2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 First Look Review: A Car You Didn't Ask For But Needed All Along

First Look

More of a mimosa than tequila sunrise.

In an effort to continue and make every possible iteration of the automobile, which the company invented in 1885, Mercedes-Benz has detailed that it will be making changes to its C450 AMG. That car is basically a C-Class with the equivalent of a BMW M Sport package, and not only will it now come in two-door form, but Mercedes will be debuting the powertrain with the C43 AMG moniker on both a coupe, and for the first time ever on a C-Class, a cabriolet.

Until now, the least expensive drop-top Mercedes that could be called “sporty” was the two-seater SLK roadster. Apparently, Mercedes wanted a convertible for those who haven’t yet hit a midlife crisis and a coupe for speed-lovers on a moderate budget, so its only right that the company mentioned that it wants the C43 AMG to be “sporty and youthful.” To help distinguish this AMG lite from the big dog C63 AMG and the lesser C400, the C43 gets a mix of AMG wheels and red stitching on the inside but less AMG badges. The body has also been to anger management because it gets a shrunken version of the C63’s spoiler as well as its front end that has learned how to count to ten when BMW Ms agitate it.

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Contrary to what a rational person might believe, the “43” part of the C43 AMG name has nothing to do with engine size. Instead, Mercedes thought that the number 43 would sound a lot more AMGish since “C43” sounds pretty close to the name “C63.” Despite the new name and the two-door body, the drivetrain of the C43 AMG should be pretty similar to the C450 AMG that it replaces. This means a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 that doles out 362 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. A launch from 0-60 should take about 4.7 seconds on the way to a 155 mph top speed. To harness all of this power, a three-setting adjustable suspension allows for multiple driving styles.

Owners can choose to ride on a cloud using comfort mode, do spirited driving on winding roads in sport mode, or go balls to the wall in sport plus. Added touches like a climate control system that adapts settings to open top or closed top driving on the cabrio allows drivers to pilot their cars year round according to Mercedes, although it may be underestimating the weather in some places. Other toys include semi-autonomous driving capabilities like collision prevention, an infotainment center that uses Mercedes’ COMAND system, voice recognition, which will be fun to mess with when you have the top down and V6 growling, and five different transmission settings starting at ECO and ending at Sport plus.

As much as we like to poke fun at Mercedes’ tendency to try and make more varieties of car than there are grains of sand on earth, both the C43 coupe and cabrio should make excellent cars for those who like to do some spirited driving without constantly wagging the car’s tail. Besides, capping this mid-level sports car at 362 horsepower should help avoid some drivers who can’t handle power from ending up as the laughing stock of the internet.

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