The AMG C43 was always known to have that sweet spot between thrill and practicality and we're here to put it to the test.
The 2023 Mercedes-AMG C43 marks a departure from its predecessor, bidding farewell to the V6 engine in favour of a turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant inspired by Formula 1 technology. Positioned as the flagship model in the C-Class lineup in India, the AMG C 43 always maintained a balanced marriage between thrill and practicality, but its price tag of over a crore in the market, makes it the most expensive offering, even more than its closest German rival. Despite this, the AMG C 43 is the most powerful C-Class that you can buy in the current market, and in an ideal world, is meant to be more than just your daily driver.
Beneath the 2023 Mercedes-AMG C43's hood resides a distinctive 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, a departure from the previous 3.0-litre twin-turbo setup. What sets this powerplant apart is not only the shift in displacement and configuration but also the meticulous craftsmanship at the Affalterbach manufacturing plant in Germany, injecting a touch of heritage and authenticity into the C43.
402 bhp @6750 rpm
500 Nm @ 5000 rpm
With a robust 402 bhp and 500 Nm of torque at 5,000 rpm, the engine introduces a "boosty" feel, in contrast to the prevalent trend of turbos peaking at lower rpms. The C43 achieves its peak power at 6,750 rpm, showcasing a penchant for exhilaration at the top of the rev range. However, it falls slightly short of the C63 S E Performance in acceleration, with a subtle dip (4.6 seconds) compared to its predecessor's impressive 4.2 seconds for the 0-100 kmph sprint. Despite this, the new drivetrain brings commendable attributes to the table.
The optional AMG Real Performance Sound exhaust introduces a new auditory dimension to the C43, from a growl upon ignition to a wild symphony when the pedal is floored. It caters to AMG sound aficionados with an honest roar that complements the car's dynamic persona.
The C43's steering impresses with its well-weighted and remarkably precise feel. Enhanced by four-wheel steering, the sport sedan exhibits confident and poised handling, delivering an agile experience that rewards driving enthusiasts. The clever permanent all-wheel-drive system allocates torque with 31 per cent to the front wheels and 69 per cent to the rear, contributing to a neutral stance on the corner exit.
The braking system proves excellent and remarkably communicative, showing no signs of fade during testing and establishing repeatability as one of the car's standout attributes.
While the 9-speed automatic transmission with a wet start-off clutch provides crisp shifts during aggressive acceleration, it does reveal a downside during more subdued throttle applications, particularly in traffic. The shifts can translate into noticeable jerkiness, highlighting an area for improvement to enhance the C43's daily usability.
Moving into the cabin, the dash of the 2023 Mercedes-AMG C43 boasts beautiful displays, but the overall interior doesn't entirely align with the upscale expectations associated with the brand. Despite stylish metallic fibre-weave trim on the dashboard, there's a notable presence of plastic, with the material enclosing the transmission tunnel standing out as subpar. The centre console's cheaper-feeling plastic imitation is another detail that doesn't quite meet the brand's usual standards.
But it takes all the appreciation for its light game, especially the ambient lighting and I feel that no one does it better than Mercedes-Benz.
Even on the outside, the AMG C 43 doesn’t disappoint. The AMG-specific styling cues make it extra special. The silhouette turns heads wherever it goes especially in this Selenite grey hue looks extra special.
Overall, the exterior doesn't scream a sports sedan, though its look gives away a lot more than what it truly means to display. Like any other Mercedes, the AMG C 43 very subtlely and elegantly puts its point through, unlike the BMW M340i which doesn't believe in hiding its true colours.
Despite its hefty price tag of Rs. 98 lakh (ex-showroom, India), the 2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 delivers a driving experience that sets it apart. Its closest rival, the BMW M340i is priced at Rs. 71.50 lakh (ex-showroom, India) and that's some margin between the two apart from the fact that BMW employs a much more potent powertrain under the hood. Despite all this, the ride dynamics and overall potency from its smaller yet powerful F1-derived engine ensure that it outweighs the minor grievances, resulting in a long-term grin on the face. In the realm of midlevel sport sedans, the AMG C 43 distinguishes itself as one of the most engaging options, if not the most engaging experience, providing enthusiasts with a compelling blend of performance and practicality.
Photography By: Apoorv Choudhary
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