Back in the day, your entry into the world of Mercedes often began with the C-class of automobiles. Today you can dip your toe into the luxury-car segment with the CLA.
But don’t be so quick to overlook the beautiful C43. I spent a week behind the wheel of this snazzy coupe, and it didn’t disappoint. (Well, after climbing in, which might’ve been the most difficult part. More on that later.)
You’ll find a variety of options in the Cs, including a sedan, the coupe, or Mercedes’ convertible/Cabriolet lineup. When you choose the AMG C43 you’re getting a little rocket that pumps more than 360 horsepower through its V6. A nine-speed automatic transmission will smoothly see you through the gears.
The ’18 version has spiffed up the exterior a touch. I do like the beveled appeal along the sides, and the logo grill announces your arrival with style. The coupe’s sleek, tapered rear suggests a thrilling ride.
Inside, you’re pampered by the usual Mercedes fine details, with comfy leather and stylish accents. Although don’t kid yourself, you’re not hauling a large group around to enjoy the luxury. Modest space for the driver and passenger are really all you can count on. The backseat is more of a grocery/pet/perhaps small child space. But, of course, you wanna haul kids to volleyball practice, then you’re probably not in the market for a sporty coupe.
The large doors swing wide to ostensibly allow easy access, but for whatever reason I had to take my time folding into the car. (To be fair, a friend observed that I may just “be getting old.” Sorry, I mean former friend.)
The only other concern I had was in the blind spot category, but these days you’re gifted with bells and whistles to help alleviate that issue.
As for the gear, tech fans will be mostly satisfied. The C43 does have a good-sized screen for your sounds/climate/whatnot, but I’m not sure the design of its placement was a priority. In some respects it looks like it was just added as a last-minute addition.
And I’m not crazy about any luxury car’s mouse/iDrive/Command functions. The various knobs and control sticks that have popped up over the years seem more fanciful than functional. (Cue the same ex-friend regarding comfort zone.)
But then we come to the drive. Here the C43 can simply show off. A solid, sporty, quick ride, with all the comfort and driving ease we’ve come to expect from the German maker. I liked the handling in the turns, loved the acceleration, and even admired the confidence-boosting feel of its stops. Mercedes engineers know a thing or two about building a dreamy ride.
So if you’ve started the year with a pay bump and are looking to reward yourself, the AMG C43 is certainly a solid contender.
2018 Mercedes AMG C43
3.0-L V6, 9-speed automatic transmission
As tested: $72,855
Fuel economy: 20/27/22 combined
Reviewed by Dom Testa
Vehicle provided by manufacturer