Mercedes-amg C43 Es­tate

The stealthy es­tate goes about its busi­ness in a more sub­tle way than some oth­ers on our Fast Fleet

Evo - - FAST FLEET - Adam Towler (@Adamtowler)

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.

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