We all have one relentlessly hyperactive mate, right? In vehicular terms, that mate is a Mercedes-AMG C63 C205. Great for a laugh most of the time, but there are days when they (and the C63) need to be hosed down. Luckily, Affalterbach offers an alternative called the C43. It’s a fast C-Class more suited to everyday use, with a level of performance that can be explored and enjoyed without regular visits to a racetrack.
For 2019, the C205 C43 has been updated as part of the most comprehensive C-Class facelift to date. The 3.0-litre V6 found in all four C43 shapes (sedan, wagon, coupe and cabriolet) is fed more boost by larger turbos from the E43, lifting peak power from 370 to 385bhp. Torque remains at 520Nm, as does sharp 0-62mph performance of less than 5.0sec for all body styles.
A bi-modal performance exhaust is now an individual option for £2300, or added as part of a £5400 package with performance seats, and microfibre trim for the new AMG steering wheel. The pipes let out a throaty growl as the V6 revs, with loud cracks on upshifts and a burbling overrun in the sportier drive modes, without fully reaching the C63’s level of V8 boisterousness. Another major point of difference is the rear-biased all-wheel-drive system. Grip is in ready supply, and the C43 is resolutely composed on fast roads. Subtle adjustments have been made to AMG’s adaptive suspension tune, though its overall feel is unchanged. The difference in ride quality between Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes is noticeable, but less pronounced than the step changes of the adaptive dampers now available in regular C-Class variants. Comfort is generally acceptable for a sporting car, but AMG could afford to sacrifice some agility in the C43’s softest mode.
To make it easier to identify, the C43 now has a distinctive twin-louvre grille, and 19-inch wheels with an aerodynamically optimised design. Multibeam LED headlights with a range of up to 650metres are standard, as is the blacked-out AMG Night Package. A reprofiled front bumper includes aero aids at each corner to guide air around the wheels for efficiency. New LED tail-lights are also fitted.
Pricing starts at £107,900 for the sedan through to £124,900 for the cabrio, making C43 a full £50K and change more affordable than an equivalent C63. It’s an appealing proposition; closer to being compatible with Australia’s speed limits, while still more than fast enough to put a grin on your face. Consider it a grown-up brand of performance for the discerning, now more compelling for 2019.
Safe and sounds Interior improvements include infotainment and driver assistance upgrades, though the A-Class’s advanced MBUX interface hasn’t made its way to C-Class yet. The instrument cluster is now a 12.3-inch digital screen with a customisable AMG mode, supported by a large display above the centre console. Extensive safety and convenience tech includes a 360-degree camera, AEB, adaptive cruise, parking assist, evasive steering assist and traffic-jam assist.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE SPECIFICATIONS 2019 Mercedes-AMG C43 4matic Coupe C205
Engine 2996cc V6, dohc, 24v, twin turbo
Max power 385bhp @ 6100rpm
Max torque 520Nm @ 2500-5000rpm
Transmission 9-speed automatic
0-62mph 4.7sec (claimed)
Economy 24 MPG
On sale in UK Now
PLUS + Strong engine performance; traction; more distinctive styling
MINUS – Ride in Comfort could be plusher; misses out on MBUX infotainment