New Mercedes-AMG C43 pricing announced – and we took a spin at Zwartkops

Published Mar 7, 2023


By: Mpho Mahlangu

Pretoria – I was recently invited by Mercedes-Benz South Africa to its AMG Driving Academy at Zwartkops Raceway for a big announcement of their newest additions to their Friends of the Brand programme.

Also in store for us on the day would be a track experience in the all-new Mercedes-AMG C43, for which the brand announced a price tag of R1 608 810. As a reminder, the regular C-Class models are priced from R966 156 (C200) and R1 030 549 (C220d).

The day got under way with Mark Raine, the co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa, briefing the media and announcing the new Friends of the Brand, esteemed Springbok rugby players, Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am. Raine and his fellow management team expressed how proud they were of the successes of the two Springbok players who hail from the Eastern Cape.

As part of their partnership with Mercedes-Benz SA, Mapimpi and Am were each handed their own Mercedes-AMG C43 to drive for the next year.

With the formalities out of the way, it was time for us to be grouped in order to begin the track experience. I opted to begin with the skidpan session which would see me going up against a fellow media colleague around a slalom and gymkhana course. The winner gets bragging rights!

As a reminder, the Mercedes-AMG C43 employs a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine with technology derived from Formula 1. With the Race Start function engaged, a 0-100km/h acceleration of 4.6 seconds in the sports saloon is achieved, thanks to 300kW and 500Nm of torque at the disposal of my right foot. The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT (Multi-clutch transmission) 9G transmission is employed and takes care of its duties well.

Around the slalom and gymkhana course, the C43 handled with great aplomb. The sports saloon is fitted the AMG Performance 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive system with an AMG-specific torque distribution between the front and rear axles of 31 to 69%. The agility and sure-footedness of the system gave me enough confidence to tackle the course with speed and precision.

Going around a 360-degree turn on the course was a breeze, thanks to the rear-axle steering that operates with a maximum steering angle of 2.5-degrees, resulting in a shortened wheelbase.

The skidpan session, which I won, I may add, taught me how well the mechanical systems of the C43 work. The confidence inspired by the systems enables even the most novice drivers to feel like they are more capable than what they are.

Skidpan session completed, the next item on the agenda was taking the C43 around Zwartkops Raceway on some hot laps. Here, we would be able to get a sense of how the sports saloon handled at high speeds.

My AMG Driving Academy instructor hopped into the passenger seat of my chosen vehicle and after a short brief, we set off. With cones set out on the track by the instructors on where to position the saloon upon approach and exit of corners, my job of manning the vehicle was made easier.

Acceleration is a task the C43 excels at. On the start/finish straight, we clocked just under 200km/h with ease, before hitting the brakes hard for the braking point heading into turn 1. With a long sweeping left-hand turn, I was able to experience just how much grip the C43 possess. It felt as though I could be carrying much more speed than I was through the turn.

Braking, which is as equally important as acceleration, is achieved with ease by the C43, thanks to the AMG sports braking system that boasts internally ventilated and perforated brake discs measuring 370 x 36mm with 4-piston callipers at the front axle and discs measuring 320 x 24mm with 1-piston floating callipers at the rear.

Turn 2, a somewhat tighter turn, was another great opportunity to experience the rear-axle steering. I could argue that the C43 goes around turns like a small hot hatch does. At speeds of more than 100km/h, the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the front wheels, up to a maximum of 0.7-degrees. This extends the wheelbase, thus increasing stability and resulting in a more direct reaction to steering commands of the saloon.

With a great day of track driving completed, we can look forward to further testing the Mercedes-AMG C43 4MATIC over a longer period. Noteworthy, the all-new sports saloon is available in South Africa, with a starting price of R1 608 810. This includes a PremiumDrive 5-year/100 000km maintenance plan.

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