Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?
This is how the Song ‘Mercedes-Benz’ by Janis Joplis begins. Can’t really argue with her choice – Mercedes-Benz represents status, luxury and panache. However, by acquiring an independent Mercedes-Benz tuning and race-engine making company called AMG back in the 90s, they started selling their luxury cars with optional explosives for those who cared.
The AMG line cars are akin to giving a handsome businessman a pair of training shoes and transforming his physical capabilities at an athlete training camp. What you get is a fine-looking, well-mannered gentleman would give professional athletes a run for their money. We got to drive Mercedes’ latest offering for India, the C43 AMG at the BIC. Here’s our assessment of the fortitude this transformed gentleman packs.
Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Design and Style
The C43 is closer to the C-class than the more powerful and more bonkers C63 AMG, but does have its own share of AMG upgrades. This one could still pass a proper sleeper machine for those who don’t have an eye for detail.
The radiator grille here gets studded with sparkling chrome gems unlike the all-black mesh treatment on the C63. A horizontal slat bisects the grille and holds the big three-pointed star in place. There’s only a single slat here unlike the C63 which has a pair of them. You get AMG body styling bits in places, and an AMG spoiler lip in vehicle color at the rear.
Up front, the air intakes and the bumper aren’t as monstrous as the C63, though they do get a satin aluminium finished lower lip. Quad chrome exhausts at the rear with a satin silver diffuser underneath and a black honeycomb mesh finish surround complete the rear look.
The rear misses the glamour of carbon fibre though, which embellishes the rump of the C63. You would miss the flared arches from the C63 too. The large 20 inch wheels from the C63 are replaced by smaller 18 inch units here, and while not as dramatic, these ones would help cope with the rough Indian roads better, thanks to their larger profile and hence better primary suspension.
To spot the C43 from a distance, though, nothing screams AMG louder than those 18 inch 5 Spoke light-alloy wheels. Looked at from a standalone perspective, they just add great visual appeal to the car’s side profile.
Get closer and you would see the 4MATIC Biturbo badging over the fenders (the C63 gets V8 Biturbo badging), subtly warning the drivers in the vicinity to back off if they have any optimistic competitive thoughts. The exterior has its elements to underline the car’s performance pedigree, yet they are subtle enough for those who want to arrive with an air of reassuring understatement.
Get inside, and the interiors do look strikingly similar to the standard C-class for obvious reasons, though there is ample distinction here to lift up the occupants’ experience. First thing you’d notice is the all black interior as against the standard C’s beige, with microfiber upholstery stitched with a contrasting, racy shade of red thread. Speedo gets a chequered flag treatment and is marked up to 280 kmph. We would’ve loved to see the logo on the flat bottom steering though. Overall the car looks scrumptious both from the inside and the outside.
Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Engine, Performance and Handling
This C43 AMG gets a V6 Bi-turbo 3.0 Litre engine which produces peak power output of 367 hp at 5,500 rpm and 520 Nm of torque coming in at about 2000-4200 rpm. With this power being delivered to all four wheels (it’s a 4Matic), more of it gets put to use, unlike its mischievous C63 AMG cousin which loves putting its rear rubber on fire. We drove the C63 AMG some time back around the inviting serpentine roads of Aamby Valley, and loved the beast for its savage rear wheeled monstrosity, which kept us on the edge, delighting us with its infectiously responsive and quick steering. The C43, thanks to the AWD system, is saner, and less of a rebel.
As I got into the car with my helmet strapped on, I was thinking – why am I wearing a helmet inside a luxury sedan? The interiors are very familiar and luxurious as ever to a Mercedes-Benz frequenter. The plan comprised driving the ‘Comfort’ mode first and later switching to Sports+ mode after getting accustomed to the car. The mode switching duties are carried out by a simple rocker switch to the left of the drive selector.
The ride by wire accelerator pedal was mashed hard as we left the pit lane and hit the track. Power delivery is smooth and instant with no noticeable turbo-lag. A delicious engine-exhaust track starts playing in the background as the tacho needle dances its way up. Now just because this one here is a smaller engine doesn’t mean it scores any less on the count of aural delights. The C43 has a throaty, masculine growl which is properly enticing and it delivers generously on the pops and crackles count too as you let the throttle off.
We put the 9G-Tronic gearbox to use in both manual (pedal shifts) and auto modes, and after a while, concluded that the new transmission does its job impressively well. Experienced hands would obviously be able to reap some benefits in the manual mode, especially on the track, though the auto mode wouldn’t leave you with anything to complain about on the street. Gear shifts are precise, responsive to throttle inputs and appreciably quick.
The C43 would hit the ton in 4.7 seconds flat, and would go all the way up to its electronically limited 250 km/h speed in a jiffy. As I took the first few corners and ventured on the delicious BIC back-straight, I slammed the accelerator to witness a top speed of 220 kmph on the speedo when I slammed the brakes to take the dipping right hander. The brakes did a splendid job of reining in the blistering speed with no traces of nervousness exhibited by the car.
Even during the relatively slow corners and chicanes the bursts of acceleration were addictively yummy, shoving us into the backrests and pushing us sideways as I powered on through the exits. There’s oodles of grip to be witnessed, thanks to the 4MATIC AWD system and those wide tyres, which means the C43 produces lateral Gs around a track in a heady fashion, and the well bolstered bucket seats offer ample support to handle all of that.
The 4MATIC system on the C43 is rear-biased and can split the drive to upto 69:31 ratio rear to front. In effect, this makes the C43 a much less trickier and more subservient car to drive than the C63. Along with the AWD format, the relatively lesser power makes it less tail happy and more composed. As we slammed through the corners, there was some body-roll to be experienced in Comfort mode. While it felt a bit pronounced under the extremities of the racetrack, we’re sure it will offer its benefits on the street for the times your wife holds your sleeping baby in her arms.
The later part of the drive saw us shifting into the more aggressive Sports + mode. In a blink, the softness of the Comfort mode was ironed out, and got replaced with a gnawing track oriented character. The power delivery, which was hitherto closer to creamy, turned aggressive, and so did the shift character of the transmission. The steering got some lead infused in it, even as the body roll reduced to almost negligible levels. The sharp steering, along with the fantastic brakes made driving this four door sports saloon on the track an experience that would be remembered for times to come.
Summing it up
The C43 AMG may not be as fast, and with its ease to drive may not tug at the excitement seeker’s heart as hard as its thrill laden C63 AMG counterpart. But guess what, even with two cylinders less and a little more than half the price, this one here is blisteringly, blazingly fast, covers the same amount of real estate, looks graciously stunning and has some real thrills of its own to deliver.
The C43 AMG is a proper Mercedes-AMG Saloon for the power suit clad petrolhead banker whose wife wouldn’t settle for the burly Mustang or any other sports car for that matter. An angel by the day and a compliant monster by the night, the C43 is a genie which would grant all your wishes.
Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Price : INR 74.35 lakh ex-showroom Delhi
Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG PriceTechnical Specifications
|Mercedes-AMG C 43|
|No. of cylinders/arrangement||V6|
|Total displacement in cc||2996|
|Rated output in kW (hp) at rpm||270 (367) @ 5500–6000|
|Rated torque in Nm at rpm||520 @ 2000–4200|
|Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in s||4.7|
|Top speed, approx. in km/h||250|
|Tank capacity, of which reserve, approx. in l||66/7|
|Turning circle diameter in m||11.70|
|Kerb weight in kg||1690|
|Perm. GVW in kg||2225|
|Wheelbase in mm||2840|
|Length x Width x Height (mm)||4702 x 1810 x 1434|
|Perm. GVW in kg||2225|
|Price||INR 74.35 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi)|