And now for something ...completely different
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Mercedes-Benz suggests that mimicking the more liberally brutal aesthetic of the AMG C 63 Coupe, which sits above our review car in the Stuttgart firm’s compact performance car pecking order, isn’t what this C 43 Coupe is about.
It likes to think of this car as a different proposition entirely.
It’s not so much the coupe for the AMG fan that has liked and loved, but is now wanting to move on from, their AMG A 45 hatchback. The C 43, Mercedes-Benz says, is its own thing.
That’s not to suggest this edition isn’t canon, though. This is a proper AMG with all the AMG bits in it that you’d want.
You get the 19-inch twin-spoke AMG alloys, the AMG instrument cluster with its chequered flag surface design, as well as the multi-mode AMG Ride Control sports suspension system that lets you opt for Sport, Sport + or a mix of comfort/race-face settings.
You get AMG’s speed-sensitive sports steering set-up, too.
Also, and I can’t overstate this, you get an absolute rocket ship.
Mercedes-Benz’s sublime 3.0-litre twin turbo (or “biturbo” in Mercedes-speak) V6 helps deliver blisteringly quick pace.
The engine packs a punch in terms of peak power (270kW) and maximum twist (520Nm of torque); mechanical momentum that was delivered with responsive squeeze-and-go simplicity on the straights and helped along immeasurably by standard 4MATIC all-wheel drive on the twistier parts of the debris-strewn roads along our stormy rural Victorian test route.
It’s not all fire-and-brimstone, though. In fact, there is one thing that is missing; the visceral bark of the big brother C 63’s V8. The V6 offers up a crisp exhaust note, which is especially pleasing as you push on. But there are no pop-bang dramatics on the overrun for which, sorry, I’m a sucker.
However, this isn’t an irreconcilable issue. You just need to attack the options list with a pen and spend an extra $4990. This will net you the sound you want in the form of Mercedes-Benz’s Performance Ergonomic Package.
In addition to seemingly unrelated — but no-less-welcome — AMG performance sports seats and a fat sports steering wheel covered in a pleasing mix of grippy microfibre and nappa leather, you also get AMG’s performance exhaust system.
The C 43 Coupe features Benz’s 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission, which seamlessly shifts to the required ratio, although naturally in this application there are paddles to shift manually, too. The gearbox is retuned for Mercedes-Benz’s AMG cars, offering up faster shift times across the board.
With the exceptionally well-rounded C-class as a base, it’s almost a given that the C 43 comes with all manner of high-tech stuff as standard, such as a Burmester surround sound audio system, command online navigation, head-up display, a panoramic glass sliding sunroof and Mercedes-Benz’s excellent LED intelligent light system with adaptive high-beam assist.
In addition to the C 43 Coupe, Mercedes-Benz’s ever-expanding line-up of performance cars also includes sedan and wagon versions with the V6, too ($116,400 and $119,400 respectively).
I can see Mercedes-Benz’s point about the C 43 being its own thing. This isn’t simply a step up from the A 45 AMG hatchback; that is as much its own thing — an “insane hot hatch” thing — as this car is.
It still wears its performance heart on its sleeve (the manufacturer is incapable of producing an AMG model that doesn’t exhibit ferocity even at standstill), but it’s capable of mild manners when required.
The Coupe gives you a fantastic-looking, excellently specified performance car with all the brisk abilities you would hope for.
And that will be enough for many.
Especially those who don’t want to attempt to bridge what is a yawning gap between this model and the V8-engined C 63 Coupe, which is $52,000 more. Or $26,000 per extra cylinder.