Mercedes-Benz India has added one new model to their lineup today and it’s none other than the C43 AMG Coupe. This is their 13th product which is launched in the year 2016 and this new car will be positioned below the existing AMG C63 AMG sedan.The car was first showcased at the 2016 Geneva Motor show for the first time and now it is already launched in the Indian market. This new model joined the C-Class family this year and is a part of plan of the auto manufacturer to extend their product portfolio. Although this may not be as powerful as the C63 variant but the C43 AMG carried forward all the AMG genes as well as some GT characteristics as well.The Affalterbach-based development teams had decided to fit the 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo engine which is paired to the new 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission which promises smooth shifts. The coupe with its powerful drivetrain, 4MATIC all-wheel drive system and new and improved chassis technology surely promises to provide high agility and exhilarating dynamics.
DESIGN AND STYLE ;
This is most certainly not a car to buy if you’re interested in being seen. We’ve called the C 63 design subtle and the C 43 is even more so. The face is straight off the standard C-Class, and only the real enthusiasts amongst you will notice that the air dams in the bumper are more flared – not as much as the 63, but more so than the standard car. The bigger giveaway is the small AMG badge nestling in the diamond-style grille that’s also on the CLA but different from the twin-slat design on the C 63 S. What you won’t see upfront are the trademark flared fenders or AMG-style gills. At the side, you’ll notice the sporty 18-inch wheels embracing big and purposeful brakes, but the eye also catches the small ‘biturbo’ badging on the fender, hinting at the firepower under the hood. The rear is finished with small boot-lip spoiler and the signature AMG quad muffler tips. And of course, there’s the AMG badge on the bootlid.
CABIN AND COMFORT ;
Sure, the interiors of the C43 AMG may look similar in design to the regular C-Class, but there are a few additions that induct a sense of sportiness to the equation. An open pore black ashwood trim (dark matt wood) can be seen tastefully adorning the centre console, and there’s lots of soft touch points complemented by premium materials that are highlighted by red stitching. Furthermore, we were especially delighted with the red seatbelts.If we really had to find fault, it would be with the absence of touch capabilities on the infotainment screen which also happens to be slightly slow to respond to commands. Plus, the placement of the buttons to the left of the Dynamic Select are inappropriate as it requires you to lean across to read some of them. This brings us to the front sport seats which are finished in leather with red stitching and offer superb texture and contours that hold you snug while driving spiritedly. They also look premium and feel extremely comfortable. With almost every sort of electric adjustment on tap, these front seats offer tremendous support with lots of legroom and headroom.
As the rear bench is well contoured with lots of cushioning, it is comfortable for two occupants at best since the tall transmission tunnel will make it uncomfortable for a third passenger. Also, though legroom is adequate, the seat squab is very short and there’s hardly any thigh support. Head room is in short supply too and tall passengers may brush their head against the roof. Nevertheless, what aids rear seat comfort is a dedicated knob for the air-conditioner. In reality, using the boot needs one to stuff their baggage around the space saver spare wheel that actively eats into the available luggage space.Some exclusive AMG features are an instrument cluster in 2-tube look with chequered-flag-look dials, brushed stainless steel sports pedals with rubber inserts, and a panoramic sliding sunroof. There’s also the AMG door sill panels with “AMG” lettering, illuminated AMG styled DIRECT SELECT selector lever, sports seats and the 2-zone automatic climate control. Other AMG specific additions include the speed-sensitive sports steering with 2 levels of power assistance (Comfort and Sport), AMG sports exhaust system, AMG sports braking system, AMG ride control suspension with 3-level adaptive damping adjustment.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;
The big change for 2017 is aft of the engine compartment, where AMG has replaced the previous seven-speed automatic transmission with its new nine-speed 9G-TRONIC unit. The goal of the swap is to improve fuel economy as well as performance, and the C43 delivers on both counts. Despite weighing an additional 66 pounds, our C43 test car shot past the C450 to 60 mph (4.1 seconds versus 4.5) on its way to a 12.7-second quarter-mile blast at 110 mph—eclipsing all of its rivals and much closer to the times of the 503-hp C63 S than the 241-hp C300. The additional gear ratios combined with snappy downshifts also improve rolling acceleration from 5 to 60, 30 to 50, and 50 to 70 mph. Driving less aggressively, we observed 21 mpg overall with the C43 versus 18 in the C450, with the new car’s 29-mpg average on our 200-mile highway test loop bettering its EPA estimate by 1 mpg.
The C43’s standard 4MATIC all-wheel drive produces far less drama in corners than the rear-drive C63. The system has been tweaked with a greater rear torque bias (31/69 percent versus the previous 33/67), adding to the car’s agile feel when pushed. Stable understeer at the limit, however, remains part of the experience, which limits the C43’s maximum lateral grip to a still respectable 0.92 g. Both our C450 and C43 test cars had the same brakes (14.2-inch rotors in front, 12.6-inchers in back) and were upgraded from their standard 18-inch wheels to 19s with staggered, high-performance run-flat summer tires, sized 225/40R-19 in front and 255/35R-19 at the rear. Which makes the switch from the C450’s Pirelli P Zeros to the C43’s Continental ContiSportContact 5 rubber largely responsible for the latter’s lengthier stop from 70 mph (171 feet to the C450’s 160).
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
Behind the wheel, I found the AMG C43 to feel relatively similar to the C300. In comfort mode, the ride quality and steering feel was parallel to the C300 but put it into Sport+ and having the feel of a different car. The sharper and more precise handling paired with the more weighted steering made the city drive more interesting yet the car still feels less engaging than some of its competitors like the BMW 340i. The 4Matic all-wheel drive system provided plenty of extra traction to keep the car planted despite the wet road conditions. Although the ride quality was more firm in the Sport+ setting, it still absorbed all the imperfections in the road better than most cars in this class. The C43 feels properly quick off the line as well, with little turbo lag and a great soundtrack from the exhaust. Mercedes says it will do 0-60 in about 4.6 seconds, which is about average for the class. Sitting in the cockpit, I found myself at home in the C43’s comfortable seats and spacious driving position. The simple layout of the controls made them and the infotainment system easy to use although I found the infotainment screen a bit small
BRAKING AND SAFETY ;
The braking system of C-Class AMG C43 4MATIC features adaptive brake system with anti-lock braking system and brake assist system with servo brake assistance for emergency braking. The safety features offered include front and side airbag for the driver and co-passenger with thorax protection, window airbags for the driver and front passenger, and curtain airbags for the rear seat occupants. The passenger seat occupant detection, Pre-Safe system with reversible belt tensioners, glove compartment with emergency lockable key and electronic immobilizer are featured for safe usage and prevention against theft attempts.
Middle ground is a space appreciated by a lot of folks. Not everyone wants extreme performance, but many aspire for more than the ordinary. The C 43 AMG straddles this space well, especially in an age where a C 63 AMG costs over Rs 1.7 crore on-road in Mumbai (Maharashtra takes about 25 per cent of your luxury car’s value, but we’re not quite sure where it’s being spent, but it certainly isn’t on the roads). Similarly, the C 43’s enticing ex-showroom price of Rs 73.6 lakh shoots to Rs 98 lakh on-road in Mumbai. Nevertheless, at this price, you get a sports sedan that is far more luxurious and refined than a CLA 45 AMG but also costs a lot less than a full-on super saloon. It’s not the ultimate driving machine, but on the right road it’s a proper laugh, and aside from the Audi S5 Sportback, there isn’t much else at this price point.