Purists could knock Mercedes-AMG’s entry-level—and mushrooming—vary of “43” fashions for watering down the model, as they lack the hand-built engines and mad energy output of AMGs with numerically larger badges. But even Affalterbach’s modest fettling has produced some spectacular autos, such because the Porsche Macan–baiting GLC43 crossover and the comparison-test-winning E43 sedan. With a lot of the latter’s on-road goodness stuffed into the tidier and extra reasonably priced C-class, the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 4MATIC sedan additionally earns a spot on that record.
The sports activities sedan previously often called the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG, the 2017 C43 occupies the chasm between the four-cylinder Mercedes-Benz C300 and AMG’s wild, V-Eight–powered C63. Though this center youngster’s twin-turbocharged three.Zero-liter V-6 is mass produced in a manufacturing unit, it’s loads stout—and surprisingly soulful in tone for a bent-six on a gentle food regimen of increase. Output right here is similar because it was within the C450, at 362 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque, the latter approaching fast and robust and achieved at simply 2000 revs.
The large change for 2017 is aft of the engine compartment, the place AMG has changed the earlier seven-speed computerized transmission with its new nine-speed 9G-TRONIC unit. The aim of the swap is to enhance gasoline economic system in addition to efficiency, and the C43 delivers on each counts. Regardless of weighing an extra 66 kilos, our C43 take a look at automobile shot previous the C450 to 60 mph (Four.1 seconds versus Four.5) on its option to a 12.7-second quarter-mile blast at 110 mph—eclipsing all of its rivals and far nearer to the occasions of the 503-hp C63 S than the 241-hp C300. The extra gear ratios mixed with snappy downshifts additionally enhance rolling acceleration from 5 to 60, 30 to 50, and 50 to 70 mph. Driving much less aggressively, we noticed 21 mpg general with the C43 versus 18 within the C450, with the brand new automobile’s 29-mpg common on our 200-mile freeway take a look at loop bettering its EPA estimate by 1 mpg.
The C43’s commonplace 4MATIC all-wheel drive produces far much less drama in corners than the rear-drive C63. The system has been tweaked with a higher rear torque bias (31/69 p.c versus the earlier 33/67), including to the automobile’s agile really feel when pushed. Secure understeer on the restrict, nevertheless, stays a part of the expertise, which limits the C43’s most lateral grip to a nonetheless respectable Zero.92 g. Each our C450 and C43 take a look at vehicles had the identical brakes (14.2-inch rotors in entrance, 12.6-inchers in again) and have been upgraded from their commonplace 18-inch wheels to 19s with staggered, high-performance run-flat summer season tires, sized 225/40R-19 in entrance and 255/35R-19 on the rear. Which makes the swap from the C450’s Pirelli P Zeros to the C43’s Continental ContiSportContact 5 rubber largely liable for the latter’s lengthier cease from 70 mph (171 ft to the C450’s 160).
Hurtling down a twisty again highway, the C43 feels crisp and properly mannered, its responses alert however not harsh and madly aggressive just like the brutish C63’s. AMG’s sharper electrically assisted steering rack is direct and exact, if fairly muted, and the selectable driving modes (Eco, Consolation, Sport, Sport+, and Particular person) give the chassis, drivetrain, and steering effort a large quantity of bandwidth. The C63 additionally donates its thee-position adjustable dampers and a few of its entrance suspension , which give the C43 a wider entrance observe than the C300, in addition to revised suspension geometry and elevated detrimental camber. New for 2017 is an up to date three-stage stability-control system that in its sportier settings permits for a bit extra sideways motion on the dealing with restrict earlier than stepping in.
However until you reside someplace with roads paved in glass (i.e., not our Michigan residence base), the mix of stiff suspension, massive wheels, and inflexible run-flat tires makes the C43’s trip obnoxiously uneven for a automobile that, in contrast to the C63, is refined sufficient to nonetheless function a humble C-class luxurious sedan. We’ve but to pattern a C43 on the smaller 18-inch wheels, however count on the bottom setup to be barely extra compliant over tough pavement.
We want AMG additionally had relaxed the programming for the brand new nine-speed gearbox, not less than within the mid-level Sport setting that we most well-liked more often than not. Whereas the lazier Consolation and max-attack Sport+ settings are well tuned for his or her respective missions, Sport tended to serve up some occasional jerkiness as the pc hunted for the very best ratio, and it usually held onto a gear too lengthy in regular driving, forcing us to seize the right-hand paddle on the wheel for a guide upshift.
Though the C43 can at occasions really feel like it’s making an attempt too laborious to emulate its rowdier siblings, its efficiency pairs properly with the C63-aping exterior remedy, which is handsomely contoured and calmly dusted with AMG cues. The cabin is superbly styled and crafted as properly, with fittingly supportive sport seats and a chunky AMG steering wheel. Whereas it lacks the larger E43’s extra accommodating again seat and newer Mercedes electronics, that mannequin is greater than $20Okay dearer than the $52,925 C43 sedan.
Our take a look at automobile heaped an extra $13Okay in choices atop that determine, regardless of the C43’s already prolonged roster of ordinary options and facilities. The majority of the extras have been a part of the $7400 Premium Four package deal, which replaces the usual 7.Zero-inch infotainment unit with an Eight.Four-inch display screen and provides navigation and a touchpad to the central COMAND controller. Additionally included is a premium Burmester audio system, adaptive LED headlights with computerized high-beams, ambient inside lighting, and a perfume dispenser. Whereas automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring are commonplace, Premium Four is also the one option to get adaptive cruise management, lively lane-departure warning and help that groups with the blind-spot monitor, and a extra superior Pre-Secure Plus collision-avoidance system with pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear-collision safety.
Non-obligatory objects on our automobile that we might most likely stay with out embody $1620 for leather-based upholstery as an alternative of the usual MB-Tex/Dinamica supplies, $1480 for a panoramic sunroof, $1090 for a Parking Help package deal (a surround-view monitor with an automatic parking assistant), and $850 for these 19-inch split-five-spoke wheels with efficiency tires.
Though we have now but to check the new-for-2018 Audi S4, one in all this AMG’s key rivals, the query at this worth level actually comes all the way down to both a properly outfitted C43 or an entry-level C63 with a correct AMG V-Eight, which begins at $66,125. Our thirst for energy possible would push us towards the latter, foregoing some day-to-day civility. However the C43’s very good mix of efficiency and refinement signifies that even this milder AMG is enjoyably potent.