Less Engine, More Power
Mercedes-AMG recently introduced the sleek C43 – the somewhat smaller sibling to the highly-acclaimed and enormously capable C63 AMG. This fresh addition to the performance landscape provides a compelling idea of what lies when the revered C63 model finally arrives.
Despite the nationwide uproar resulting from AMG's decision to downsize their engines and say goodbye to their much-loved, handcrafted V8s, the C43 offers hope that Mercedes' choice to downsize its engines would not hinder the get-up-and-go capabilities of AMG's automobiles.
I recently had the pleasure of attending an unconventional yet unforgettable launch event for the C43. By focusing on friends of the brand, the gathering brought together some of South Africa's best rugby players as they gear up for the Rugby World Cup later this year. As much as I am a big rugby fan, this wasn't the day's highlight. Instead, it was the invitation which included my wife, a massive car enthusiast herself. Seeing her wield this new car around the made the experience all the more remarkable for both of us.
Unleashing the C43's Potential
Let's get to the subject at hand: the C43 itself. Sure, it's a less powerful, less flamboyant sibling to the much-adored C63, but it quickly becomes clear that AMG has methodically constructed it to hold its own on the track. You get a sense that they built this car with everybody in mind, as driving it fast is easy, even for the less confident or experienced driver. It boasts excellent handling characteristics and lots of front-end grip, allowing you to grip your way into a corner confidently.
The elevated seating position within the cabin and the sense that the car is doing the heavy lifting, may not be to everyone's taste. The C43's technological prowess may distract from the raw, joyful connection found in more bare-bones cars for seasoned weekend racers. Sure, the C43 is incredibly capable, but a little too electronic for my preference.
The C43 comes with a 2.0-litre engine that delivers an impressive 300 kW and 500 Nm of torque – extracting that much readiness from a 2.0-litre engine is a mighty feat no matter how you slice it. Combined with Mercedes' proven 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system, this sleek saloon can reach 100 km/h in a scant 4.6 seconds. So, by no means does the C43 wait around and in many ways, it could be a sensible option over the more powerful C63.
One AMG driving professional even claims that this C43 is putting down lap times within striking distance of the outgoing C63 S. To validate this statement, we look forward to putting the C43 through its paces on our own track and uncovering its full potential.
For decades, Mercedes has reigned as one of the leading luxury carmakers, and their storied heritage shines through in its modern vehicles. The C43, for instance, features a visually striking digital display that is both user-friendly and easy to read. The Infotainment screen is unquestionably the focal point of this vehicle, taking up most of the centre console and dash, and I adore it. Good seats and decent legroom provide a comfortable yet supported experience for both the driver and passengers.
Mercedes' signature features, such as immersive ambient lighting and voice control, lend a futuristic touch to an already sophisticated car, further enhancing the driving experience.
Ownership and Investment
As for ownership, the C43 AMG carries a price tag of R1,608,810 – an initial shock, sure, but considering the scope of features and luxuries it offers, it's not half-bad. This purchase option also includes a 5-year/100,000 km maintenance plan.
Weighing the C43's Allure and Impact
The C43 is a car that should appeal to drivers of all skill levels. Its track-inspired design, complete with aggressive gear shifts, a throaty exhaust note, and exciting handling, ensures an engaging driving experience for even the most inexperienced drivers. However, the true highlight of this experience was not just the car itself but the unique event that surrounded it. I appreciated Merc's acknowledgement of the individuals and families behind their brand; meeting some of our country's heroes and exchanging stories with people from all walks of life was motivating.