The Mercedes-Benz C-Class has long been a halo model in SA, and probably makes up the bulk of it’s sales. Selling over 450 000 units Globally in 2017, it is one of the most popular models. It recently had some refinements done, and we had the range topping C43 AMG for test.
The new C-Class has a strong South African flavour: it’s built in Mercedes-Benz East London plant. Mercedes-Benz recently announced the investment of R10-billion to significantly expand the C-Class production plant in East London and to equip it for the future. The decision to have the new generation of C-Class (W206) in East London re-affirms the plant and Mercedes-Benz commitment to South Africa.
This model is an undisputed performance model, and it offers no apologies for the roar that emanates from it’s twin exhausts, when driving down a road. The version we drove was a 5-door Coupe, with sunroof, so we had that open to the elements, during the heatwave in Jozi. Always drawing admiring glances, and sometimes a raised eyebrow at the sound, it certainly is an evocative model.
The C-Class has a redesigned front end, which feature new headlamps & tail lamps. The grille is a diamond design, which is standard for the AMG, and has front & rear bumpers that are designed according to model and which equipment has been selected.
It has new electronics, and safety & drive systems, in line with the range-topping S-Class model. The Coupe & Cabriolet has added more sales in this segment. Brand new LED high performance lamps give it a striking appearance, and the sloping roof line further suggests the sporty nature of the car.
Into the Cabin.
The interior has also been given a facelift. The sporty interior’s centre console is characterised by an elegant flowing trim element, with the option of new materials: open-pore brown walnut or open-pore anthracite oak. The new Multicontour Seat package now literally offers a massage: the side bolsters and lumbar support can be individually adjusted by means of an electrically driven pneumatic pump, with a massage effect in the lumbar area available through air chambers which are inflated and deflated in a pulsing motion.
The car’s new display concept includes an optional, fully-digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster, and the upgraded infotainment system includes standard smartphone integration that can be accessed through touch-sensitive controls in the steering wheel, which respond to swiping motions like the screen of a smartphone. The operation of DISTRONIC and cruise control with controls directly on the steering wheel is another new feature.
All knobs and buttons are close to hand, and are easy to use. Comfort is still key in the C43 AMG, and the racing seats are snug, as well as comfy, the red seat belts, give a sporty feel, as does the Sports steering wheel, with gear shift paddles on the sides. It has a sizeable boot for transporting luggage as well.
The C Class comes with a host of engine options, but we drove the C 43 AMG, which boasts the 3.0 L V6 Biturbo engine, which pushes out 287kw & 520Nm of torque between 2500 & 5000 rpm. This gives you a rush of adrenalin, second to none, and shoots you from 0 to 100km/h in 4.7 exhilarating seconds.
It has 5 modes to choose from, namely: Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport plus & Individual, so you can tailor your experience according to your driving talent level, and what you want to experience. It is quite a thirsty model, especially when driven in the Sport modes, and driven hard. But we used a tank over a week at approx. 11L/100km.
Your top end speed is governed to 250km/h Basically the C43 AMG with it’s advanced drive systems, is a dream to drive, with superior handling & cornering( I was lucky enough to test on the Zwartkops track) and you almost always, within reason, feel in control.
Another new feature is the automatic notification if the vehicle suffers an impact caused by another vehicle when parked, is towed away or there is a break-in attempt. The highly sensitive sensors of the standard “Anti-theft alarm system (ATA)” can detect such situations and immediately send a “push notification” message to the Mercedes me App.
The C43 AMG will set you back:
Mercedes-AMG C43 Vehicle Pricing:
Sedan Coupe Cabriolet
R948,500 R983,500 R1,100,000
Summing up our test, the Mercedes C43 AMG model is arguably one of the most driveable performance models, at 278kw, quite manageable, as opposed to the C63 AMG which is over 400kw, and can become very unruly, if the talent level is not there. Certainly one of the more enjoyable tests in a while.