I like dogs, I really do. They are among the cutest, friendliest and the most loyal creatures in existence. What’s more, they come in all shapes and sizes, so you can have a small one, a big one, a furry one, black, white, brown, whatever catches your fancy. Personally, I prefer one of those big furry ones. They’re like having a big stuffed toy as a best friend without people questioning your mental health. However, thanks to rapid urbanisation, most of us, including yours truly, have been restricted to living in one of those high-rise apartment complexes that populate most major cities now. Which means living with a big dog isn’t the most practical thing to do. Keeping this in mind, a relatively smaller dog makes more sense. They’re just as loyal and cuddly as the bigger Canines, but are a lot more comfortable in the confines of the smaller homes.
Which brings me to Mercedes’ newest AMG offering in India – the Mercedes-AMG C43. Unlike its bigger brother, the manic C63 AMG, this gets a smaller engine, which results in a tamer power output and higher frugality. It gets AMG’s 3.0 L Biturbo V6 that makes outputs 367 BHP and 520 Nm. The C43 will do 0-100 KMPH in under 5 seconds and will hit a restricted top speed of 250 KMPH. What’s more, it comes with four-wheel drive so it puts the power down in a more controlled manner. The C43 gets fatter rubber, flared nostrils, diamond mesh grille and 5-spoked AMG lightweight alloys. So, it looks meaner than the standard C-Class sedan, but not quite as menacing as the C63.
This AMG theme continues on the inside, too. The cabin is finished in dark coloured materials with sporty bits like red stitching and an AMG flat-bottom steering wheel. The instrument console has a chequered flag pattern, probably to reassure you of this car’s sporty intentions. Merc offers AMG sport seats and flashy red seat belts to hold you in place. Being a sedan, it is practical, too, with seating for 4-5 occupants and decent boot space. So, it looks like a proper AMG and has a sufficiently sporty cabin, but how good is it to drive?
To find out, we went to the only Formula 1 track in India. After a short briefing, I put on a helmet and strapped myself in. We were instructed to begin proceedings in the Comfort mode and then switch to Sport+ a lap later. This gave us a good understanding of how the Dynamic Select system alters the car’s characteristics. There is a marked difference in the C43’s behaviour in the Sport+ mode. The AMG-tuned suspension stiffens up, the throttle response gets sharper and, best of all, the exhaust note gets louder. Four wheel drive enables you to accelerate out of a corner aggressively without losing control of the back-end, a fact that helped me get a good exit as I went on to clock around 230 KMPH on the back straight. That said, it’s a 69-31 split, so it won’t entirely stop you from having some sideways fun.
In cars such as the one we had at our disposal, shedding speed quickly is just as important as gaining it. The C43’s 14.2-inch front and 12.6-inch rear discs allow you to be mighty on the brakes while approaching a corner. The beautifully weighted steering, sharp brakes and the taut suspension – all come together to help you nail each corner, an experience I find mildly arousing. The 9-speed transmission is sharp and does a fine job of keeping the C43 in the right gear. Of course, you can always override the ECU using paddle shifters. Sadly, though, my time behind the wheel was restricted to just about a couple of laps. So, rather reluctantly, I pulled into the pits and handed the car over to the Merc guys.
So the Mercedes-AMG C43 is practical, pretty impressive out on the track and is sedate enough to be used as an everyday car. It’s loud, but not loud enough to wake up the entire neighbourhood. It gets thicker rubber, so Indian roads won’t end up damaging your spine. Purists might frown upon its puny V6, which they deem unworthy of the AMG badge, and maybe they do have a point there. I’m not quite sure. But what I am sure about is the fact that this car is proper fun. In case you still haven’t figured out, the Mercedes-AMG C43 is like that smaller, more practical dog – slightly less aggressive but a sensible choice for the cramped urban environment.
Words and Photography – Dhruv Saxena
Mercedes AMG C43 India – Price
|Model||Ex-showroom Delhi Price|
|Mercedes-AMG C43 4MATIC||Rs. 74.35 lakh|
Mercedes AMG C43 India – Specifications
|Performance Data||Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC|
|Number of valves percylinder||4|
|Power (kW [hp] @ rpm)||270 @ 5,500 – 6,000|
|Torque (Nm @ rpm)||520 @ 2,000 – 4,200|
|Acceleration (0-100 km/h)||4.7 sec|
|Top Speed (km/h)||250|
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