The car I drove was a black sedan fitted with model specific wheels and a slightly more aggressive AMG body kit. To the untrained eye, it came across as any other sporty C-class. Now though, AMG has chopped the roof off and I found myself with the keys in my hand once again.
I really do like the C43 because it is an unassuming car. It does not shout about its performance credentials, which, thanks to a 3.0-litre V6 bi-turbocharged engine, it has quite a bit of.
The engine develops 270kW/520Nm and for the first time on a South African-spec C-class, sends it to all four wheels via the brand's 4MATIC all-wheel drive system, which gives it a rather quick 0-100km/h time of five seconds. The C43 is also fitted with a 9G-Tronic gearbox as well as various driving modes which can be customised to suit driver preferences.
A mode for everything
When the car is in normal Comfort mode, it really comes across as any other C-class. There is absolutely no drama. Put it into Sport or better yet, Sport + and things change. The car comes alive, the engine becomes responsive and the exhaust pops and howls. It gives a sound similar to that made by some V6 Jaguar models, which is not a bad thing at all.
Drop the top
As mentioned, the C43 I drove was the cabriolet, which means that when the weather is just right, one can remove the roof in a matter of seconds and enjoy not only the car but a million miles of headroom. Oh, and that wonderful exhaust note is now even more audible.
Interior as comfortable as it is sporty
To better the experience, one can expect an elegantly flowing interior which looks as inviting as it does sporty. My test car was fitted with a matte grey wood finish, black leather and contrasting red stitching, red seat belts as well as aluminium inserts. Unlike the sporty bucket seats found in the C63, the C43 is fitted with more comfort-orientated seats.
As for the infotainment setup, my tester came fitted with the now familiar Mercedes-Benz Comand system which is easy to use and offers all the must-have connectivity features.
On the road, the C43 is aimed at offering a more comfortable drive than the lap-time crushing, white-knuckle experience of the C63. As I’ve mentioned before, it is somewhat difficult to tell this car apart from other C-class models. Put your foot down though and that definitely changes.
It is rather rapid and thanks to the grip from the 4MATIC system, it is able to attack corners. I will say that the Cabriolet does feel a bit heavier and not as sharp as its sedan sibling. Regardless of this, the car still delivered a compliant and enjoyable driving experience.
My money, however, would be to look over the allure of a cabriolet and get the sedan. It’s more practical and because of its subdued looks, it won’t arouse much attention, until you get to the traffic lights that is.
The Mercedes-AMG C43 is the ideal stealth mobile. It goes up against the BMW 340i and Audi S4, which both have less power. If you are looking for a wolf in sheep’s clothing, then the C43 should be on your list.