Coupe de Thrill: Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe
Merc’s sexy new two-door rocketship makes a perfect daily fun-ride.
Trust me, there’s no rational reason to buy a coupe. Even one as drop-dead gorgeous as the latest $55,000 C43 from Mercedes-AMG.
Think about it. Two doors instead of four requires the flexibility of a Russian gymnast to clamber in and out of the back.
And once back there, your unlucky passengers will be treated to the same kind of legroom as United economy. Headroom? There are coffins with more cranial space than in the back of a C43 coupe.
Add to that a teeny, weeny trunk best suited to gym bags, plus the kind of rearward visibility normally reserved for a UPS truck.
Of course the final kicker is price. You can buy a roomy, four-door Mercedes C43 sedan for 2,000 bucks less than the C43 coupe – same engine, same stunning performance – or a super-versatile Merc GLC43 sport-ute with the space of a PODS storage box for $54,900.
But who on earth needs space and practicality when you have a shape this achingly gorgeous.
Shakespeare would have written sonnets about the curves and creases of the C43 coupe’s body; the way the roofline arches and cascades down to the trunklid spoiler, the way the windshield is slammed backwards.
Standing still, this car looks like it’s spearing down the Autobahn at a buck-fifty.
And spear it does, courtesy of its AMG-tuned 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 cranking out 362-horseys and a muscular 384 lb-ft of torque.
With standard 4Matic all-wheel drive and a rapid-fire AMG nine-speed automatic, the C43 can blast from standstill to 60mph in a mere 4.6 seconds.
Interestingly, despite the plethora of AMG badges scattered around the car, the C43 coupe isn’t a true AMG offering. There’s no signed plaques on the engine cover, and the car comes off the Mercedes production line rather than out of AMG’s Affalterbach house of magic.
But pretty much every element of the C43 has been touched in some way by the grand wizards at AMG, and it shows in the way it drives. Which is just sensational.
Grip the salami-thick helm with its soft suede inserts and racecar-like flat bottom, and every command from your gray matter is intuitively telegraphed to the front wheels. The car steers with such precision, such lightness of touch, it’s as if it’s running on invisible rails.
And with 69 per cent of the engine’s torque directed to the rear wheels – 31 per cent goes to the front – it has the balance, agility and fun factor of a rear-wheel driver.
It’s the C43’s twin-turbo V6 however that defines this car. So strong is its mid-range thrust, so smooth and linear is its power delivery, so responsive it is to the right pedal, it’s hard to ask for anything more in an engine.
Yet when you toggle through the AMG Dynamic Select control to Sport+ mode, it’s like pouring Red Bull into the tank. Engine, transmission, suspension and steering all become more focused. And to the aural accompaniment of an exhaust that snaps, crackles and pops like a NASCAR stocker.
And you don’t get this kind of behind-the-wheel intimacy from a C43 sedan or GLC43 SUV. The coupe’s cabin just shrinks around you, embracing you in hip-hugging sports seats and surrounding you with gorgeous natural grain black ash wood trim and black Dinamica suede trim with red contrasting stitching.
Yes, the true AMG-built C63 coupe, with its insane 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8, packs more raw excitement. But at $67,000, it’s $12-grand more expensive, and frankly a little too brutal, too extreme, too raucous for daily driving.
No, this C43 coupe is a gem, a jewel, a two-door joy that throws rational thinking out the window.
Coupes don’t make sense. But then if you wanted a vehicle that made sense, you’d be driving a minivan. And that isn’t going to happen.