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Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe 4MATIC

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While the Mercedes-AMG C43 might present as a soft option compared to the mighty C63 Coupe, it is in fact an excellent value sportscar.

Straight out of Affalterbach, comes the new Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe. The high powered C-Class Coupe is the latest addition to the AMG family and forms the bridge between the sporty C300 and the all-out apex predator C63.

Under the svelte hood, lies a new 3.0-litre biturbo V6 that puts out a class-leading 287kw and 520nm of torque. But the biggest news is a first for Mercedes in this segment, with the addition of their much lauded 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system, with a rear-biased torque distribution of 31 to 69 percent. Coupled with a new 9-speed automatic transmission, the C43 is a strong performer, bolting out of the blocks and despatching the 100kph marker in just 4.6 seconds whilst powering its way to an electronically limited top speed of 250kph. Whilst possessing benchmark performance figures, as with all new Mercedes models, efficiency is key, and the C43 doesn’t disappoint returning a claimed average fuel consumption of just 8.0l/100kms.

The car being a Mercedes-AMG model, is naturally endowed with a more aggressive look, thanks to the AMG styling, a twin-louvre grill up front and larger wheels, showing that the C43 means business. Twin pipes exit on either side of a rear diffuser and give off a very meaty and racy tone. No artificial sounds here, just pure AMG goodness. Compared with the C300, it features a modified chassis setup, a sports suspension with AMG Ride Control selectable three-stage adaptive variable damping, a sports-tuned steering system, and larger brakes. And thanks to the rev-matching downshifts, it makes all the right noises - enough to put a huge grin on any face.

While it may be giving away up to 63kw and 130nm to its AMG sibling the C43 never feels underwhelming in the performance stakes. Instead it offers up a very different, but arguably no less impressive, driving character to give Mercedes customers a new AMG experience. Whereas the C63 is a brutal machine, with gobs of power than is really necessary and an edgy rear-wheel drive chassis, the C43 is an easier and more relaxing car to drive quickly. And in some cases more rewarding, especially on a wet country road.

The C43 has a stunning interior almost indistinguishable from the C63 – both lavish and sporty - complete with the chunky flat-bottomed steering wheel and affixed alloy paddles. While lateral sport seating, designo red safety belts, and checkered‑flag design details reinforce its overall motor racing flair. You can even spec identical Recaro bucket seats from the baddest C-Class. All the bells and whistle are there too, but the only option that isn’t available is the IWC Schaffhausen analog dash clock, a feature limited to the C63 models.

South Africa's love affair with AMG is no secret. We are buying Mercedes' high-performance models in record numbers these days. And with that comes a slew of new model offerings. The Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe will be soon joined by a cabriolet and sedan variant. Priced from R981 536, it represents somewhat of a performance bargain relative to its big bad brother C63, and while on paper it might appear trounced it terms of pure output, the C43 impresses with a very unique and special personality that makes it a perfect everyday sports car. Call it, the best of both worlds.

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