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

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