This week I am behind the wheel of what I call a “sleeper car”. One that looks really nice, but is much faster than it looks. Introducing the redesigned 2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 coupe.
AMG is the wholly owned performance division of Mercedes, and has a storied history of taking great cars and turning them into monster luxury cars. They have been doing it since 1967. AMG products are the fastest and most expensive vehicles in the Mercedes lineup.
The heart of this car is under the hood, where you will find a 362-horse, 3-liter Bi-turbo V6. It is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission that together will take you to 60 miles-per-hour in a lightning fast 4.6 seconds. My test vehicle is the 4Matic, the Mercedes-Benz name for all-wheel drive. This system helps you a lot on takeoff…this car digs in and just flies, especially when using the paddle shifters.
The C43 is attractive on the outside with a low, wide, and aggressive stance. There is a new grill with front spoiler, and also a rear spoiler that adds to the sleek looks. This car has the 18” AMG wheels, and you can’t miss the huge brake calipers.
For me, the most amazing thing about this car is the price.
When you open the large doors of the C43 coupe, you see a crafted interior that exudes pure luxury. The red seatbelts draw you in as you sit in the ultra-comfortable seats.
The gauges are easy to read with a 180-mile per hour speedometer on the left, and a tachometer on the right that redlines at 6500 RPM. Between those is a driver info center that operates from the AMG flat bottom, heated steering wheel.
There are a number of buttons on the center console, including the Dynamic ride control switch that takes you from Eco, to Comfort, to Sport and finally Sport Plus. There is also an individual mode to mix the different choices. What’s cool about this feature is the C43 is a little lamb in Eco-very nondescript-but turns into a roaring lion in Sport Plus which completely changes the car, especially the transmission, suspension, and steering.
Also on the center console to the right side, you can turn on the amazing performance exhaust, turn OFF the auto start/stop system, and lock out the transmission from shifting itself, forcing you to use the shift paddles. I’m not sure why you would use this given how hard and fast the transmission shifts by itself.
There is a large round knob on the console that controls the MBrace system, which runs everything on the large, high-resolution screen that sits up high. Over the knob is a touchpad that works in conjunction with the knob to operate through all the systems, like sound system, navigation, Bluetooth, apps, Surround view camera, and the car’s settings. There is a bit of a learning curve, but once you get it down, it becomes second nature.
The Burmeister sound system is spectacular, and the speakers in the door are a work of art.
One cool feature is called Air Balance, which are dual-activated charcoal filters that team with an ionizer that uses an electrical charge to create the same fresh-air sensation you experience after a summer storm. Airborne impurities and odors are virtually eliminated from the cabin to provide air quality that’s more enjoyable and healthier, especially for people like me with allergies.
The Burmeister sound system is spectacular, and the speakers in the door are a work of art. The C43 has good headroom for the front occupants but is limited in the back seat due to the swooping roofline. Speaking of the back seat, Mercedes makes it easy to get there with power sliding front seats, but don’t expect to get more than small children back there and be comfortable.
To complete the interior looks and feel you get aluminum pedals and aluminum step plates.
My C43 review car comes loaded with popular features like a panoramic power sunroof, keyless entry, hands-free trunk opener, collision prevention, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, and active parking assist.
I want to stress the C43 has amazing handling and cornering, and it is super fast when in Sport Plus mode. It is a real driver’s machine and will fit whatever mood you are in.
Fuel economy is rated at 20 in town and 28 on the highway, but you have to hold yourself back to get that.
For me, the most amazing thing about this car is the price. Total sticker price is just over $67,000 and I can’t figure out how Mercedes-Benz can give you this much technology and horsepower for that amount of money.
A coupe is not for everyone, but this car comes in a sedan or convertible version as well.