Benz boosts C Class sports mod­els

Albany Extra - - Front Page - Alis­tair Kennedy

Mercedes-AMG has launched a ma­jor up­grade to its C 43 and C 63 sports mod­els to align with that of the stan­dard Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

While the new mod­els have been rather mod­estly de­scribed as a face lift, with around half of its 13,000 parts re­placed, it is cer­tainly sig­nif­i­cant.

As with the C 200, C220d and C 300, the AMG C 43 and C 63 come in four body styles: sedan, wagon, coupe and cabri­o­let with prices from $107,900 for a C 43 sedan to $182,900 for a C 63 S Cabri­o­let.

Dealer and govern­ment charges, in­cluded lux­ury car tax on all mod­els, need to be added.

The ex­ter­nal face lift of the C 43 in­cludes a new twin-lou­vre mattsil­ver AMG grille, new sculpted front and rear aprons, multi­beam LED head­lights and 19-inch AMG al­loy wheels that, in­ter­est­ingly, are op­ti­mised to im­prove the car’s aero­dy­nam­ics.

In­side there’s a new gen­er­a­tion AMG flat-bot­tom steer­ing wheel de­sign with Nappa leather trim and in­te­grated touch­pads to con­trol the in­stru­ment clus­ter, in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem and drive modes. The dash­board is now fully dig­i­tal.

Rear head­room in the C 43 sedan that we drove may prove mar­ginal for tall pas­sen­gers be­cause of the sun­roof, which for­tu­nately doesn’t re­strict front head­room to any great ex­tent.

Legroom in the back is rea­son­able, al­though some com­pro­mis­ing may be nec­es­sary at times.

The Mercedes-AMG C 43 is pow­ered by a 3.0-litre di­rect-in­jec­tion bi-turbo petrol en­gine with out­puts of 287kW and 520Nm.

It’s mated to the AMG Speed­shift TCT nine-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion driv­ing all four wheels with torque dis­tri­bu­tion of 30 per cent front and 70 per cent rear.

The C 63 S, which is due to ar­rive here in Jan­uary has a 4.0-litre V8 di­rect-in­jec­tion bi-turbo petrol that peaks at 375kW and 700Nm.

More on that AMG range top­per when it gets here.

In ad­di­tion to the stan­dard safety fea­tures across the C-Class range (nine airbags; enhanced ABS brakes; blind spot as­sist; tyre pres­sure warn­ing; and pre-safe crash an­tic­i­pa­tory sys­tem) the AMG C 43 gets a driv­ing as­sis­tance pack­age plus that in­cludes ac­tive dis­tance as­sist; ac­tive brake as­sist with cross-traf­fic func­tion; eva­sive steer­ing as­sist; ac­tive blind spot as­sist; ac­tive lane keep­ing as­sist and pre-safe plus.

There is also a 360-de­gree cam­era, a sports brak­ing sys­tem with per­fo­rated front brake discs and an anti-theft alarm with tow-away pro­tec­tion and an in­te­rior sur­veil­lance sys­tem.

The stan­dard Night Pack­age uses the multi­beam led head­lights to cal­cu­late the pre­cise light­ing con­di­tions re­quired and in­cludes ul­tra range high beam which can il­lu­mi­nate the road ahead to a dis­tance of 650m.

Our launch test drive was dur­ing day­light hours only but we’re look­ing for­ward to tak­ing the C 43 for do­ing some night driv­ing when we get the car for our nor­mal ex­tended test.

The Mercedes Co­mand in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem uses a 10.25-inch me­dia dis­play that can be cus­tomised to three themes.

The def­i­ni­tion on the me­dia screen is sharp and clear. It’s not a touch­screen but is man­aged ei­ther by a Co­mand ro­tary dial on the cen­tre con­sole or through the steer­ing wheel con­trols.

There is also a 12.3-inch dig­i­tal in­stru­ment dis­play be­hind the steer­ing wheel that can be cus­tomised with three colours and styles.

It can be con­trolled via the steer­ing wheel rollers and but­tons.

The me­dia sys­tem al­lows ac­cess to Ap­ple CarPlay or An­droid Auto.

The qual­ity of sound from the Burmester sur­round-sound au­dio sys­tem is im­pres­sive.

There is also DAB+ dig­i­tal ra­dio. En­try and exit is rel­a­tively easy for a fairly low-slung car and the front sports seats sup­port very well with­out be­ing overly ag­gres­sive in their bol­sters. Steer­ing wheel ad­just­ment is also pow­ered.

Both front seats have a me­mory func­tion that also ad­justs the side mir­rors to suit the driver.

We drove a C 43 es­tate wagon from Mel­bourne to the far north of Vic­to­ria.

There’s a won­der­ful crack­ling ex­haust note sound at take-off which is piped in­side through a sound en­hancer, such is the ef­fi­ciency of the in­su­la­tion.

Driv­ing high-per­for­mance cars on Aus­tralian roads can be ex­tremely frus­trat­ing, with our speed lim­its mean­ing we can rarely drive them in the man­ner for which they were de­signed.

The Mercedes-AMG C 43 is a su­perb sports ma­chine.

Not that it seems to stop lo­cal en­thu­si­asts who are the big­gest buy­ers of AMG mod­els in the world when taken as a per­cent­age of all Mercedes-Benz sales.

We ap­pre­ci­ated the car’s head-up dis­play, which showed both the car’s cur­rent speed and the speed limit us­ing ei­ther satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion or, in the case of a num­ber of road work sec­tions, traf­fic sign as­sist that uses a wind­screen­mounted cam­era to pick up the 40km/h speed limit signs.

The car’s Dy­namic Se­lect drive sys­tem has four modes, Com­fort, Sport, Sport+ and Slip­pery which vary the steer­ing, en­gine re­sponse and gear shifts ac­cord­ing to con­di­tions and driver pref­er­ence.

We found the steer­ing in Com­fort mode lighter than we pre­fer so we spent most of our time with the sharper feel of Sport, with the oc­ca­sional foray into Sport+.

The AMG Speed­shift nine-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion lives up to its name, with mul­ti­ple down­shifts de­liv­er­ing fast short bursts of power.

The pre­tend dou­ble-de­clutch func­tion in the Sport and Sport+ modes adds even more to the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

The Mercedes-AMG C 43 is a su­perb sports ma­chine that com­bines el­e­gant styling, four-door con­ve­nience, high qual­ity cruis­ing abil­ity and se­ri­ous per­for­mance cre­den­tials.

It is well worth adding to your short list of per­for­mance street cars.

The new flat-bot­tom steer­ing wheel and fully dig­i­tal dash­board.

En­try and exit is rel­a­tively easy for a fairly low-slung car.

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