When Mercedes-AMG lifted the covers off their C43 range we were not exactly blown away with the styling or performance figures but then they revealed the facelift earlier this year which not only came with a power hike but drastically improved cosmetics.
The output of the 3.0-litre V6 increased 390 hp (287 kW), thanks to larger turbochargers that operate at higher boost pressure. This has turned out to be a recipe that has made this particular model something of a runaway sales success.
Back on to the cosmetics and we could not get enough of the sleek rear end. The biggest changes include a rear deck spoiler now in the same colour as the car, a reworked rear bumper with a larger diffuser and new-look twin round chromed tailpipes. It transforms the aesthetics of the car and gives it that much needed AMG presence. Up front it could use a lower splitter or aero flics but that is just the boy racer inside of me.
Inside the car you are treated to a new 12.3-inch digital display that can be configured to show whichever information you like and in the C43 models, it also has a unique mode (Supersport design) which positions a rev-counter right in the middle. Perfect to keep an eye on your speed and revs.
Now, the beating heart of the C43 Coupe might not be the same as the V8 firebomb in the C63, but what you’ll find under the bonnet is still pretty special. There is ample torque available from just about any point in the rev range that pins you to the seat as the C43 Coupe leaps from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds. The great part about that acceleration time is that the C43 Coupe can do it irrespective of the road or weather conditions. Try a flat out pull off in the C63 in the wet and you will be needing some new underwear. The C43 Coupe, however, just squats and goes.
Obviously that is because it is way down on power but it also features Merc’s 4MATIC system as standard. This system is biased towards the rear wheels but makes the C43 Coupe feel secure and impressively fast around corners.
When you want to do comfort it does not disappoint here either. Yes you feel a much harsher ride than a standard C-Class (this is an AMG after all) but thanks to the standard adaptive dampers you can decide between a comfortable cruiser or a formidable continent-crosser just by switching the driving mode. In the C43 Coupe, the driving modes also affect a flap in the exhaust that really changes how it sounds. The sounds that come out of those four chrome pipes is something to experience. You continually find yourself going up and down through the gears just to hear gear shift bang and downshift pops. It is an intoxicating noise and even driving slowly but revving the V6 high is rewarding.
Overall, the C43 Coupe is a really good combination of abilities wrapped in an attractive body. While short of the C63 Coupe’s brutality, the ‘mid-way’ C43 Coupe gets a huge part of the looks and performance for less money. It’s still pretty expensive, though, and optional extras aren’t cheap.