Call it a baby C63, but don’t tag it C450 – that’s the Mercedes-AMG C43 message as the renamed sports sedan, coupe and wagon arrive priced from $101,900 plus on-roads.
Each use a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine sending 270kW and 520Nm through a nine-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels, leaving the rear-driven C63 to deploy its twin-turbo V8 and do big burnouts.
The Snowy Mountains-friendly AMG – previously called a Benz C450 overseas but renamed before it landed locally – is clearly targeting Audi’s quattro lineup, particularly its S4 Avant that has formed a nice niche in the market both here and overseas.
It’s the coupe that tops the 0-100km/h performance benchmark, though, with its 4.7sec claim ousting the sedan and wagon by two-tenths. Incidentally, even the 4.9sec sedan is two-tenths faster than the equivalent 340i.
The coupe also gets special steering knuckles and load-bearing joints on the multi-link front suspension, increased negative camber and more rigid elasto-kinematics over the other bodystyles, all with the promise of being sportier to drive.
On all AMG C43s variable-ratio speed-sensitive steering, AMG Dynamic Select driving modes and AMG Ride Control multi-mode adaptive suspension are standard.
As is usual with Benz, local equipment is higher than that found overseas, with head-up display, 19-inch alloys, adaptive LED lighting, panoramic sunroof, premium Burmester audio with satellite navigation and internet connectivity and – on the coupe only – heated front seats also included.
When it lands locally in October priced $50K below a C63 S, the C43 should find favour with many buyers who are already latching onto cheaper AMG models with increasing force. But a coupe comparison test will have to await the arrival of the new Audi S5 next year…