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First drive: Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-AMG.

First drive: Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet
Less is more when it comes to the Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet.

 



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Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet

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With four-wheel drive and two less cylinders than its C 63 AMG relation, the Mercedes-AMG C 43 proves that it's not always about peak output and stopwatch times, as this car adds some real-world usability to the AMG offering.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet
Price: from 46,280
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 biturbo petrol
Transmission: nine-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body style: two-door, four-seat convertible
CO2 emissions: 194g/km (Band J, 265 per year)
Combined economy: 34.0mpg
Top speed: 155mph (electronically limited)
0-62mph: 4.8 seconds
Power: 367hp at 5,500- to 6,000rpm
Torque: 520Nm at 2,000- to 4,200rpm

What's this?

The new Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet in AMG-lite form, a relation of the bonkers C 63, packing a couple less cylinders and a pair of additional driveshafts. Worry not; AMG's not gone all soft; it might have four-wheel drive - and a V6 instead of a V8 - but that 4Matic system has been set up to predominantly drive to the rear, and the V6 has a pair of turbos attached to it to produce a not insubstantial 367hp. That was once enough to denote flagship status, so while it might lack the C 63's 476hp output (or 510hp from the full beans S), it's still quick, 62mph arriving in 4.8 seconds, for example - or just 0.6 seconds less than the C 63. It looks all but identical and sounds great, which all makes you wonder why you might spend the extra...

How does it drive?

The V8 engine in the C 63 makes a compelling argument to do so, but the V6 biturbo in the C 43 isn't a poor relation in reality. It sounds magnificent, even more so with the sports exhaust in its loudest setting. The performance isn't lacking either, the V6 biturbo's response is good, working well in conjunction with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Admittedly, all those ratios do mean you're busy with the paddles if you take over control yourself, but that's arguably part of the fun. AMG specific suspension, largely carried over from the C 63, ups the control and agility, improving the steering response yet not being overly detrimental to the ride comfort. The C 43 can carry its speed then, even on some quite challenging roads. Indeed, in that respect it's more controlled and useable than its rear-driven C 63 relation, which gets a bit unruly on less than smooth roads, or when there's some rain added to the mix.

At no point driving the C 43 will you every likely want for power. It's fast and the reassurance of the 4Matic allows you to up its pace on testing roads. It doesn't feel like it has four-wheel drive, the chassis neutral to rear-biased, though traction (in streaming rain on day two of the launch event) is enhanced, allowing the C 43's power to be used to good effect. The steering is a marked improvement on the standard C-Class Cabriolet's, upping directness, bringing fine weighting and delivering real accuracy, if not masses of feel. It's a capable car, then, which is engaging, arguably more so with the roof stowed to enjoy the sound of those tailpipes. The Cabriolet is commendably stiff, not losing out too much in torsion, or behind the wheel to its coupe relation. It's heavy though (as is the coupe) with a 1,870kg kerb weight, though it hides its bulk well, not just against the clock, but on the road, dynamically.

Verdict

Less is very much more here. The C 43 might lack the fireworks drama of the C 63, but is a more useable and enjoyable all-rounder as a result. It works particularly well in Cabriolet guise, where it's less likely to be bought by hooligans looking for a track weapon. A quick drive in the C 43 Coupe underlined it's good there, too. The C 43 really does have the potential to upset the AMG hierarchy in the C-Class range, certainly in terms of desirability, if not on outright numbers. That it's usefully cheaper only adds to its appeal.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 22 Jun 2016









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2016 Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2016 Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2016 Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2016 Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2016 Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-AMG.

2016 Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2016 Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2016 Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2016 Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2016 Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes-AMG.








 

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