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Mercedes-AMG C 43 Coupe Road Test Review

Car India 2019-07-09 15:32:56

What’s red, has two doors, a three-pointed star, four-wheel drive, “C” badging, and a sweet V6? The new AMG C-Class Coupe has finally touched Indian shores and in its potent AMG C 43 guise no less. How does it fare in our road test? Read on.

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

Two doors equal sports car. That holds true for many. If it’s red in colour, it furthers that cause. Add four tail-pipes and a sonorous soundtrack and it ticks all the boxes. The Mercedes C-Class was always a four-door luxury saloon of choice. Its playful side, however, was something we’d only heard of and experienced in the AMG 43 and the madder 63 S guise. Now, however, with a hard-top sloping roof and no rear doors, the C 43 Coupe ups the excitement and brings in more power than the erstwhile C 43 saloon; a car I adored, personally, as a proper everyday all-rounder.

The Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC Coupe, then, is the new kid on the block, both in the market and in Merc’s ever-increasing line-up. The MultiBeam LED headlights, sleek styling, and tapered rear end (already seen on the C 300 Cabriolet) all seem familiar. What’s not so is the experience.

The 3.0-litre, biturbo V6 petrol engine under the bonnet now makes 390 PS ― up 23 PS on the older car ― and an unchanged, but still hefty, 520 Nm of peak torque. Not a decade ago, Mercedes had the SL 500 ― a two-door, then-rocket ship sports car with a big 5.0 V8 making 306 PS and 460 Nm. My, how times have changed. Furthermore, the biturbo V6 is paired to a nine-speed automatic driving a 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system with a pronounced rear bias. That should make for some serious fun and impeccable control. Right, then.

How times have really changed, though, manifests also in a vast number of people, many of whom are road-users ― an aspect that was not so much of a concern for the SL 500. That meant that I would have to be very careful indeed about how far my right foot travelled and, considering the responses on tap, it was a significant piece of the pie for my grey matter to come to terms with.

In the city, crawl speeds are not the ideal situation. Neither is the quality of road surfaces, mind you. The AMG C 43 felt rather out of place, the low front apron and overall low ground clearance were tested far more than they would have liked ― and not in the dynamic or aero department too. The drive modes on the Dynamic Select include the new Slippery mode (for wet, slippery, and low-traction surfaces), Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual. Cosseted as I was in the lovely AMG alcantara and leather sports seats, my foot was in a different situation. The V6 has it torque peaking from 2,500 rpm ― high up today even for a turbo-petrol ― and while pottering around the city behind a slow-moving scooterist, who simply refuses to move from the fast lane at a mute 12 km/h, there is a pronounced leap forward when foot meets throttle. That’s when Comfort made way for Slippery. The dulled down throttle response was perfect for the crawl.

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