The world was introduced to the boisterous C43 in 2016, positioned as a younger sibling of the C63. Back then, I’d thumb through reviews, blinking in disbelief at the V6 configuration that packed a punch some V8s would be proud of. Cut to 2019 and here I am, running my fingers along the sloping spine of the 2019 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe, fresh from a test ride that has taught me a lot more about a car with character.
So, what is it that gives the AMG C43 the character that I vouch for? Its looks, for one. The two-door format doesn’t miss the sloping roof and the C43 wears a gracious descent as its roof. At the rear, a sporty, integrated spoiler. The LED tail lamps fit natively into the body, making it look seamless. The four rear exhausts are split into pairs on either side, with metallic tips and diffusers slotted in between them. The Sport Exhaust System on the C43 enables you to influence the sound of your drive and can be adjusted by switching the driving modes. Mercedes has done a fine job of making the design of the C43 seem effortless with fewer lines, which by no means compromise the sportiness or leave it overcooked. The standard 18-inch wheels look great, with AMG branding in and around it. The sides proudly announce the 4MATIC configuration.
Upfront, the C43 remains consistent with C Class aesthetics. The front grille is clearly the highlight here and that sets it apart from its siblings with a horizontally-divided twin-louvre style. It is Mercedes’ signature Panamericana grille that sits behind the division with yet another stamp of AMG across its face. The adaptive Multibeam LED headlamps boast of a throw of 650 meters, which is great if you’re slightly heavy on the pedal, and even if not, they are a boon for our unpredictable road conditions.
Stepping into the cabin greeted me with a familiar Mercedes embrace, which is unfailingly welcoming and tended to my comfort. The doors open to fine leather insides and the slim and sexy AMG flat-bottomed steering wheel. The instrument cluster is neat and set rather deep into the dash. A 10.25-inch touchscreen hosts Mercedes’ COMAND infotainment system, which supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Sports seats are made with Artico man-made leather and bear the AMG badge. The driver’s seat can be electrically adjusted, thanks to the 12-way adjustment system. The adjustment system dwells among the door controls and can be leveraged to adjust the seats according to the natural curvature of your spine. Everything seemed perpetually well lit within the car as I took it out for a spin in the noon and the wide, panoramic sunroof just spilled ample natural light into the interiors. A red band shows up persistently and it’s everywhere, from the insides of the door to the seatbelt and even the seams on the fabric.
Everything, from the driving controls to the entertainment and temperature controls, can be accessed from a touchpad controller. It can even understand your handwriting, thus making it a handy text input tool as well. And finally, the interiors spoil you with 64-colour options for ambient lighting and a cool interior light package for night drives.
While the 2019 C43 AMG nails the style and comfort demands of the urban Indian, the real deal lies in driving it. As soon as you push the start button, you feel the sleeping beast grunt to life. It is powered by a V6 bi-turbo engine that is designed and tuned to perfection by AMG. The AMG Speedshift-TCT 9-speed transmission with a double-declutching function (when downshifting) makes it quite the dominant entity on the tarmac. What you get is a max torque of 520Nm and power of up to 390PS. It comes with the promise of going from stationary to 100 kmph in an impressive 4.7 seconds!
The driving modes are truly impressive, and I could feel this manifested in the way the car responded across varying terrains. The modes are Slippery, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. Thanks to the AMG Ride Control suspension system, you have the power to control the way your car behaves, be it on a race track or on a traffic-clogged city road.
Switching the modes is a breeze and can be done from the AMG steering wheel.
I loved manoeuvring the C43 in the Comfort Mode, where the engine let out a less aggressive grunt, simply because I didn’t want to catch all the attention from the sound itself. But this was within the confines of the city. Once I hit the open highways, there were starkly different choices that I made.
It’s here that I got the suspension to tighten up, something that was evident from the way the steering wheel began to respond. The Sport Mode was efficient in keeping me glued to the road, even as I mastered some of the most treacherous turns along the rain-soaked ghats outside Mumbai.
If you’re looking to drive the fastest coupe in town, then the C43 is not for you. It’s definitely got the ability to give some of its compatriots a run for their money, but the C43 AMG is a car for someone who seeks character. It isn’t hardworking in style or in configuration. For a sports car enthusiast one can describe the experience of driving the C43 AMG as a coming-of-age moment. Here’s a car that rubs off its sheer attitude to its owner