Its origin goes way back to 1982. Then the Benz 190 was labeled as ‘Baby Benz.’ Over a decade later, the ‘kid’ earned the C-class designation and worldwide sales of more than 10.5 million units with China holding the lead for the past six years. The rest, as they so lovingly say, is history.

Following up on our test drive of the C300 sedan last year, Mercedes recently dispatched over the thriller in its C-class stable, the C43 AMG (performance branch of Benz). Like the C300, this too is equipped with a 2.0-liter inline-4 cylinder turbo engine. But instead of just 225 horsepower, it boasts 402 hp @ 6750 rpm and 369 pounds-feet of torque @ 5000 rpm. An integrated starter-generator with a 48-volt capacity provides temporary mild hybrid power delivery of an extra 13 hp. Zero to 60 is possible in just 4.6 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph in this fine, snug and effective ride. The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive vehicle is mated to a standard 9-speed automatic, which can be driven in comfort, slippery, sport, sport+, individual and race start (think AMG!) modes. Suspension is handled by aluminum double wishbones and adaptive dampers to ensure imposing ride quality and comfort on unpleasant highway bumps and sudden sharp turns. Returning a weighted response to the driver’s input is razor-sharp, electromechanical power rack-and-pinion steering.

Up front, the trademark three-pointed star on the hood meets up with a larger Benz emblem centered in the AMG-specific radiator grille hosting vertical chrome slats. It is flanked by horizontal LED headlights. A lavish, elegant cabin is expected of any Mercedes and this one screams AMG as in sport pedals, illuminated door sills, Nappa leather-wrapped flat-bottomed steering wheel, black leather/suede seats with red stitching and seat belts and floor mats! Other standard luxuries include dual auto a/c, 40/20/40 rear seat, Apple CarPlay and Android wireless phone capabilities, panoramic sunroof and 10-way power heated front seats. The flattened round sets of air vents with ambient lights are a sight to behold, especially at night. A central and jet-black tablet-like 11.9-inch touch screen, tilted toward the driver, serves as an audio, navigation and phone infotainment guide. The driver sits in front of a massive 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with clear gauges to read. Indeed, top-notch materials and craftsmanship give the sedan a rich vibe.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes, electronic stability program, pre-safe (partial braking in an emergency), active brake assist and blind spot assist, forward collision warning, rearview camera, keyless go/start, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system come at no extra cost.

Stick with the fifth-gen C300 if you are in the market for a gorgeous sedan with a sumptuous cabin. But if you are looking for vim and vigor in your ride, plus all the bells and whistles, opt for the exhilarating and rev-happy C43 AMG.


Tires: 245/45R18

Wheelbase: 112.8 inches

Length: 188.6 inches

Width: 80 inches

Height: 57.1 inches

Fuel capacity: 17.4 gallons

City: 19 mpg

Highway: 26 mpg

Weight: 4,092 pounds

Base price: $59,900

Price as tested: $70,020