New Mercedes-AMG C43 saloon and estate revealed

Mercedes’ family of sporty C-Class models get a punchy petrol engine and a handy performance boost

  • New C4 3 AMG available in four-door saloon and more practical estate versions
  • 402bhp from new 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine
  • 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds

The newest addition to the Mercedes C-Class range has been revealed, in the form of the sporty C 43 AMG model. It will be available on both the saloon and the more practical estate version of the current C-Class, and has cars such as the Audi S4 and BMW 3 Series M340i firmly in its sights.

Being a performance-oriented car, the new Mercedes-AMG C 43’s big party piece is its engine: a 2.0-litre four-cylinder that can produce up to 402bhp. In addition to the potent powerplant, Mercedes has also given its new AMG C-Class model a suite of chassis tweaks, bigger brakes and a selection of sporty styling changes inside and out.

Mercedes-AMG C 43: design

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Many of Mercedes’ AMG cars tend to have a more aggressive look than the regular models on which they’re based, and the C 43 AMG keeps that trend going. In comparison with the standard Mercedes C-Class, the C 43 gets a more striking front end thanks to a redesigned grille and more prominent bumper treatment. Around the back there are twin exhaust pipes and a diffuser apron on the rear bumper. Rounding off the exterior tweaks are new 18-inch AMG-design alloy wheels – which can be replaced with optional 19-inch and 20-inch items if you’d prefer to fully fill out the wheel arches.

A similar treatment has been given to the inside of the Mercedes-AMG C 43. New enhancements over the standard Mercedes C-Class saloon and estate cars are a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, part-faux leather sports seats and red contrast stitching on the upholstery and dashboard trim. Rounding off the new aesthetic flourishes are red seat belts, illuminated AMG-branded door sills and redesigned pedals.

Interior and technology

Full tech specs for the Mercedes-AMG C 43 will be revealed closer to the car’s launch, though it’s safe to expect many of the features that are available on the regular Mercedes C-Class models will be fitted on this AMG variant. The digital instrument display and touchscreen interfaces have already been confirmed, and other tech features will almost certainly include three-zone climate control, heated front seats and safety assists like blind spot monitoring.

Mercedes has at least confirmed the C 43 has the same boot capacity as the regular C-Class. For the saloon model, this means the Mercedes-AMG C 43 has up to 455 litres of luggage volume, or up to 490 litres on the estate variant. In the C 43 estate’s case, this can be increased to 1,510 litres by folding the rear seats down. 

Engine and performance

Much like the regular Mercedes C-Class variants, the AMG C 43 has under its bonnet a four-cylinder combustion engine. However, that’s where many of the similarities end, especially in the power department. Despite being a small engine by modern sporty saloon standards, the 2.0-litre petrol as used in the C 43 produces up to 402bhp – making it more powerful than the larger 362bhp 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine used in the outgoing Mercedes-AMG C 43. Some buyers may miss the evocative sound of the old six-cylinder engine, though.

Because the C 43’s 2.0-litre petrol engine uses mild-hybrid technology, it can also make use of an extra performance boost of up to 13bhp for limited periods; temporarily increasing the C 43’s power output to 415bhp. Mercedes claims all of this punch gives the C 43 a decent turn of speed: 0-62mph takes 4.6 seconds for the saloon, or 4.7 seconds for the estate model. As standard, the top speed is limited to 155mph, though this can be raised to 164mph on cars fitted with the optional AMG Driver’s Package.

Some very powerful small turbocharged engines are known for ‘turbo lag’, or a delay to the engine response when you press down on the accelerator pedal. However, Mercedes claims this shouldn’t be an issue that affects the C 43, as the engine uses an electric motor that can spool the turbocharger up faster, which in turn reduces the turbo lag and helps make the engine feel more responsive.

Being the sporty C-Class, many of the tech features on the Mercedes-AMG C 43 are there to make the car faster and more responsive to drive. New ventilated disc brakes improve the car’s stopping power, and the rear wheel steering system is there to improve the car’s manoeuvrability at slower speeds while also making the car feel more stable during high-speed cornering.

Like the standard Mercedes C-Class, the C 43 gets adaptive suspension as standard, though on here the suspension has been given an AMG-specific setup. Likewise, there’s an adjustable stability control assist that allows the driver to select how quickly it intervenes when the car starts sliding, and the infotainment screens have new features like a lap time data logger the driver can use when they’re using the car on a race track.

When you’re not making use of all of that performance, Mercedes claims the AMG C 43 is capable of respectable fuel economy by performance car standards. It asserts the C 43 saloon is capable of returning up to 32.4mpg, with the estate being a bit less economical at up to 32.1mpg.

What does it mean for car buyers?

The C 43 represents the halfway house in the C-Class performance range, as it’s set to sit between the 254bhp C 300 and the next-generation C 63. While it won’t have quite the same soundtrack as before, the C 43 will certainly appeal to buyers who want a fast-feeling car without spending an extra £20,000 or so on the full-fat AMG model. It once again gives Mercedes an entrant into the fast executive car sector, even though it’ll almost certainly sit in the top company-car tax band.

Read our guide to the best executive cars on sale now.

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