Mid-strength brew that hits a high C

Wheels (Australia) - - Contents - RYAN LEWIS

Mid-size per­for­mance Benz in tasty mid-strength

WE ALL have one re­lent­lessly hyper­ac­tive mate, right? In ve­hic­u­lar terms, that mate is a Mercedes-amg C63. Great for a laugh most of the time, but there are days when they (and the C63) need to be hosed down.

Luck­ily, Af­fal­ter­bach of­fers an al­ter­na­tive called the C43. It’s a fast C-class more suited to ev­ery­day use, with a level of per­for­mance that can be ex­plored and en­joyed with­out reg­u­lar vis­its to a race­track.

For 2019, the C43 has been up­dated as part of the most com­pre­hen­sive C-class facelift to date. The 3.0-litre V6 found in all four C43 shapes (sedan, wagon, coupe and cabri­o­let) is fed more boost by larger tur­bos from the E43, lift­ing peak power from 270 to 287kw. Torque re­mains at 520Nm, as does sharp 0-100km/h per­for­mance of less than 5.0sec for all body styles.

A bi-modal per­for­mance ex­haust is now an in­di­vid­ual op­tion for $2300, or added as part of a $5400 pack­age with per­for­mance seats, and mi­crofi­bre trim for the new AMG steer­ing wheel. The pipes let out a throaty growl as the V6 revs, with loud cracks on up­shifts and a bur­bling over­run in the sportier drive modes, with­out fully reach­ing the C63’s level of V8 bois­ter­ous­ness.

An­other ma­jor point of dif­fer­ence is the rear-bi­ased all-wheel-drive sys­tem. Grip is in ready sup­ply, and the C43 is res­o­lutely com­posed on fast roads.

Sub­tle ad­just­ments have been made to AMG’S adap­tive sus­pen­sion tune, though its over­all feel is un­changed. The dif­fer­ence in ride qual­ity between Com­fort, Sport and Sport+ modes is no­tice­able, but less pro­nounced than the step changes of the adap­tive dampers now avail­able in reg­u­lar C-class vari­ants. Com­fort is gen­er­ally ac­cept­able for a sport­ing car, but AMG could af­ford to sac­ri­fice some agility in the C43’s soft­est mode.

To make it eas­ier to iden­tify, the C43 now has a dis­tinc­tive twin-lou­vre grille, and 19-inch wheels with an aero­dy­nam­i­cally op­ti­mised de­sign. Multibeam LED head­lights with a range of up to 650 me­tres are stan­dard, as is the blacked-out AMG Night Pack­age. A re­pro­filed front bumper in­cludes aero aids at each cor­ner to guide air around the wheels for ef­fi­ciency. New LED tail-lights are also fit­ted.

Pric­ing starts at $107,900 for the sedan through to $124,900 for the cabrio, mak­ing C43 a full $50K and change more af­ford­able than an equiv­a­lent C63. It’s an ap­peal­ing propo­si­tion; closer to be­ing com­pat­i­ble with Aus­tralia’s speed lim­its, while still more than fast enough to put a grin on your face. Con­sider it a grown-up brand of per­for­mance for the dis­cern­ing, now more com­pelling for 2019.

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