What is it?
Let’s wander back in time. Not far, just to, say, 1998. In the US, Bill Clinton says he didn't have sexual relations with Monika Lewinsky. Over here, Tony Blair has just delivered peace to Northern Ireland and is, apparently, the new messiah. To celebrate all that’s good in the world, you’ve just splashed out on the recently introduced Mercedes C 43 AMG, with a stonking 306bhp. That’s plenty, you think.
Fast forward 20 years and things have changed. It turns out Bill told a porky, half the world is now at war, and unless you have a C 63 with up to 503bhp, you’re nobody. Or are you? You see, the Mercedes-AMG C 43 is back, but is ‘just’ 362bhp now enough to tickle your fancy?
That number comes from a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6, plugged into a conventional nine-speed automatic rather than the C 63’s seven-speed MCT unit. It has 4Matic all-wheel drive as standard - there’s no rear-wheel drive option - but it's biased to send 69% of the torque rearwards.
Although the C 43 might be considered an AMG-lite by some, Affalterbach hasn’t merely added power and said: 'That’ll do.' There are steering knuckles from the C 63 and more negative camber dialled into the front and rear geometry to allow the tyres more cornering bite. The menacing, wider track and flared arches of the C 63 are, sadly, off the menu, though.