Mercedes-amg C43 Estate
The stealthy estate goes about its business in a more subtle way than some others on our Fast Fleet
THE C43 CONTINUES TO impress, although I’m now wise to the fact that it has a more subtle way of getting under one’s skin than other cars on the evo Fast Fleet.
Perhaps I was almost too successful in downplaying the exterior when we specced our car, for as soon as it attracts a layer of grime – which is very quickly with black paint, predictably – it tends to merge into the background.
But that’s to underestimate the depth of the C43’s appeal. For me, it’s the combination of mid-range grunt and pliant ride quality that are the cornerstone of its terrific real-world pace. I don’t know about the area where you live, but my usual journey to the office is almost constantly punctuated by potholes. It is actually a game in itself to avoid them – the agility of the C43 is impressive at this alone – but there’s always the odd one you can’t swerve. In many cars this elicits a thud, crack or shudder violent enough to grind the teeth in horror, but in the C43 they’re usually something of a non-event. A good sort of non-event, at that. It must help that our C43 has the standard 18-inch wheels, with meaty 45-profile tyre sidewalls at the front, 40 at the rear.
Some of this must also be due to the adaptive damping. Even in its Sport setting there’s a notable pliancy, both front to rear and in terms of body roll, that allows the car to react to sudden bumps and more longer-wave undulations without constantly having to be at war with the road. And while the four-wheeldrive system isn’t set up to oversteer like those of some AMGS, it’ll always chuck enough to the rear to adopt a neutral cornering attitude, especially if you’ve not overcommitted on turn-in.
Overall, it’s this multi-talented persona that defines the car. Even being driven with some enthusiasm the fuel economy seems to be hovering around 26mpg, and a longer motorway cruise can see that rise well over 30mpg. When I think of the sort of consumption figures offered by diesel performance estate cars in the real world, that feels like a small price to pay for 362bhp under your right foot and an exhaust note that, in loud mode, ricochets off buildings and howls like a demon.