Mercedes-Benz has been really aggressive this year with 13 product launches. At the CLA facelift launch, Roland Folger, Managing Director, Mercedes-Benz India, announced that the German carmaker would end 2016 with a 'bang'. Few of us knew that this bang would be of a loud AMG car. The Mercedes-AMG C43 4MATIC was introduced on 14th December, 2016 and I got a chance to be behind the wheel to see what the loss of two cylinders (The AMG C43 comes with a twin-turbo V6 petrol motor) changes in an Aufrecht, Melcher and Großaspach (AMG) car.
Start the car and it roars up with the signature AMG 'soundtrack' coming out of the exhaust, later on settling down into a calm burble. Till the time the throttle is not pinned the note remains sedate and one might mistake this AMG to a stock car (if the badge is not seen). Incidentally, the last car I drove on the track was the AMG C63 and I loved for the mental split personality it had. In Comfort mode, the car would be sedate and poised as you would want on a public road, but at the flick of a button and a dab on the throttle, it would turn into a tyre-burning torque monster. But, the AMG C43 is powered by a twin-turbo V6 petrol motor, which made me think if it could be as aggressive as other AMG cars. On paper, it generates 367 hp of power and 527 Nm of torque. This engine is mated to a 9-speed dual-clutch 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission which sends power to all the wheels through the 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. This is unlike the C63 which is a rear wheel drive and thereby one could easily kick the tail of the sedan out.
So, initial assessment of the AMG C43 in terms of the numbers is impressive. As soon as I got behind the wheel, the AMG C43 looked similar to its siblings. Flat-bottomed steering wheel with audio and phone mounted controls, paddle shifters and switchgears for different functions like cruise control and gear shift lever.
While exiting the pit lane we were instructed to go through the first lap in Comfort mode and the next in Sport Plus. In the first lap, one could make out that the AMG C43, while being pushed hard into a corner didn't feel at home. The air suspension was relatively soft, translating into a bit of body roll. There was some understeer too, which was expected considering this is an all-wheel drive car. At the straight after turn 3, acceleration in the straight line was linear. While we drove the car only on track, these traits should lead to a comfortable ride on roads.
All these aspects, however, turned the 'Dr Jekyll' mode to 'Mr Hyde' when the Sport Plus mode was activated. Traction control can be turned off and theoretically, the car would drift aggressively despite an all-wheel-drive system. That is because 69 percent of the power goes to the rear wheels while only 31 percent goes upfront. If the sedan's electronics make out that the driver behind the wheel is losing control, the traction control would kick in again.
Coming to the parabola starting at turn 4, the instructor mentioned to keep the AMG C43 on the outside while exiting so that the next turn can be seen and accordingly, a mental note of the racing line can be made. After the chicane and later on the right and left hander, we were back on the front straight and as mentioned, the Sport Plus in the second lap told us that despite the lack of two cylinders, the 3.0 litre twin-turbo (2,996 cc) can be a fun to drive and quick car on a track day.
Overall, the two laps were a brief impression of what the C43 4MATIC from Mercedes-AMG's stable can do. And it comes as no surprise that it still has the split personality character like all AMGs, which will plaster an ear-to-ear grin on your face. If you are looking for a rocket-ship that can take your family on a weekend trip in reasonable comfort and satisfy your thirst for the race track, at Rs 74.30 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, the Mercedes-AMG C43 4MATIC is the car you should buy.