latest AMG C 43 kicks in at only a few dollars more than that, with the C 43 which has been our most enjoyable ride this week. The range starts with the sedan at $101,900, with our road test coupe having a tag of just $105,615. On-road charges have to be added.
All new AMG C 43 models have a Night Package, AMG Ride-Control sports suspension, an LED Intelligent Light System and a panoramic glass sliding sunroof. The coupe has heated front seats as standard, the sedan and wagon miss out on this feature.
A major redesign of the front sees a 60 mm longer aluminium bonnet with twin power domes. The front section has large air inlets and precisely designed aero flics. A splitter at the bottom of the front helps reduce front-axle lift. Overall, the visual impression from outside the car is of power and performance, something that soon becomes apparent from behind the wheel.
The hot coupe has a wider track than the standard model, by 64 millimetres at the front and 66 at the rear, these changes have been made by the fitment of larger wheel arches outside the 19-inch AMG alloy wheels.
The C 43 range is powered by an AMG-specific engine, a 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo unit that can be identified by the red aluminium insert in the engine cover. Power peaks at 270 kW, torque is a very handy 520 Nm
Technical differences over the 3.0-litre in the standard Mercedes-Benz range include modified boost pressure that permits increased engine power and torque without any loss in flexibility. Nanoslide coating of the cylinder liners, as used in Mercedes F1 engines, reduces friction without compromising longevity.
The nine-speed automatic transmission has been modified by AMG engineers with model-specific software. Reduction in shift times was a key priority. Multiple downshifts allow fast short bursts of power. The double-declutching function in the “Sport” and “Sport Plus” transmission modes adds even more to the driving experience.
A quality Burmester surround sound system provides excellent sound quality. Mercedes’ Comand online navigation and Infotainment units are easy to use and provide a minimum of inattention if the driver operates them at the correct circumstance.
All AMG C 43s have nine airbags, including one for the driver’s knees. Crash avoidance features are many and varied, including Collision Prevention Assist Plus with semi-autonomous braking; Active Lane Keeping; Blindspot Assist; and attention assist, an Active Bonnet to reduce injuries to pedestrians, a 360-degree camera and tyre pressure monitoring.
Keep in mind that any Mercedes-AMG has so much grip that if you seriously misjudge a corner and the electronic aids can’t save the situation you’re going to be travelling extremely fast when you hit that big tree. Airbags can only do so much…
The sound inside the AMG C 43 coupe is excellent when you really get stuck into it. Unlike its big brother the 4.0-litre V8 which has the aural effect not unlike the 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8, the twin-turbo V6 has a more modern sound. The 3.0-litre V6 reminds us more of an ultra-high-tech 1.6-litre V6 F1 machine than an olde-style big-bore V8. Not certain which sound we prefer – though my old ears do tend to lean in the direction of the V8…
There’s mild turbo lag in the C 43 unit but once that’s gone there’s seemingly endless torque as the coupe leaps forward. Overtaking is done with a minimum of time on the wrong side of the road. And I do admit to taking part in a couple of red light Grands Prix just for the fun of it.
Fuel consumption is low on motorways, sitting around six to seven litres per hundred kilometres. That illustrates the efficiency of the new-design high-performance engine, as well the tall gearing of the nine-speed auto. Around town and when pushed in a sporting way in country conditions consumption did go into the low teens, but that’s hardly unexpected.
Steering is neat and precise and the car feels lighter in the front than the V8 models. Feedback through the wheel and the seat of the pants is very good. Handling is neutral and precise unless you really push the coupe to the limit, even then it’s easy to sort out minor problems, and there are electronic aids that do their best to save you from yourself.
A race track really is the only place to properly appreciate any Mercedes-AMG model. As well as giving you a chance to further improve your driving, track days also let you enjoy the company of other like-minded enthusiasts.
To get the very best from your AMG, even if you’ve no plans to go onto a racetrack, we suggest taking a “Mercedes-Benz Driving Events” programs. Click on experience.mercedes-benz.com.au for details. There are even courses for young drivers, including those still on P-plates. Great gift, Dad?
Ride comfort is generally good, but some rough Aussie backroads did challenge the sports suspension from time to time. There’s a fair bit of noise on coarse-chip surfaces, and some unpleasant humming on the concrete surfaces that are notorious surfaces of the M1 between the Gold Coast and Brisbane.
The Mercedes-AMG C 43 coupe give you stunning performance and high quality cruising, yet comes at a pretty modest price for what it is.
AT A GLANCE
Mercedes-AMG C 43 Sedan: $101,900
Mercedes-AMG C 43 Coupe: $104,400
Mercedes-AMG C 43 Estate: $104,400
Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet: $119,900
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mercedes-AMG dealer for driveaway prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Mercedes-AMG C 43 3.0-litre two-door coupe)
Capacity: 2.996 litres
Maximum Power: 270 kW @ 5500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 520 Nm @ 2000 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 98ROM
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.2 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 188 g/km
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4696 mm
Wheelbase: 2840 mm
Width: 1810 mm
Height: 1405 mm
Turning Circle: 11.7 metres
Kerb Mass: 1791 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 66 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Three years / unlimited km