A more affordable alternative to the AMG E63

It’s been only two months since the brand-new E-Class made its official debut at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show, and Mercedes-Benz is already rolling out the first performance version of its midsize sedan. It’s called the AMG E43 and it will slot under the upcoming and highly anticipated AMG E63.

Set to make its global debut at the 2016 New York Auto Show, the souped-up sedan is the third new Mercedes-Benz to sport the "43" badge, joining the AMG C43 Coupe (also available as a convertible) and the smaller AMG SLC 43. Much like its stablemates, the AMG E43 sports a turbocharged V-6 engine instead of the traditional V-8 and bridges the gap between the range-topping model of the standard lineup and the bonkers AMG E63.

While it might not be as hot as the upcoming E63, the E43 enables Mercedes access to a new niche and provides the perfect tool against the already popular S6. What’s more, it gives AMG enthusiasts a more affordable proposition to the high-priced E63, as well as a more fuel efficient performance sedan. But does it have what it takes to compete against the Audi S6 and BMW 550i? Find out in our review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Mercedes-AMG E43.

  • 2017 Mercedes-AMG E43
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    396 @ 6100
  • Torque @ RPM:
    384 @ 2500
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.5 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 High Resolution Exterior
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Designed to slot above the standard E-Class and below the AMG E63, the E43 is somewhat recognizable as a member of the AMG family, but it’s rather discrete compared to the V-8 version. Features that set it apart from the regular sedan up front include the three large openings in the bumper, the horizontal fins in the outer intakes, and the diamond grille.

Unlike other AMGs, the E43 doesn't have specific badges on its front fenders.

The side view is even more subdued, with only the high-sheen, 19-inch, five-spoke wheels painted in high-gloss black making a difference. Customers who want bigger rollers can opt for 20-inch wheels. Unlike other AMGs, the E43 doesn’t have specific badges on its front fenders.

Around back, the sedan has the usual chrome-plated quad-flow exhaust tailpipes, a silver chrome diffuser, and a body-colored spoiler lip on the trunk lid.

All told, the Mercedes-AMG E43 seems perfect for drivers who want a potent midsize sedan without the flashy exterior that comes with a performance car.

Interior

2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 High Resolution Interior
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Interior additions make the E43 sportier than the standard E-Class, but not as aggressive as the upcoming E63. The standard seats have been replaced with sportier units with improved lateral support, while the upholstery — either standard MB-Tex/Dinamica or optional Nappa leather — features a distinctive layout and red topstitching.

To match the seat design, sections of the door panels and dashboard sport the same finish with red stitching. The package also includes bespoke pedals, black roof lining, and red seat belts.

The sportiness of the E43 is also enhanced by the flat-bottom steering wheel in black Nappa leather with red stitching and a more dynamic instrument cluster display for the optional 12.3-inch screen. Just like the E-Class, the E43 gets two analogue dials and a seven-inch screen as standard.

Drivetrain

2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 High Resolution Exterior
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Unlike the upcoming AMG E63, which will use a biturbo 4.0-liter V-8, the E43 gets its juice from a 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 396 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. The twin-turbo unit is similar to the one in the Mercedes-AMG C43, but has bigger turbos and revised software for an extra 34 horses, more than useful given the larger body.

Charging from 0 to 60 mph comes in 4.5 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited at 155 mph as usual

The power routes to the wheels through a nine-speed automatic and a rear-biased, all-wheel drive system. Charging from 0 to 60 mph comes in 4.5 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited at 155 mph as usual. Compared to the 241-horsepower E300, the E43 is 1.8 seconds quicker.

The 9G-Tronic transmission has four modes. "Eco" as the most fuel-efficient features, "Comfort" for smooth ride and shifting, and "Sport" and "Sport Plus" with the double-declutching function for a more emotional driving experience. There’s also a "Manual" mode than can be selected using a separate button in the center console. This enables the driver to change gears using the paddles on the steering wheel.

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine V-6 Biturbo
Displacement 2,996 cc
Output 396 HP @ 6,100 RPM
Peak torque 384 LB-FT @ 2,500-5,000 RPM
Curb Weight 4,145 lbs
Acceleration 0-60 mph 4.5 s
Top speed 155 mph (electronically limited)

Suspension and Brakes

2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 High Resolution Exterior
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The E43 rides on the AMG-built AirMatic Adaptive Sport Suspension, providing more agility, more neutral cornering behavior, and high traction. The Adaptive Damping System offers a choice of three modes — "Comfort," "Sport," and "Sport Plus" — enabling drivers to opt between a high level of comfort for longer journeys and sporty driving dynamics.

The four-link front axle is equipped with special steering knuckles and load-bearing joints optimized for the E43. A more negative camber on the front axle and on the multi-link rear axle enhances lateral dynamics. Stopping power comes from a large braking system with ventilated compound brake discs.

Safety

2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 High Resolution Exterior
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The AMG E43 comes with the same safety features offered on the E300, including Drive Pilot. This feature enables the sedan to follow the car in front at speeds of up to 130 mph and uses automatic braking, accelerating, and the Steering Pilot to handle moderate bends. A Speed Limit Pilot function can automatically adjust the car’s speed according to on-the-road speed limits detected by a camera.

Other driver assistance systems include Active Brake Assist, Attention Assist, and Remote Parking Pilot. The latter allows the vehicle to be moved into and out of garages and parking spaces remotely using a smartphone app.

Finally, there’s Car-to-X, a mobile phone-supported exchange of information with other vehicles on the road. First introduced on the standard E-Class, it allows the driver to "see around corners" or "through obstacles" well in advance by receiving an earlier warning in the event of imminent danger, such as a broken-down vehicle at the edge of the road, heavy rain, or black ice on the road ahead.

Prices

Pricing is not yet available, but more should be revealed when the sedan debuts at the 2016 New York Auto Show. The E43 will arrive in U.S. showrooms in early 2017.

Competition

Audi S6

2016 Audi S6 High Resolution Exterior
- image 567032

Subjected to a minor facelift for the 2016 model year, the S6 carries over unchanged save for new headlamps and taillights, revised bumpers, new interior color options, and carbon-fiber inserts. Power comes from the same turbocharged, 4.0-liter V-8 in the previous model, but output has been bumped up to 450 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. But, despite having 54 horses and 22 pound-feet over the E43, the S6 is only a tenth-second quicker, sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 ticks. Top speed is obviously limited at 155 mph. Unlike the AMG E43, the S6 is also available as a wagon, but the Avant version isn’t offered in the United States. The German sedan retails from $70,900, most likely more than Mercedes will ask for the AMG E43.

Read more about the Audi S6 here.

BMW 550i

2014 BMW 5-Series High Resolution Exterior
- image 506857

Although it doesn’t get a special, performance badge like the S6 and the E43, the range-topping version of the non-M 5 Series has everything it needs to give its competitors a run for their money. The exterior is sporty enough even without an M kit, while the interior has plenty of premium features (despite being a bit dated compared to the Merc’s). As the name suggests, the 550i comes with BMW’s twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V-8 under the hood. It sends 445 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque to the wheels and enables the big sedan to hit 60 mph in only 4.3 seconds with the automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Pricing starts from $66,300, with all-wheel drive adding an extra $2,300.

Find out more about the BMW 550i here.

Conclusion

2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 High Resolution Exterior
- image 669150

The E43 is a nice way to bridge the gap between the range-topping E-Class and the full-fledged AMG E63. It may lack the latter’s V-8 engine, but the new V-6 is nothing to sneeze at. Despite being less powerful than its Audi and BMW competitors, the E43 is only a tad slower, mostly due to the fact that it is significantly lighter and uses a more modern chassis. In many ways, the E43 is Mercedes’ answer to the S6, but this souped-up E-Class comes in a more attractive package with a stunning interior, fresh exterior, and an engine that’s likely more efficient too. All it needs is a juicy price and Mercedes will have a winner on its hands.

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    • * Could dilute the AMG name

Press Release

Hot on the heels of the world premiere for the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class at the North American International Auto Show this January, the first high-performance variant of the new E-Class is already on the way from Mercedes-AMG. The Mercedes-AMG E43, boasting a 3.0-liter V6 Biturbo engine, will represent the most powerful variant of the luxury sedan when it hits dealerships by early 2017. This high-powered six-cylinder engine delivers an output of 396 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. The AMG Performance 4MATIC four-wheel drive combines optimum traction with high agility on the AMG E43, thanks to rear-biased torque distribution with a front-to-rear ratio of 31:69 percent. The 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission with shorter shift times, AMG AIRMATIC Adaptive Sport Suspension and the more direct steering ratio also provide for signature AMG Driving Performance.

2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 High Resolution Exterior
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"The new AMG E43 offers impressive driving dynamics coupled with cutting-edge efficiency. Twin turbocharging, features adopted from motorsport and characteristic AMG design immediately indicate to our customers that the new E-Class from AMG offers pure Driving Performance coupled with cutting-edge technology and intense emotion," notes Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

On the AMG E43, Mercedes-AMG has upgraded the six-cylinder engine’s output by 34 hp to 396 hp with the aid of two larger turbochargers and sophisticated AMG software. The ample peak torque of 384 lb-ft is available from a low engine speed of 2,500 rpms all the way through 5,000 rpms.

This package guarantees performance on par with many a sports car: the new AMG E43 achieves a 0-60 time in just 4.5 seconds, while its top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.

Sporty and distinctive: the exterior design

The looks of the AMG E43 render it immediately recognizable as a member of the AMG family. Apart from underscoring a powerful appearance, three large openings in the front bumper also ensure an optimum flow of air to the coolers. Two elegant cross fins on the outer cooling openings enhance the vehicle’s visual presence. The diamond grille with chromed pins, a louver in high-gloss black and AMG lettering represent further hallmarks of the AMG 43 models.

2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 High Resolution Exterior
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The side view of the AMG E43 is dominated by high-sheen 19-inch AMG five-spoke light-alloy wheels painted in high-gloss black. The rear end features characteristic highlights including two chrome-plated quad-flow exhaust tailpipes conveying a particularly sporty aesthetic. The rear diffusor comes in silver chrome, while the standard-specification spoiler lip on the trunk lid is painted body color.

Sporty look with model-specific details: the interior design

The interior reinforces the dynamic caliber of the new AMG E43 with numerous individual details. The driver and front passenger find a secure position in the sport seats even when driving at top speed, thanks to the improved lateral support. The upholstery in MB-Tex/DINAMICA (optional: nappa leather) features a distinctive layout and red topstitching. To match the seat design, the door center panels and dashboard are finished in MB-Tex with red topstitching. Exclusive pedals, a black roof lining and red seat belts add further sporty highlights.

The multifunction sports steering wheel with Touch Control in black nappa leather with red contrasting topstitching and a flattened bottom section is ideally suited for sporty driving. The AMG instrument cluster delivers all relevant information in a clearly arranged layout optimized for a dynamic driving style on the available fully-digital, high-resolution 12.3” instrument screen.

High on power, low on consumption: the AMG 3.0-liter V6 Biturbo engine

The V6 Biturbo engine boasts a high power output combined with low fuel consumption and emissions. The high power output of 396 hp is attributable, among other things, to new, larger turbochargers and the higher charge-air pressure of 16 psi. Installed close to the engine, the two turbochargers provide near-instantaneous power.

2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 High Resolution Exterior
- image 669152

The NANOSLIDE® coating on the cylinder liners has also undergone further development in the Formula 1 V6 hybrid turbo engines from Mercedes-Benz. Especially tough and wear-resistant, this coating reduces friction, thereby contributing to higher efficiency. The same applies to the spray-guided fuel injection, with up to 2900 psi of pressure.

The AMG powerplant can be identified by the red aluminum insert in the engine cover.

Short shift times and high efficiency: the 9G-TRONIC

The 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission is specially matched to the requirements of the new AMG E43. The multiple downshift function enables more spontaneous short bursts of speed, while the double-declutching function in "Sport" and "Sport Plus" transmission modes makes for an even more emotional driving experience. Defined ignition intervention additionally enables faster gear shifting than in "Eco" and "Comfort" modes.

"Manual" mode can be selected using a separate button in the center console. The gear changes are based on the selected transmission mode and the driver can now change gear 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 the limit.

More agility: AMG AIRMATIC Adaptive Sport Suspension

For added agility, more neutral cornering behavior and higher traction even when driving at high speeds, engineers in Affalterbach have designed a dedicated sports suspension on the basis of the AIR BODY CONTROL multi-chamber air suspension system. The Adaptive Damping System offers a choice of three modes – "Comfort," "Sport" and "Sport Plus." This provides for broader scope between a high level of comfort for longer journeys and sporty driving dynamics.

2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 High Resolution Exterior
- image 669153

The four-link front axle is fitted with special steering knuckles and load-bearing joints; all components have been optimized in terms of rigidity. A more negative camber on the front axle and on the multi-link rear axle enhances lateral dynamics. The elastokinematics of both axles have been designed to be more rigid in general. All these measures improve agility and boost the dynamics.

Rear-biased and agile: AMG Performance 4MATIC

The AMG Performance 4MATIC four-wheel drive system features rear-biased torque distribution with a front/rear axle split of 31 to 69 percent. This configuration provides for enhanced driving dynamics and higher lateral acceleration on the road as well as improved traction when accelerating.

In combining the permanent four-wheel drive with the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission, the engineers have opted for a change of concept: the single-stage transfer case of the four-wheel drive is flange-mounted on the 9G-TRONIC as a separate system. On earlier generations of vehicles, the transfer case was integrated into the 7G-TRONIC PLUS. The new add-on solution makes it easier to modify torque distribution according to the model, thus enabling even more individual characteristics for the respective model series.

The new system is also more effective than the earlier concept by virtue of improved efficiency, reduced friction and lower weight. Its compact design does not restrict space for either passengers or luggage.

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 AMG E43 to individual preferences at the tap of a finger. The available range extends from efficient and comfortable to extremely sporty and modifies key parameters, such as the response of the engine, transmission, suspension and steering. Independently of the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes, the driver has the option of pressing the "M" button to switch directly to manual mode, in which gearshifts are executed exclusively using the shift paddles on the steering wheel. The suspension set-ups can also be selected as necessary.

2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 High Resolution Exterior
- image 669154

The AMG DYNAMIC SELECT "Sport" and "Sport Plus" transmission modes are configured with a clear emphasis on driving dynamics on the new AMG E43. This results from an agile accelerator pedal characteristic with direct set-up and emotional gear shifting with reduced shift times and double declutching. The increased idling speed additionally enables the vehicle to move off quickly and provides for faster acceleration from a standing start.

In order to increase efficiency, in "Eco" mode the ECO start/stop function and the gliding function reduce fuel consumption: when the driver releases the accelerator in a speed range between 31 and 99 mph, the clutch is disengaged and the engine is decoupled from the powertrain. The electronics reduce the engine speed to idling level, and the driving resistance is reduced by the compression and frictional forces of the engine in overrun mode.

Direct and with clear feedback: speed-sensitive sports steering

The speed-sensitive sports steering features a variable ratio on the AMG E43. It stands out with its precise, highly authentic feedback. Steering power assistance is available in a choice of two modes – "Comfort" or "Sport." The relevant characteristics are automatically activated depending on the selected AMG DYNAMIC SELECT transmission mode or can be personalized in Individual mode. Manual torque is increased in "Sport" mode, providing more feedback on driving conditions.

The large braking system with internally ventilated compound brake discs ensures reliable and quick deceleration of the sedan.

Optional features with a sporty emphasis

The optionally available features also emphasize the sporty character of the AMG E43. These range from AMG seats with increased lateral support to nappa leather upholstery to 20-inch wheels.

2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 High Resolution Exterior
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The new Mercedes-AMG E43 will have its world premiere at the New York International Auto Show in March 2016 and will be in US dealers by early 2017.

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