I Have Turned to the Dark Side... Mercedes AMG C43

Jul 21, 2002
Some of you may recall that in August I test drove a 2019 Mercedes-AMG C43; I found it to be a nice car but not all that exciting. Well, I ended up buying a 2020 CPO C43 with 21K miles on it.
C43 RF Qtr.jpg
C43 RR Qtr.jpg
C43 int.jpg

Why, you may ask, did I buy a C43 after driving one and finding it less than enticing? Well, a couple of friends told me that I needed to drive one and make sure everything was set to Sport+- of course I hadn't done that. Then I watched the Throttle House YouTube review of the A4, M340i, and C43; what struck me were their comments concerning the M340i- they thought that it was a nice car, but aside from the added hp it felt just like a 330i. That's not a knock on the 330i- it's a great car, but the consensus was that it wasn't sufficiently differentiated from the 330i. I'd had a 330i loaner for over a week while the X1 and Clubman were being serviced and while it was a nice car, but it never made me want to get in and drive it. And I felt the same way in retrospect after driving a G42 M240i. Nice, fast, but not very involving- I guess I shouldn't be surprised, as the 2er and 3er are built on the same CLAR platform. And the TH guys really liked the C43- as did my lovely bride.

And so I decided to audition the C43 a second time. This car turned up at the dealer a few weeks ago. I couldn't go look at it last week due to work and other commitments, but on Saturday the price dropped by $2,500. Monday morning I called my salesperson and put a deposit on it. After an extended test drive the deal was done. They gave me $2,500 over the CarMax offer for my M235i and installed a new of Continental MOE(Mercedes-speak for runflats. Sorta.) tires on the C43. I hope to pay it off in a year or so.

Once I started looking I soon found out that virtually no two C43 sedans are ever optioned alike. That said, this car was as close to perfect as I could want- my only change would be to swap the panoramic sunroof for the HUD, but you can't win 'em all.
What does it have?
AMG Performance Exhaust- A true hoot. It's switchable- much like the Mustang GT active valve exhaust. It is loud on start-up and when put in "Powerful" mode. It pops, crackles and burbles. I absolutely love it.
LED Intelligent Light System- The best headlights I have experienced. To my 65 year-old eyes just as good as the BMW Laserlights.
Digital Instrument Cluster- Easy to read and configure- with real engine and transmission oil temperature readings available. I'm still less than impressed with BMW's digital IP cluster with it's "wrong-way" tachometer and limited configurability.
AMG Track Pace- You have to ask?
Top speed derestricted from 130 mph to 155 mph- Ditto.

On the road this car feels more stiffly sprung than the other C43 I drove; in comfort mode it feels stiffer than my M235i felt in Sport mode- which is just fine with me. It's just a tick faster than my M235i, but I won't complain about a 12.6 second 1/4 mile. The AWD front/rear torque split is 31/69 so the the C43 feels more rear biased than than the M240i xDrive. I could take or leave the Driver Assistance and Parking Assistance Packages, but they are fun to play with. The seats are very comfortable; a bit better than my old 2er and clearly better than the G42 M240i. The Burmester Surround Sound needs a bit of dialing-in, but I think it sounds a little better than the H-K in the M340i. And did I mention the C43 is only 13 pounds heavier than the M240i xDrive?
Not many nits to pick; I haven't managed to get the audio system to stream music from my iPhone via BT, and you have to disable stop/start after every startup- but that's about it.

I hope to take it to the strip and a road course next year just to see what it will do. I'm almost guaranteed to be the only M-B at either venue...
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I like it! The front end on yours looks better to me than the 2023. My father in law has a 2019 AMG GT that I drive when we go to visit in Florida. The Sport+ setting really wakes the car up and the adjustable exhaust is a fun feature. Enjoy!
In all seriousness, it's a nice car.

And I'm glad you got the top speed increased. Even my old 3'er with the sports package has the top speed limited at 155 mph

Except for the CLS, I've never been a big fan of the C series. But that one is absolutely stunning! I love it when someone options for seats that are something other than black. The red looks sharp.

You will have to keep us updated on it, particularly how it does at the track, alongside the BMW's that your friends drive.