Mercedes has been on a model offense in 2016. Though the year has been a slow one in terms of sheer volumes, especially for the luxury segment given the diesel ban in the initial part of the year and the demonetization towards the end. This hasn’t stopped Mercedes from launching 12 new products in the year, till now. Mercedes has now launched its 13th product, the C43 AMG and we were at the coveted Buddh International Circuit to drive it.
What is the C43 AMG?
The C43 was initially unveiled as the C450 AMG globally, but the 450 line was later shut and all the 450 AMGs were rebadged as 43 AMG. So this, the C43 AMG is the smaller sibling of the mighty C63S and bridges the gap betweem the C200 petrol and the C63S in India.
In the looks department, being an AMG, there is an AMG kit which has been added to the C43, however it isn’t as hardcore as the one on the C63S. The C43 gets a smaller air vent in the bumper as opposed to the joined figure-8 type air vent that comes on the C63S. This one has a lip finished in silver and sports a new grill with the AMG badge. On the side, the car has side skirts and the Bi-turbo badging on the front fender. The rear has the normal AMG bumper with quad exhaust tips, rear diffuser and the AMG badging. The C43 is shod with 18″ 5-spoke AMG rims. This one is a more mild version of the hardcore C63S and echos the same in the looks department.
The insides too feel like an AMG, with the flat-bottom steering wheel and red stitching, red seatbelts, the sport seats with a mix of Alcantara and leather. It offers a good blend of luxury and sportiness.
Now let’s get to the heart of the matter, this being an AMG. The C43 is powered by a 3.0 liter V6 Bi-turbo engine that makes 367 Bhp and 520 Nm. The engine is mated to the new 9-speed automatic transmission. All this power is transmitted to all 4 wheels, courtesy Mercedes’s performance 4MATIC system. Though it is an AWD on paper, this one is more rearward biased, for those who prefer sideways action. The power split is 69% to the rear and 31% to the front. The car comes with various driving modes, Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport + and Individual. While we were on the track, we stuck to the Sport + mode.
We were given 2 laps of the track, including the in and out lap. The track, for those who haven’t been to it, has a good mix of twisty sections in sector 2 and 3 and fast straights in sector 1. The first time we got to put the 367 horeses to test was on the back straight, where we touched a top speed of 230 kmph. The car could have surely gone a little faster, if we were on proper hot laps. The car accelerates well and due to it being an AWD, it puts the power done well. Braking from 230 kmph showed how effective the ventilated discs on this 1690 kgs weighing beast are. The 9-speed autobox downshifts automatically while braking, adding to the experience. However if you feel the need to downshift, you can use the paddles on the steering wheel. In the twisty sections, we found the car very agile with minimal hint of understeer in Sport + mode. The steering feels very precise and we were extremely impressed by how much grip the car has. The steering wheel is a flat-bottom one and weighs up well. The AMGs are known to be sweet sounding, and this one, though not very loud, continues to have the crackles and bangs on up and downshifts.
Overall, we came away impressed with the whole driving experience. It isn’t as wild as the C63S, but it certainly is a good stepping stone before heading to the bonkers C63S.
The C43 AMG is priced at Rs 74.35 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi. This positions the C43 just above the CLA 45 AMG. While the CLA 45 AMG has a 4-pot motor, it makes 381 Bhp.