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Mercedes-AMG C 43 Coupe review: The stormy C
Moselle Valley, Germany
CURRENTLY ruling the Cs is the Mercedes-AMG C 43 Coupe, which is the most powerful model on sale until the ballistic C 63 shows up.
Compared to its newly-hybridised C 200 Coupe sibling, there are fewer big updates for the performance-focused two-door sports coupe. On the front is a new grille, and redesigned air intakes with new aerodynamic vents at the sides, in front of the wheels.
It has the same interior changes as the other C-Class cars, but as a model from Mercedes-AMG, they're racier.
The steering wheel, for instance, has an ergonomic and slightly oblong shape, plus new grips wrapped in suede-like stuff. The active instrument panel has AMG-unique displays that tell you everything from oil temperature, drive settings, and the G-forces you're subjecting yourself to.
Mercedes-AMG engineers say they've fine-tuned the suspension, gearbox and other parameters, and bunged in an extra 23hp for good measure, thanks to small tweaks to the 3.0-litre V6 engine.
The power bump is less significant than it sounds, even on paper, as the 0-100km/h time and top speed (which is limited to 250km/h) are the same.
From the seat of the pants too, it's hard to tell if the C43's stirring drive has been taken up a notch. But that's only because it's always been a cracker of a car.
The free-revving V6 has enjoyable fire even when it's not churning out addictive forward thrust. Lean hard on the gas pedal and you get punchy acceleration with a ripsaw soundtrack, back off and the exhaust crackles wickedly.
The strong, predictable brakes haul you down with power and precision, while the nine-speed gearbox is fast and precise. Race-car-like, it will hold gears until you hit the rev limiter.
It has the rare ability to make kilometres of bends seem far shorter than they are, but once in the drudgery of town traffic, the car isn't hyperactive, its suspension still pliant enough for daily driving.
Unlike some modern performance cars which chase colossal horsepower figures at the expense of driver enjoyment, the C 43 is just right in terms of balancing power and usability.
And it's still fast enough to just disappear up the horizon. Now you C it, now you don't.
Mercedes-AMG C 43 Coupe
Engine 2,997cc, V6, biturbo
Power 390hp at 6100rpm
Torque 520Nm at 2,500-5,000rpm
Gearbox 9-speed automatic
0-100km/h 4.7 seconds
Top Speed 250km/h
Fuel Efficiency 9.3L/100km
Agent Cycle & Carriage
Available Q4 2018