Mercedes-AMG C 43 4Matic first drive review

Pradeb Biswas Updated: December 17, 2016, 05:49 PM IST

Mercedes-Benz India has expanded its portfolio of AMG cars with the launch of the C 43 4Matic sedan. Unveiled ahead of the Geneva Motor Show this year, it sits below the C 63 AMG. The C 43 4Matic is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo petrol engine that churns out 367PS of power and 520Nm of torque. But, is it as entertaining to drive as the C 63 S? To find out, we went pedal to the metal at its launch at the Buddh International Circuit.

The engine on the AMG C 43 4Matic comes mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission and gets 4Matic all-wheel drive as standard. So, it is not at all as tail-happy as the rear-wheel drive C 63 S. However, there is plenty of drama that one expects from an AMG badged vehicle. The rev-happy 3.0-litre twin-turbo engine has a strong mid-range and responds eagerly to throttle inputs. It pulls harder as you get near to the 6,000rpm limit. Mercedes-Benz claims that the AMG C 43 4Matic can sprint to 100kmph in 4.7 seconds and attain an electronically limited top speed of 250kmph.

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Sadly, Mercedes-Benz saw fit to let us loose at the BIC in the AMG C 43 4Matic for just three laps! In that limited span of time it wasn't possible to gauge the complete capabilities of the car. But, we did acquainted with it's fun character. There are five drive modes to choose from-Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Eco and Individual. We stuck to the Sport+ mode which selects the stiffest suspension settings and ensures aggressive and lightning quick gear changes.

The AMG sports exhaust system played a glorious sound track with lots of crackles and pops. During gear changes there is a louder cracking which adds to the drama. Although it doesn't growl as loudly the V8 engine on the C 63 S, the exhaust note of the C 43 4Matic belies the fact that there's a V6 under the hood.

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On the wide, fast and smoothly paved Buddh International Circuit C 43 4Matic was able to maintain impressively high corner speeds. However, the light steering doesn't offer much feedback. In Sport+ mode, there is neglible body roll which makes it difficult to gauge the amount of grip available. When pushed hard the AMG C 43 4Matic begins to understeer into corners. All-wheel drive ensures it is more manageable than the C 63 S which is always ready to go drifting. The centre differential distributes torque in a ratio of 31 per cent to the front axle and 69 per cent to the rear axle. The sharp brakes do a fabulous job of shedding speeds quickly which improves confidence.

Complementing the mechanical package, the C 43 gets some sleek AMG styling elements. The first thing that you notice is the diamond pattern black radiator grille with chrome pins. The air intakes have grown substantially bigger while the front splitter gets a silver chrome finish. It gets black exterior mirror housings and quad-exhaust pipes. It gets 18-inch AMG 5-spoke alloys with a glossy black finish as standard. It gets LED headlights with DRL's and LED tail lights as standard along with a spoiler lip on the boot lid while the rear apron gets silver chrome highlights.

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On the inside, it comes packed with a good amount of features as standard. It gets a rear camera, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, active parking assist, rain sensing wipers, electrically adjustable steering wheel for height and reach along with electrically adjustable seats with memory function. On the safety front, there's seven airbags, electronic stability program, tyre pressure monitoring system and attention assist feature which detects drowsy driving.

The dashboard houses a 5.5-inch multifunction display while the instrument console sports a chequered flag design theme. The steering wheel and seats are covered in black nappa leather with contrasting red stitching. In comparison, the top section of the dashboard, door panels and arm rests get artico leather treatment with contrast red stitching. It comes equipped with red seat belts but Mercedes-Benz says that buyers have the option of going for a different colour.

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The front sport seats are large and offer a good amount of support. The firm side bolsters prevent you from getting thrown around while attacking corners. The rear seats are a comfortable place to be in but underthigh support should have been better. The three-spoke flat bottomed steering wheel feels good to hold. The alloy paddle shifters along with other controls fall easily to hand. The cabin is well insulated with the just the correct amount of engine and exhaust note filtering through.

The Mercedes-AMG C 43 4Matic is priced Rs 74.35 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Overall, it is a powerful and usable package. It is fast, covers ground quickly while the enthusiastic engine and the sharp brakes egg you to push harder. The permanent all-wheel drive works well to ensure that you can completely exploit the power. That also gives it genuine all-weather ability. It isn't as intimidating to drive as the bigger V8 AMG vehicles. But, it is a pleasure to drive and packs in the drama worthy of an AMG badge. It is for those who seek an AMG sedan that is fun to drive but not too aggressive and can be used regularly without compromising on the entertainment factor.


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