MERCEDES-AMG has pulled the covers off the C43 4Matic version of its W206-series C-Class medium model. The sporty variant is visually differentiated from its bread-and-butter brethren by a restyled front bumper, Panamerica-style grille, black window-frame garnish, quad exhausts, boot lip spoiler and restyled 18-, 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels.
But, most importantly, it’s the Formula 1 inspired mechanical package of the newest C43 that commands the most attention.
Powered by an electrified version of Benz’s M139L (for longitudinally set) turbocharged four-cylinder unit – which debuted recently in the SL43 – the C43 makes an impressive 300kW at 6750 rpm and 500Nm at 5000rpm, with a further 10kW available on overboost.
The sedan version of the C43 is claimed to accelerate from zero to 100km/h in just 4.6 seconds, while the ‘wagon is said to take a tenth of a second longer. Top speed is limited to 250km/h, or 265km/h with the optional AMG Driver’s Package.
The C43 is the first series-production engine to feature a 48V electric exhaust gas turbocharger, a design the Affalterbach-based brand says, “guarantees practically spontaneous response across the entire rev range”.
Despite the staggering output figure, the C43 can return a fuel consumption figure as low as 8.7 litres per 100km on the combined cycle with associated CO2 emissions of just 196 grams per kilometre, Mercedes-AMG says.
The all-wheel-drive C43 is equipped with AMG’s Speedshift MCT 9G transmission replete with wet start-off clutch. The AMG Performance 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive system is capable of splitting torque front-to-rear in a 31:69 ratio, and is aided further by a Race Start function, standard rear-wheel steering, AMG Ride Control suspension with adaptive damping, three-stage stability control system, three-stage steering adjustment and five-mode (Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual) driving control system.
Mercedes-AMG says the rear-biased configuration of the C43’s driveline “provides for enhanced dynamic handling, including higher lateral acceleration and improved traction when accelerating”.
The C43 sedan and ‘wagon is fitted as standard with the AMG sports braking system (the brake calipers are finished in silver with black AMG lettering). Up front, the internally ventilated and cross-drilled 370mm rotors are clamped by four-piston fixed callipers, while the 320mm rear discs are arrested by single-piston floating-style clamps.
The intensity of the AMG exhaust system’s aural output depends on which drive mode is selected. However, it may be enhanced with the optional AMG Real Performance Sound, which is said to pick up the engine sound (through a sensor in the exhaust system) and feed it into the cabin “for a particularly emotive sound experience.”
Meanwhile, the C43’s interior sports the usual AMG accoutrements, such as combination Artico and Microcut upholstery over sports seats, a D-shaped AMG Performance steering wheel in Nappa leather, aluminium gearshift paddles and AMG sports pedals.
The standard MBUX infotainment array includes various AMG-specific displays/functions and is capable of recoding more than 80 vehicle-specific data sets, including speed, acceleration, steering angle and brake-pedal actuation 10 times per second while the C43 is being driving around a racetrack – perfect for honing those track-day skills!
“The C-Class has always been an absolute success story for Mercedes-AMG. With the innovative technology of the electric exhaust gas turbocharger, we are once again significantly increasing the attractiveness of this latest generation,” said Mercedes-AMG chairman, Phillip Schiemer.
“The new turbocharging system and 48V on-board electrical system not only contribute to the driving dynamics of the C43 4Matic, but also improve its efficiency. In this way, we are demonstrating the tremendous potential that lies in electrified combustion engines. The standard all-wheel drive(train), the active rear-axle steering and the quick-shifting transmission all serve to enhance the Driving Performance that is the hallmark of AMG.”