Tested: Mercedes-AMG C43 is understated but not overrated
“Boet, you’re going to love that car, I reckon it’s the best in their entire range,” he enthused.
He’s a bit of an anorak when it comes to things like that, so I was looking forward to my time behind the wheel of the black machine.
You also know that when the Germans put an AMG badge on any of their cars they mean business. And this C43 fits the profile perfectly.
The beauty of this AMG is that it’s perfectly understated, no massive scoops, wings or strips of flashy chrome, it just creeps up on a wannabe and devours it, without raising a sweat.
The only give away is a menacing grill, with a strip across it, boasting the famous three pointed star and an AMG logo. Take a walk around the car and you’ll see Bi-Turbo 4Matic signs and a proper set of AMG alloys, while at the back it’s a bit more of a give away with two pairs of exhausts that make a magnificent symphony of sound.
The burble is provided courtesy of a 3.0-litre V6 engine, fitted with two turbos, and is good for 287kW and 520Nm of torque, providing power to all four wheels through a seamless nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Move the driving mode to Sport+ and, because there’s no launch control, put your left foot on the brake, push the loud pedal and, after a short hesitation, it will lunge forward effortlessly - with a beautiful howl coming from the back and, according to Mercedes, get to 100km/h in under five seconds.
That’s quick any way you look at it, and it’s not the thump-you-in-the-chest kind of pull away either. The gearbox is imminently suited to the set-up as it picks up speed and goes through the gears.
Gearing down is another reason to keep it in hooligan mode with the snap, crackle and pop as you blip up and down on the paddles, keeping a constant smile on your face.
There are other driving mode options because, while you play at making noise, it guzzles fuel like a student at a brandy special evening - to the tune of 17L/100km. Comfort should get you around 13L/100km while you also have the option of Sport, Individual and, also, for slippery snow covered roads.
The cabin, as you would expect, is refined - with quality leather, soft touch surfaces and a flat bottomed steering wheel from where you can control most settings. The seats have a wonderful body hugging shape and you’ll need it when you fly in and out of corners, with an almost perfect suspension set up, in whatever mode you’re in.
Chatting to a friend, he was raving about the C43’s bigger sibling the C63 AMG and how fantastic it is.
There’s nothing wrong with a 4.0 litre twin turbo V8, believe me, but it’s almost too much car, if such a thing is possible.
I look at it in boxing parlance, and forgive me if I give away my age. The C43 AMG is a bit like the glory days when the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler graced the ring, giving true meaning to the “sweet science”.
They bobbed, weaved and danced around the ring gracefully, all the while entertaining millions of people around the globe.
The C63 is more Mike Tyson, coming at you with everything it has, always looking for a knock-out and exploiting any weakness you may have - and then delivering a menacing killer blow.
That’s not a bad thing mind you, but you get the idea, the C43 AMG is a perfect blend of speed, power, control, refinement and, my friend was right, I loved it.
And, at just over R1 million, it’s not stupid money either.