2019 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe India Review: Why This Luxury Car is Special?
- Published On: 27 June 2019
- 8 min read
We take the Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe for a spin from Mumbai's traffic infested roads to the open sweeping curves and corners of Lonavala.
Introduction: Think Mercedes-Benz and adjectives like comfort, luxury and opulence come to your mind, right? But the same brand is also known for offering performance-oriented versions of the normal road going avatars under the AMG brand name. These cars are sold under Mercedes-AMG which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler AG, parent company of Mercedes-Benz.
Legalities aside, Mercedes has been selling AMG models in India for quite some time. From the top spec AMG GT to the one you see here, the 2-door C43 variant. Does this relatively affordable AMG justify the extra badges? For that, we took the car for a spin from Mumbai’s traffic infested roads to the open sweeping curves and corners of Lonavala.
Design: Our test car came in a shade of red with ample silver inserts at places to break the monotony. The front end of the C43 is dominated by the horizontally divided twin-louvre grille which also houses the big ‘star’ logo in the middle. Look closely and you notice the AMG badge in here. The bumper is aggressive and gets a silver lower lip with twin horizontal slats on either sides, where a normal car would usually have the fog lamps. LED tech is standard and the lamps get sweeping DRLs on both the sides.
The side profile shows off the AMG-spec wheels with low profile Continental tyres. You also notice how low this car sits and the roof slopes down beautifully into the B pillar. The rear is what helps you show-off your choice of wheels. This part of the C43 reminds you of the earlier generation SLS AMG GT: the wrap around lamps, low and wide boot lid and of course the quad exhaust set-up. Those waiting in traffic behind you will have every reason to reach out for their phones.
Interiors: Getting inside the C43 calls for some effort. I won’t deny that. The black theme works well and is broken in parts by silver inserts and a very peculiar brown walnut color for the flowing central console. Similarity in design to the other Mercedes models is evident and there is are no shortcuts in terms of a premium touch. However, India does not get the 12.3-inch full driver info display that we see on international models and you can’t use touch reception to control the infotainment system. Time and again you have to remind yourself to use the controller knob under the touchpad. The seats however are good. Good in terms of comfort, touch & feel and the half leather - half suede treatment.
And while space up front is good for what is a sportscar, getting into the rear is difficult. The front seats do tumble up and slide ahead but still, you need to be reasonably fit to get in and out. But then, such cars aren’t about practicality and the legroom for rear ones will totally be on the mercy of the driver and co-driver. However, the ones seated in the 2nd row will definitely get to hear the exhaust growl much better.
Engine: Talking about the exhaust growl, the C43 comes with a 3.0-litre engine that gets a bi-turbo and has six cylinders in V configuration. V6 mills are known for their smooth nature and this one’s isn’t different. The C43 makes about 390 horses which by the way is more than double of what the normal C200 petrol manages. Peak torque stands at a staggering 520 Nm and comes in from as low as 2500 rpm.
The engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic and power can go down to all the four wheels whenever required. While filtering through Mumbai’s notorious traffic, it was best to leave the C43 in the ‘comfort’ mode that allowed it to upshift early to aid economy. However, once we hit the expressway, it was all down to the “Sport” mode and “Sport+” in the twisties. This last mode allows you to have fun with the C43, allowing the rear to step out for a fraction of a second before the electronics kick in.
We had about 3 to 4 tunnels on the way on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Windows down and pedal to metal, the C43 does roar hard and sounds well in the process. Low down in the rev range though, she more like an unsuspecting hunter, waiting to scream its lungs out when required.
In terms of outright punch, the C43 can do the 0-100 sprint in 4.7 seconds. That’s the time you took to read the last line! However, given the bumpy expressway ride thanks to usage of cement, I didn’t really push the C43 too hard. The twisties of Lonavala though were a different game all together. Read on!
Ride and handling: The ride part is a tough one. Blame it on the tyres that had been abused by journalists in the past or the suspension that is clearly geared towards sticking to the right line than absorbing undulations, the C43 can get uncomfortable over city roads. Delhi might be an exception but Mumbai turned out to be, well, tough for us.
However, all that is forgotten when you wish to play with it. The stretch from Lonavala to Amby Valley is a mix of short burst straights, elevation changes and curves that can give BIC a run for its money. Get used to the steering and you can literally grin from corner to corner in the C43. It is that good. Keep the revs up, let the exhaust notes reverberate through the valley and the C43 will chew up miles at a pace quick enough to challenge mid-capacity Superbikes. It is that good. Even the 4MATIC is rear biased!
Verdict: Priced just under Rs 80 lakh ex-showroom Delhi, the C43 locks horns with rivals like the Ford Mustang. It blends in Mercedes’s style statement, has enough oomph packed in and handles the way a Sportscar should. The ride ain’t the best and rear passengers will have every reason to swear on you but if you want thrills this side of the rupee one crore boundary, you know where to head to!