Mercedes-AMG has unveiled the first of its fettled versions of the new C-Class.
The mid-strength Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic will be in Australia during the first quarter of 2023, featuring a version of the mild-hybrid turbo four-cylinder engine used in the SL 43 convertible.
A development of the engine debuted in the AMG A45 S hot hatch, the 2.0-litre unit in the C43 pumps out 300kW of power and 500Nm of torque. It replaces the 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 in the current model.
The turbocharger is still driven by the engine’s exhaust gases, but it can be electrically boosted by the 48V mild-hybrid system to free up a further 10kW when the driver buries their right foot.
It’s sent to all four wheels through a nine-speed multi-clutch transmission. The 100km/h sprint takes just 4.6 seconds, and flat out you’ll be doing 265km/h.
In its default setting, the all-wheel drive system sends 69 per cent of the engine’s torque to the rear axle for a more natural rear-wheel drive feeling.
Under the skin, the C43 features rear-wheel steering as standard. The system turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts to tighten the turning circle and sharpen up turn-in, and steers them in the same direction at higher speeds to make the car feel more stable.
Adaptive dampers are also standard, with three modes ranging from Comfort to Sport Plus.
Combined with variable-ratio steering, a powertrain that can be sharpened or relaxed through a range of drive modes, and the adaptive rear steer system, the C43 is a car that can be tailored to commute or carve corners.
370mm front and 320m rear brakes are tasked with slowing the C43, hiding behind 18-inch alloy wheels with spindly spokes.
Those wheels are part of an exterior package that’s classic Mercedes-AMG. The grille and more aggressive lower air intakes are designed to help this car stand out from the regular C-Class range, but it still leaves room for the muscled-up C63 and its more powerful plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Down back, there’s a racier diffuser and more prominent exhaust finishers than on the C300 we’ve already reviewed.
Inside, the C43 features a set of AMG bucket seats, along with the option for plenty of red highlights.
The interior is heavily inspired by the S-Class and offers a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and an11.9-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system.
The screen is tilted towards the driver by six degrees and runs the second generation of MBUX, and supports over-the-air updates and features a fingerprint scanner for unlocking.
The C43 represents the start of the AMG C-Class range. It’ll soon enough gain a plug-in hybrid big brother in the form of the C63, which is ditching its characterful V8 engine.
From a base of 330kW of power, the fettled M139 engine can be combined with an electric motor developing up to 150kW and 320Nm of torque, though combined power and torque figures have yet to be released.
Mercedes-AMG says the total power and torque from this new electrified powertrain will surpass current “comparable” models with non-hybrid V8 engines.