Mercedes made a fighter to take on the BMW M2

The Geneva Motor Show kicks is just a week away, and manufacturers aren’t wasting any time when it comes to unveiling previews of what we’ll see on the show floor. The latest model to be unveiled is the Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe, a model that will slot between the Mercedes C300 and the Mercedes-AMG C63. Don’t get it twisted – the V-8 powered, C63 is a force to be reckoned with, but don’t start off hating AMG’s new middle child just yet.

In all reality, the C43 is everything you would want out of an AMG C-Class – as long as you don’t want a V-8. It is sporty, packs a pretty powerful V-6, and has all of that AMG DNA that we’ve grown to know and love. On top of that, it is the first “43” model of more to come as Mercedes extends its lineup even further.

As part of this preview, Mercedes has included a number of pictures that give us a glimpse of the interior and exterior before the car makes its official debut. So, since we don’t have to wait for Geneva to kick off, let’s take a look at Mercedes’ new model and why you’re probably going to seriously consider buying one when it hits showroom floors.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe.

  • 2016 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    362 @ 5500
  • Torque @ RPM:
    384 @ 2000
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 667049

As you can see from the images here, the AMG C43 Coupe doesn’t offer any major changes to the exterior, but there are some subtle changes that set the model apart from the standard C300. Up front, we see that the same corner air intakes, air dam, and radiator grille carry over from the Non-AMG C-Class. The radiator grille, however, is painted in high-gloss black with chrome pins and louvers. AMG lettering is also placed on the grille.

To the rear, the AMG badge has been applied to the left side of the decklid, and a “C43” badge has been added to the right side of the decklid.

To the sides, mirrors and the trim around the windows have been painted gloss black. Lettering that reads “BITURBO 4MATIC” has been added to the front fenders, and the car rides on AMG-styled, 13-spoke, light-alloy rims. To the rear, the AMG badge has been applied to the left side of the decklid, and a “C43” badge has been added to the right side of the decklid. The rear spoiler also takes on a gloss black finish as does the trim insert around those chrome exhaust outlets. The rear diffuser is finished in matte iridium silver.

Personally, I would have liked to see some more aggressive design on the C43, but the subtle changes are enough to set it apart. If it isn’t enough, there is the optional Night Package that adds black exhaust outlets, black diffuser, and black front apron trim. With that package 18-inch, five-spoke, AMG rims in high-gloss black are added to the vehicle, with 19-inch light alloy rims available as an option.

Interior

2016 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe High Resolution Interior
- image 667044

As you would expect the interior also resembles the C300, but the C43 comes with its own lineup of materials and subtle changes throughout. The sport seats have been upholstered in MB-Tex/DINAMICA microfiber. The same material is also wrapped around the armrests, door center panels, and the center console. Like the flat-bottom steering wheel and dash, red contrast stitching holds everything together. Additional highlights include design red seat belts and black floor mats with red outlines.

Silver trim covers the trim insert on the door trim, the trim on the center console, air vents, and dash end caps. The instrument cluster has two large gauges with a 4.5-inch multifunction color display that acts as a driver information center. It includes a race timer, and the speedo reads up to 180 mph, with a checkered-flag design as a background. As you can see, the same tablet-looking infotainment screen is perched above the center console. In our images, it depicts the selection of driving modes available with the C43.

Drivetrain

2016 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 667048
The power is sent through a 9G-Tronic automatic transmission to the AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive

To bring the engine up to AMG standards, a modified engine control module has been installed in the C43. It has allowed AMG to increase turbo boost and rev range of the 3.0-liter V-6 biturbo engine. It now puts out 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers aren’t bad, considering the 240 horsepower and 273 pound-feet that comes from the C300’s 2.0-liter, four-cylinder powerplant. Needless to say, this is one fast C-Class. The engine itself can be identified by the red AMG insert on the engine cover.

the C43 can hit the 60 mph sprint in just 4.6 seconds, but top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph

All that power is sent from the V-6 through a 9G-Tronic automatic transmission to the AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive. Torque distribution of the all-wheel drive system is rear-biased, with 69 percent of all torque going to the rear wheels and just 31 percent to the front. The on-board computer system can be set to several driving modes, including “Sport,” “Sport Plus,” “Eco,” and “Comfort.” In the two sport modes, the transmission can be downshifted more than one gear at a time, and in manual mode, the transmission will hold the selected gear even when the engine is at the redline. The given modes can also adjust the way the suspension acts and the way the engine responds to the driver, offering up a different driving experience tailored to your needs as you drive.

All told, the C43 can hit the 60 mph sprint in just 4.6 seconds, but top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. For comparison purposes, the C300 is said to hit the same benchmark in 6.5 seconds, while the Mercedes-AMG C63 should hit it in four seconds flat with a top speed in excess of 180 mph.

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine 3.0-liter V6 Biturbo
Displacement 2996 cc
Output 362 HP @ 5500-6000 RPM
Peak torque 384 LB-FT @ 2000-4200 RPM
Acceleration 0-60 mph 4.6 s
Top speed 155 MPH

Safety

2016 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 667046

To start off in the safety department, the C43 is equipped with internally ventilated brake discs that are 14.2 inches in the front and 12.6 inches in the rear. There is also a three-stage electronic stability system, and the front axle has newly developed steering knuckles with load-bearing joints. Elastokinematic adjustments can be made to the spring links, just as they can on the C63. Thanks to this system, as well as the negative camber on the front axle and multi-link suspension in the rear, the car has improved agility, with reduced body roll, better traction, and neutral handling.

The C43 Coupe is also equipped with speed-sensitive sport steering. This system allows more agile cornering and authentic feedback. The assistance factor of the steering system is adjusted automatically depending on what driving mode is selected, or can be personalized in “Individual” mode.

Mercedes didn’t go into depth about any other safety features equipped with this new coupe, but we expect to see it come with front side airbags, front pelvic airbags, driver knee airbag and full, side curtain airbags, just like the C63 Coupe.

Prices

Pricing of the new C43 coupe has yet to be released. Considering the C63 coupe starts out at $63,000, and the C300 is expected to start out around $40,000, I suspect we’ll see the C43 priced somewhere in the $50,000 to $55,000 range. Pricing information should be released closer to the C43’s official launch, and we will update you accordingly.

Competition

BMW M2 Coupe

2016 - 2018 BMW M2 High Resolution Exterior
- image 650539

BMWs hottest M car since the 1 Series M is a perfect competitor for the Mercedes-AMG C43. It is powered by a 3.0-liter, inline six-cylinder engine that produces 365 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque. That makes the M2 superior in the horsepower department by just three horsepower and shy in the torque department by 41 pound-feet. The M2 is said to hit the 60 mph sprint in 4.4 seconds but is also electronically limited to 155 mph. Should the C43 and the M2 lineup on the drag strip, or battle it out on the track, it will surely be an interesting battle to watch. The M2 Coupe is priced at $51,700, which is right in the range I expect the C43 to be priced when it hits showrooms. If I didn’t know better, I would have to say Mercedes designed the C43 as a fighter against the new, and well-loved BMW M2.

Read our full review on the BMW M2 Coupe here.

Audi TTS

2016 - 2018 Audi TT High Resolution Exterior
- image 544349

I know you might be questioning why I would mark the TTS with its four-cylinder engine as a competitor against the C43, but I assure you, there is a method to my madness. See, that 2.0-liter, four-cylinder hid behind the metal that makes up the TTS pumps out just 292 horsepower and 290 pound-feet. That’s 70 horsepower and 96 pound-feet shy of the C43. While that may seem like a lot, the TTS will run even with the C43 on a 60 mph sprint, with both cars taking 4.6 seconds. Top speed of the TTS is also 155 mph, so despite the C43’s superior power and torque, a lineup between these two will come down to the driver, and how well the car itself handles. The TTS starts out at $51,900 at the time of this writing.

Read our full review on the Audi TTS here.

Conclusion

2016 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 667047

I think Mercedes is smart by introducing the C43. In all reality, it didn’t have a model that was all that capable of competing against BMW’s M2, and as you know, that M2 has made quite a splash in the market. Given the fact that the C43 takes on a competitive price tag, Mercedes should have a good fighter to take on BMW’s prized M car. The one thing I don’t like is how the C43 is a little too indistinguishable on the outside from the basic C-Class. Despite some minor modifications, the car is practically identical on the outside. Things like wheels, painted trim inserts, a painted spoiler, and the like, are all things that can be done easily enough after buying a standard C-Class, so the only thing that really keeps me interested in the C43 is the power plant under the hood and the enhancements to the interior. In my opinion, it would be hard to pass up an M2 in favor of the C43, but we’ll see just how well the C43 does when it finally hits showroom floors.

  • Leave it
    • Exterior is too similar to standard C-Class
    • More aggressive styling would be nice

Press Release

Mercedes-AMG has added another model to its C-Class family: the new C43 Coupe. For a dynamic driving experience, the Affalterbach-based development teams have put together a scintillating engineering package: the 362 hp 3.0-liter V6 Biturbo engine is combined with the new 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission that provides rapid gearshifts. Together with the AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive and the model-specific chassis technology, this provides the optimum basis for high agility and exhilarating lateral dynamics. Thus the new C43 Coupe also fulfills the brand promise of ’Driving Performance’ in every respect.

2016 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 667046

Dynamic growth characterizes the corporate philosophy of Mercedes-AMG. A key component is the continual extension of the product range to include all-new models, which was previously not part of the portfolio. "The extension of the C- Class family to include the new C43 Coupe is another component in our growth strategy. It not only enriches the wide line-up of the C-Class family, but also starts the introduction of a whole series of new ’43’ models this year", says Mercedes-AMG GmbH chairman Tobias Moers. "The ’43’ models boast the characteristic AMG genes, which are also included in our GT and ’63’ vehicles, and thus consistently interpret our brand essence of ’Driving Performance’ in their segment." Sports car technology and motor racing flair thus become more attainable and appeal to a broader customer base.

The 3.0-liter V6 Biturbo engine provides impressive performance with 362 hp and peak torque of 384 lb-ft, sprinting from 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 155 mph (electronically limited). The newly developed front axle, taut elastokinematics and the highly precise steering make a substantial contribution to the agile driving experience.

The highlights

3.0-liter V6 Biturbo engine with modified engine control unit for increased boost and high-revving
9G-TRONIC automatic transmission with double-declutching function when shifting down and exhilaratingly short response times in "Sport Plus" mode
AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive with rear-biased torque distribution of 31 to 69 percent (front axle to rear axle)
AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension with adaptive variable damping in three stages; mode can be selected via button, adopted from Mercedes-AMG C63
AMG DYNAMIC SELECT switch for dynamic, individually-selectable driving experience with five drive modes and AMG-specific tuning
Three-stage Electronic Stability Program ESP®
Front axle with newly developed steering knuckles and load-bearing joints on the spring link. Elastokinematic adjustments to the links have been adopted from the Mercedes-AMG C63
Rear axle with elastokinematics tailored to higher driving dynamics
Large braking system with internally ventilated compound brake discs, perforated at the front with a diameter of 14.2", and with a diameter of 12.6" at the rear
AMG styling with distinctive front and rear apron as well as special tailpipes
Diamond radiator grill with chrome-plated pins and louvers in high-gloss black
18" AMG light-alloy wheels in 5-spoke design, painted high-gloss black with a high-sheen finish
AMG instrument cluster with checkered flag design with 180 mph scale and AMG main menu
Multifunction sports steering wheel in leather with deep embossing in grip area, flattened bottom section and red contrasting topstitching
Upholstery in MB-Tex / DINAMICA microfiber in black with sport seat upholstery layout and red topstitching

2016 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 667047

AMG-specific: the 3.0-liter V6 Biturbo engine

The C43’s 3.0-liter V6 Biturbo engine has seen several technical advances including a modified boost pressure allowed AMG engineers to increase the engine’s power output and torque as well as its dynamism and flexibility to AMG levels. With 362 hp and 384 lb-ft, the V6 engine sets new standards in its segment. The NANOSLIDE® coating of the cylinder liners is also used in the Formula One engines of the MERCEDES-AMG PETRONAS team. Especially tough and wear- resistant, this coating reduces friction, thereby contributing to higher efficiency. The AMG powerplant can be identified by the red aluminum insert in the engine cover.

Short shift times, high efficiency: 9G-TRONIC

The 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission is especially matched to the demands of the Mercedes-AMG C43. Thanks to the model-specific software application, AMG developers managed to substantially reduce the shift times of the 9-speed transmission. The ability to downshift multiple gears at once allows for even faster short bursts of speed, while the double-declutching function in the "Sport" and "Sport Plus" transmission modes makes for an even more emotional driving experience. Defined ignition adjustments also provide faster gearshifts in the "Eco" and "Comfort" modes.

"Manual" mode can be enabled by pressing a button on the center console. The gear changes are based on the selected transmission mode, and the driver can change gears using the paddles on the steering wheel. Moreover, the transmission stays in the selected gear and does not automatically shift up when the engine speed reaches redline.

AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension with automatic variable damping

The Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe offers the optimum conditions for high driving dynamics and outstanding comfort on long journeys thanks to the standard-fit AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension. The four-link front axle is fitted with special steering knuckles and load-bearing joints; all components have been optimized in terms of rigidity.

Negative camber on the front axle and on the multi-link rear axle enhances lateral dynamics and the elastokinematics of both axles have been designed to be more rigid in general. All these measures improve agility and boost the dynamics. In addition, the driver benefits from reduced body roll, higher lateral acceleration, better traction and neutral handling at the limit.

2016 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 667048

The driver can select the automatic adjustable damping system’s three suspension modes "Comfort," "Sport" and "Sport Plus" by pressing a button on the center console to fully customize the driving impression.

Characteristics at the tap of a finger: AMG DYNAMIC SELECT

With the five AMG DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes "Eco," "Comfort," "Sport," "Sport Plus" and "Individual," the driver can tailor the characteristics of the C43 Coupe to individual preferences at the tap of a finger. The available range extends from efficient and comfortable to very sporty. These modes modify several key parameters, including the response of the engine, transmission, suspension and steering.

The "Sport Plus" mode in particular delivers impressive hallmark AMG dynamics: partial cylinder suppression during full-throttle gear changes by means of a precisely defined delay in both ignition timing and fuel injection allows for faster and more audible gear changes. This is perfectly complemented by the double- declutching function when downshifting.

In order to increase efficiency, the ECO start/stop function and the ’sailing’ function reduce fuel consumption in "Eco" mode; when the driver releases the accelerator in a speed range between 37 and 99 mph, the clutch is disengaged and the engine is decoupled from the powertrain. The electronics reduce the engine speed to idle level and driving resistance is reduced by the compression and frictional forces of the engine in overrun mode.

Direct and with clear feedback: speed-sensitive sport steering

The speed-sensitive sport steering assists the agile cornering of the new C43 Coupe with its variable ratio. It stands out with its precise, highly authentic feedback. The servo assistance can be varied with the "Comfort" or "Sport" settings. The relevant characteristics are automatically activated depending on the selected DYNAMIC SELECT transmission mode or can be personalized in "Individual" mode.

Muscular with an emphasis on width: the exterior design

The Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe is sporty in appearance, making it instantly recognizable as a member of the AMG family. Characteristic features include distinctive AMG styling as well as specific light-alloy wheels, underscoring the brand’s progressive nature and performance. The engine cover has a red aluminum insert that accentuates the strengths of the six-cylinder Biturbo engine.

Exterior AMG styling includes the front apron with sporty distinctive air intakes, diamond meshes, silver chrome trim, as well as the rear apron with matte iridium silver diffuser insert. The diamond radiator grill features chrome-plated pins, louvers in high-gloss black and AMG lettering. A silver-chrome front splitter ensures an optimal flow of air to various cooling modules.

2016 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 667049

Additional highlights include black exterior mirror housings, high-gloss black waistline trim strip and window frame, as well as the two chrome-plated tailpipes with center divider. Further striking features come courtesy of the new "BITURBO – 4MATIC" lettering on the front fenders and the "AMG" (left) and "C43" (right) lettering on the trunk lid.

Customers can choose the optional “Night Package," which adds high-gloss black front apron trim, a high-gloss black diffuser-look insert at the rear and two black tailpipes with center divider.

AMG 5-spoke light-alloy wheels painted in high-gloss black with a high-sheen finish round off the design visually. Size 225/45 R 18 tires on 7.5 x 18 light-alloy wheels are fitted at the front, while the rear axle comes with 245/40 R 18 tires on 8.5 x 18 wheels. 19" light-alloy wheels in various designs are optionally available for even greater individualization.

Sporty interior looks with model-specific details

The interior reinforces the consistently dynamic bias with numerous specially designed details. Ideal for a spirited driving style, the multifunction sport steering wheel in black leather features a flattened bottom section and red contrasting topstitching.

The driver finds a secure and comfortable seating position even at speed thanks to improved lateral support provided by sport seats. The MB-Tex / DINAMICA microfiber upholstery and the instrument panel trimmed with MB-Tex create a sporty ambience. The man-made leather is also used on the upper edges of the body, the armrests, the door center panels and the center console. Red contrasting topstitching, designo red safety belts and black floor mats with red edging add attractive highlights. The aluminum trim pieces with light-tone longitudinal grain embedded in the instrument panel and the doors provide effective contrasts.

2016 Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 667049

The AMG instrument cluster delivers all relevant information in a clearly arranged layout optimized for a dynamic driving style. An authentic sports car look and feel is provided by two tube-shaped round dials, 4.5-inch multifunction color display, RACETIMER and 180 mph scale in checkered-flag design.

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