New AMG starters sit pretty in C-Class range

The entry-level AMG C-Class will be here from next month but prices are out now.


THE look is not as menacing as with the V8 fare the brand is more famous for – but the attitude is just as tough.

Mercedes New Zealand announcement of pricing for its new line of AMG products, entry-level C-Class cars with a new performance twin-turbo V6, suggests that it is keen to not only expand an already healthy fan base here but also to make life difficult for rivals.

The C43 will come on sale next month in $116,400 sedan, $119,400 wagon and $120,900 coupe form, with a cabriolet fill out the family before year end.

Those prices leave the models sitting comfortably positioned within the C-Class family – the sedan, for instance, but also position unevenly against potential Audi, BMW and Jaguar rivals.

The C43 sedan that seems set to be the most popular of the three costs $21,500 more that the priciest non-AMG booted C-Class, the C300h hybrid, but is $48,500 less than the flagship, and more aggressive-looking, C63 S four-door. However, Jaguar’s supercharged V6-powered XE S and the Audi S4 respectively place at $106,000 and $118,900.

The C43 Coupe is $27,000 more than the most expensive mainstream C300 variant, but $48k less than the C63 version. It will likely compete with the soon-to-be-replaced $119,000 Audi S5 Coupe, the $126,300 BMW 435i, plus the Lexus RC350, which starts at $126,000.

The wagon – or ‘estate’ in Benz-speak - has relatively few competitors, the most obvious being the $118,900 S4 Avant.

The C43 models take a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 producing 270kW/520Nm (whereas a C63 V8 makes 375kW and 700Nm), paired with a 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission driving all four wheels via Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. 

Zero to 100kmh times range from about 4.9 seconds for the sedan to 4.7s for the Coupe. 

Mercedes says the transmission was modified “to meet the demands” of the C43. Through a software application, AMG engineers reduced the shift times, while multiple downshifts make for faster short bursts of speed. 

The engine is part of Benz’s BlueDirect engine family and features advances such as a modified boost pressure helped increase the power and torque output. The friction-reducing Nanoslide coating of the engine cylinders is also used in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One engines, the maker proclaims. 

Standard gear on all variants includes an LED Intelligent Light System, AMG Night Package, AMG 19-inch wheels, AMG Ride-Control sports suspension, sports exhaust system, a head-up display, panoramic glass sunroof, Burmester surround sound system and Comand Online navigation and infotainment, as well as heated front seats. 

Safety features offered as standard include nine airbags, Collision Prevention Assist Plus with semi-autonomous braking, Driver Assistance Package PLUS, Active Lane Keeping, Pre-Safe, Attention Assist, an Active Bonnet, blind spot assist, tyre pressure monitoring and a 360-degree camera.