Mercedes-AMG C43 Estate
It may not shout quite as loudly as the C63, but then our latest Fast Fleet addition is all about going ‘under the radar’
SAY HELLO TO THE NEWEST MEMBER of the evo Fast Fleet, and possibly one of the most useful, too. Compact yet spacious, fast whatever the weather, smart but at the same time rather discreet – yes, the Mercedes-amg C43 Estate has an awful lot to offer.
Naturally, who wouldn’t desire the drama, performance and soundtrack of its 469bhp, V8-engined C63 bigger brother? But in the real world you’d also have to be willing to put up with the sub-20mpg fuel consumption, and while lighting up the rear tyres is entertaining, so the thought of the C43’s effective fourwheel-drive traction is also very appealing. In fact, the C43 Estate feels like it could be a real sweet spot in the AMG line-up, and that’s what we’re looking to confirm or quarrel over during our upcoming six months with the car. Anecdotally, it seems the C43 family of models are selling well, with reports from dealership floors suggesting an increasing number of customers who would have chosen a large-engined diesel C-class turning to the C43 as an alternative. With its official combined fuel consumption of 34.9mpg, the C43 doesn’t appear too thirsty on paper (time will tell on that one) and the lure of 362bhp and a stonking 383lb ft from the twin-turbo 3-litre V6 is certainly a draw in itself.
Ordering time was, frankly, exciting, because when is speccing a new car, real or imaginary, not? For our car, I wanted it to look as discreet as possible. After all, a daily workhorse estate armed with more than 360bhp – that’s a car ideally suited to
being under the radar while going about its potentially very fast business.
So I went for metallic black – I’m always a bit unsure about black estates for their funereal qualities, but the choice is limited – and did without the window tints and bigger wheel options to tone down the aggression and improve the ride quality. Essentially, I wanted it to look like a humble diesel-engined ‘AMG Line’ model but with a real sting in the tail, and having seen one of those in the same colour the other day I can confirm it fooled me. Sadly, I wasn’t allowed to de-badge our car, but that would have completed the subterfuge.
Mercedes were keen for us to try the £1695 Driver Assistance Package, but I have to say, I’d rather keep that sort of cash in my pocket. You probably won’t be surprised to hear it includes much of the latest safety tech, such as Blind Spot Assist and steering assistance. I’ve switched much of it off so far; maybe I’ll be converted over the coming months.
We’ve got the Premium Plus Package (£2995) on there as well, which includes the Burmester surround sound system and a panoramic roof, but I’m more interested in the stuff we really wanted: the £825 head-up display, the £545 LED Intelligent Light System and the £1000 AMG sports exhaust.
The head-up display is simply a nice thing to have, but the LED lamps are wonderful. Not only are they piercingly bright, but they can also morph their beam according to oncoming traffic and the road itself. Normally I’d instinctively shy away from anything that took away from a driver’s inputs, but I have to admit that once you’ve used this particular piece of tech it seems pointless going back.
As for the sports exhaust, there’s a bit more to that particular tale. Before our definitive Fast Fleet C43 turned up, I had the use of a virtually identical car for a period. Identical, that is, apart from the absence of the sports exhaust. If you’d asked me then as to whether that was a box worth ticking, I’d have said ‘keep the grand and attract less attention at the same time’. However, not only do the AMG pipes give you a laughably rude exhaust note with the valves open, but with them shut the tone is much sweeter than the bland tone of the standard back boxes. I’d now say don’t buy a C43 without it.
For more pearls of Amg-based wisdom, and to see how we get on, look out for further reports in the coming months. In the meantime, if you’re running a C43 let us know how you’re getting on via the usual channels.
‘I wanted it to look like a humble diesel- engined “AMG Line” model with a real sting in the tail’
Dateacquired January 2018 Totalmileage 1660 Mileagethismonth 1474 Costthismonth £0 mpgthismonth 25