SHOW & GO
MERCEDES-AMG C 43 COUPE
DO YOU NEED YOUR FAST CAR TO BE PRACTICAL? Mercedes doesn’t think so and they’ve dropped the four-door C 43 AMG from their fast-car line-up. Okay, if I’m being practical, this AMG isn’t very practical. I took another couple out for a Sunday lunch and they made a big production of spilling out of the back seat of the blazing red AMG. We Indians have zero experience of entering or exiting two-door cars gracefully; plenty of experience grumbling about things we have no experience of. But can I live with the compromise? Hell, yes!
The recent facelift has done the C-Class range a world of good and, suitably AMG’d with muscular bumpers, LED lights and the twin-louvre grille, the C 43 Coupe looks gorgeous. It really is more than just the old C 43 AMG with its rear doors deleted. Space at the back, once your passengers are done grumbling, is quite acceptable too, with the panoramic sunroof adding lots of light to the cabin. The ride too is quite alright, so is the ground clearance with four on board, though with the space-saver spare wheel strapped into boot; you’re best off packing only a toothbrush. But, who cares?
Stick it in Sport+, depress the Sport Exhaust button, and the C 43 feels far more purposeful than I recall. The twin-turbo V6 gets a 24bhp bump in power to 385bhp, torque is now up to 520Nm, and though the 0-100kmph time remains unchanged at 4.7 seconds, tenths have been shaved off the in-gear acceleration times thanks also to the faster shift times of the 9-speed gearbox. To be honest, the C 43 AMG was always plenty quick, keeping pace with the V8-engined and totally unhinged C 63 until well past triple -digit speeds. This new one, thanks to a throaty exhaust, feels even faster and the first time I floored it I did let out an expletive. This car accelerates with ferocity.
But it isn’t scary, that’s the beauty of the all-wheel drive setup. The 4Matic is of course more rear-biased for that sport-car feel but the sense of safety and security that it delivers is unparalleled. Floor it and it grips and goes, regardless of the road surface. A damp patch? No worries. Some gravel? No need to let off. A smooth bit of windy tarmac? There is so much cornering grip that the g-force meter on the cluster will show some crazy figures even if you do not have the talent to match your ambition. If you didn’t know it was all-wheel drive you’d scratch your head wondering how easily the C 43 puts down its near-400 horses. There is no untoward drama, except in the cabin that is really lovely with the full-fat AMG steering wheel being an absolute highlight.
The C 43 AMG is an all-weather sports car that ticks all the boxes. Except one.
From top to bottom: Twin-turbo V6 makes more power now; chunky AMG steering wheel is a highlight of the cabin; three letters that will get any enthusiast’s heart racing