I will admit it — I wasn’t the primary particular person to leap up with pleasure when Mercedes-AMG introduced that it might be incorporating a second, decrease tier of efficiency autos. AMGs, to me, have at all times stood as wild variants of otherwise-sedate luxurious automobiles with immensely highly effective engines.

When AMG introduced the -43 lineup, packing turbocharged V6 engines, I clutched each pearl I might get my fingers on.

However then I drove one, and I grew out of that section. Whereas they might not pack the identical outlandish sound and really feel because the -63 lineup, the AMG -43s are nonetheless boatloads of enjoyable, providing just-crazy-enough efficiency with comparable trimmings at a cheaper price level. Sounds good on paper, and feels good in meatspace.

Which brings us to the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe. This automobile shouldn’t be let down by its engine, nor its inside, nor its look. It is a superb sports activities coupe that simply so occurs to be completely related to one of many least comfy suspension setups I’ve ever had the privilege of experiencing from a luxurious producer.

Aggressive, however not attempting too arduous

Simply because the C43 is a mid-tier AMG, its aesthetics are barely aggressive, however not overly so. In comparison with a typical C300 Coupe, the C43 has angrier entrance and rear bumpers, black mirror caps and black window surrounds. Our tester had the $200 Night time Bundle, which blacks out the entrance wing, rear diffuser insert and tailpipes, too, which was a pleasant contact for not a variety of dough.

Our tester additionally carried a superb shade of white paint — Designo Diamond White — nevertheless it comes with a $1,515 premium. For white paint that is solely barely totally different than the free white paint. 

Issues had been equally monochromatic inside. The inside was largely black, with seats created from Mercedes’ MB-Tex vinyl that feels higher than some mid-range automakers’ leather-based. Pink stitching on the seats and inside trim was a pleasant contact, and whereas gloss black appears to be like premium, I do not prefer it as a result of all it does is spotlight fingerprints.

The inside appears to be like good, nevertheless it feels a bit compact up entrance. The seats within the again are like these within the Toyota 86 or Porsche 911 — good for very young children, or parcels, however by no means for adults. The panoramic sunroof helped alleviate among the claustrophobia, nevertheless it was nonetheless a bit tight for a six-foot-tall driver like myself.

If you may get previous the compactness, it is a quite good place to plant your tuchus.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Hustle worthy of the badge, however the experience…

The actual gem of this automobile is its engine — a three.Zero-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 placing down 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is commonplace, as is a nine-speed computerized. All three of those elements work collectively in concord, offering greater than ample traction because the V6 grunts and snorts its approach down the road, flicking by way of the gears easily sufficient as to be almost imperceptible.

Should you aren’t going to row by way of the gears your self with the shift paddles, leaving the transmission in Consolation mode might be finest, until you want unnecessarily excessive revs at commuting speeds — Sport is okay, however Sport+ holds revs for a lot too lengthy in regular driving conditions.

That mixture would not elicit the very best gas financial system, both — the C43 is rated at 20 mpg metropolis and 28 mpg freeway. A lightweight foot will hold you on par with the freeway estimate, however I used to be seeing nearer to 15 within the metropolis. Then once more, I used to be additionally having enjoyable, which tends to have a destructive impact on mpg.

Brake pedal really feel is grabby however constant, and the steering ratio is fast. It feels lithe always, like a canine that is simply raring so that you can throw the ball so he could make the soar to hyperspace attempting to catch it.

There’s one a part of the automobile that I want wasn’t so keen, and that is the suspension. It is harsh, nearly punishingly so. It would not matter which of the three modes the suspension is about to — even in Consolation, the experience is brittle and uncomfortable on any pavement that is not completely . Since that sort of pavement would not exist in Michigan, it was an extended week.

A few of that may be attributed to our tester’s non-compulsory 19-inch wheels ($850) and low-profile summer time tires. Sticking with the 18-inch wheels that include the automobile ought to afford some respite to your vertebrae. Should you aren’t taking it to the observe or a glass-smooth again street, do your physique a favor and depart it in Consolation mode.

Hold a chiropractor on name.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Hit-or-miss tech

Mercedes-Benz has all kinds of technical gadgetry, and your expertise will largely rely on how a lot cash you’re feeling like throwing at your supplier. Our tester had what I’d take into account the center floor of tech.

The non-compulsory $2,650 Premium 2 bundle offers the C43 SiriusXM-based site visitors and climate, a touch-capable infotainment controller, energy folding mirrors, an electronically operated trunk and ambient lighting. If security techniques are your cling, you may need to shell out $5,550(!) for the Premium three bundle, which provides adaptive cruise management, lane-keep help and all that good things.

That is not shocking for Mercedes-Benz, even when you may get a few of that stuff on a Toyota with out paying an additional penny. No less than computerized braking is commonplace.

Mercedes-Benz has a number of totally different iterations of its COMAND infotainment system. When you’ve gotten two huge 12-inch screens, it is nice. When it is all jammed right into a single eight.Four-inch display screen, not a lot. The menus are often complicated, internet-connected providers are hit-or-miss at finest, and the touchpad controller by no means appears to determine what I am attempting to have it do.

The infotainment system is good, however this particular mixture feels a bit outdated in 2017.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

How I might spec it

The C43 Coupe begins at $55,900, however you in all probability will not cease there. Nor must you, if you would like your automobile loaded with some extent of creature comforts. And I am a weirdo, so my private C43 carries some additional frippery that I really feel enhances the expertise.

I opted for $720 Dakota Brown paint, saving a bit of cash over the costlier Designo Diamond White our tester had. I might keep on with the aesthetically pleasing $200 AMG Night time Bundle, too. Inside, a $325 black ash wooden trim improve removes the annoying-to-me gloss black trim. I might additionally exchange the pink seatbelts with black ones, as a result of pink is just too flashy for me.

I’d spend $1,Zero90 for the Parking Help bundle that provides ultrasonic parking sensors, as a result of I like that additional little bit of safety. I might plunk down $2,200 for the Multimedia Bundle, which confers all of the infotainment-related upgrades from the Premium 2 Bundle.

I might cap it off with the $1,250 sports activities exhaust, as a result of it is an AMG and it deserves to be as loud as humanly doable. That leaves me with a price ticket of $62,680 (together with $995 for vacation spot), which is just a pair hundred bucks greater than our tester.

It bears mentioning that Mercedes solely has the 2018 C43 Coupe out there for constructing on its web site, which is the instrument I used. Thus, costs and packages have seemingly modified barely in comparison with our tester. Should you’re shopping for pre-owned or from supplier inventory, you will not be capable of pick-and-choose many choices, anyway. Should you can wait, I might advocate ordering one straight from the manufacturing facility to make sure it is precisely the way you need it.

If a sports activities exhaust is on the market, it’s best to get it, it doesn’t matter what automobile it’s.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Right down to brass tacks

The C43 is a mid-tier sports activities coupe, and thus, solely actually competes towards automakers who created comparable choices. It is maybe closest to the Audi S5 coupe, which is just a little cheaper at $54,600. The S5 has extra energy however much less torque, and it additionally comes commonplace with computerized braking. It is extra environment friendly in each metropolis and freeway driving, too.

Its different chief competitor is the Infiniti Q60. Go for the top-tier Pink Sport 400 trim, and also you get a 400-horsepower V6 and all-wheel drive for a beginning worth of $54,000. It is almost equal by way of gas financial system, nevertheless it falls wanting the Mercedes with regards to inside high quality and infotainment.

The BMW 440i Coupe xDrive is just a quasi-competitor. Its beginning worth is shut at $51,700, and it is extra environment friendly than even the S5, however its six-cylinder output is missing at 320 hp and 330 torques. It is not likely marketed as a correct sporty factor, both. It is only a 430i with a bigger engine.

Should you’re keen to plunk down an additional $10,000 on the automobile’s base worth as a substitute of choices, the world opens up with some further competitors. The Cadillac ATS-V Coupe begins at $64,790, however its V6 places out a rip-snorting 464 hp and 445 torques, and you may even get it in a handbook. The Lexus RC F is in that very same worth vary, and its V8 packs 467 hp.

If, after you’ve got completed cross purchasing, you are still hell-bent on the C43, you will not be let down. It is an excellent drive surrounded by some very fetching sheet steel. If you may get previous the spine-jarring experience — or, for those who dwell close to the smoothest roads on earth — it is nearly nothing however upsides.

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