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Sinuous and svelte, Merc’s C43 AMG coupe is the perfect fit for Generation Y

S Muralidhar | Updated on July 25, 2019 Published on July 25, 2019

The suave interiors give off a heady smell typical of Mercedes cars   -  S Muralidhar

This is one performance compact that will rock the trip to the party and to the office

The oft-repeated quote “Form over Substance” always seems to have a negative connotation. But what if form was to supplement and boost the impact of substance, that would be a whole lot more interesting, won’t it? The 2019 Mercedes-AMG C43 fits that description perfectly.

This is a compact performance coupe that is not as mad and bursting with power as its burly cousin, the C63 AMG. But like that one, the C43 too gets a lot of the shapely form and charm of a two-door that helps it stand out compared to its predecessor’s rather mundane sedan styling. AMG has had a tradition of building models bearing the 63 nomenclature and featuring V8 engines, versus the ones bearing the 43 appendage and featuring the V6 engines. The former range of models are clearly more endowed compared to the latter. But, the new C43 is no pushover in the performance department, managing to put out 390 hp of power and 520 Nm of torque, in comparison to the V8 in the C63 managing 510 hp and 700 Nm.

Design

The current generation C-Class has been called the ‘Baby S-Class’ and that moniker already says a lot about the appeal of the C’s design. But the C43 AMG takes it a step further with its alluring sports coupe design. With its classic three-dimensional grille, and the signature AMG twin louvres and the three-pointed star emblem in its oversized form at the centre, the front fascia of the C43 looks aggressive and young. Large air intakes on either side and the oversized airdam convey the message that this is not your regular Merc coupe. My test mule came sporting a deep, yet shiny red livery and 18-inch AMG rims that elevated the impact of the C43’s coupe design. The rear of the car is even more special with the taut, two-door sporty coupe design captured to perfection in all the features. The roofline dips sharply after the B-pillar and ends into a compact bootlid that closes with a fairly high loading lip. The bootlid has an integrated rear spoiler and the diffuser below the rear fender features dual twin exhaust pipes, signifying the C43’s sporty performance even before the engine can be started. The tail-lamps are trademark Merc units with their multi-layered LED tubes delivering a fantastic night time signature.

Getting into the cabin engulfs you with the classic smells of a Mercedes-Benz interior (yes, most luxury car-makers work on getting all their car cabins to smell similarly). A heady mix of leather and wood trim hits me. The C43’s cabin is surprisingly plush with a fair sprinkling of AMG branding on the steering wheel and a couple of other trim elements. The seats feature red contrast stitching and special AMG-specific upholstery. There are other interior features too that are meant to excite the enthusiasts like the bright red seat belts, a panoramic sunroof and the contoured, sports seats for front passengers. The C43 AMG also gets a 10.25-inch infotainment system with the NTG 5.5 Merc’s new generation telematics for improved connectivity and hands free usability.

The system also offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Part of the infotainment system is the Audio 20 music system, which delivers rich playback, and deep bass. The cabin also gets discreet ambient LED lighting with 64-colour variations to choose from.

In addition to Designo personalisation choices, the C43 AMG gets a few other optional features that can be added on, like a fully digital instrument cluster, open pore wood trim or a polished aluminium finish. The steering wheel also gets touch control buttons.

Performance

Both the India-spec C43 AMG and the German-spec that I tested in the crowded streets of Mumbai a few weeks ago and a few months earlier on sections of the Autobahn with unrestricted speed limits featured 4MATIC, Merc’s own all-wheel drive system. For the 2019 model year, the C43 AMG 4MATIC’s V6 engine gets a boost in output. The 3.0-litre bi-turbo petrol engine now produces 390 hp and can do the 0-100 kmph sprint in 4.7 seconds. The top speed has been restricted to 250 kmph. In terms of the sheer breadth of its performance, the C43 AMG 4MATIC is quite as capable as the C63, though the V6’s output in the former lacks the top-end whack of the latter’s V8. The gearbox in the C43 is the AMG Speedshift TCT nine-gear automatic, which now gets shortened shift times and responds faster to driver demands.

True sportscar-like performance comes through from the all-wheel drive’s rear-biased torque distribution of 31:69 between the front axle and the rear axle.

With a enjoyable exhaust burble, the C43 AMG can be fun to drive even in traffic when only short speed bursts are possible. The AMG Dynamic Select offers different driving modes and the character of the vehicle’s ride and handling changes, including powertrain and throttle responses. There has been an addition in the slippery mode with a more moderated, consistent power delivery character for getting out of sticky situations.

Bottom Line

The C43 AMG coupe’s eye-catching design meant a lot of stares when I was driving it in Mumbai. What it lacks in sheer power, the C43 coupe makes up with its design. Its output is plenty and can offer you an engaging drive in most Indian driving conditions.

The C43’s dual character is a good reason for choosing it over some of the other options in the performance-compact category. It gets a lot of safety equipment too, including an active bonnet for pedestrian safety, driver kneebag and adaptive active headlamps. The C43 AMG 4MATIC is priced at about ₹75 lakh ex-showroom.

 

Published on July 25, 2019
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