The New 2023 AMG C43 Comes With an Electric Twist
To those who may lament the loss of 2 cylinders and a solid chunk of its predecessor’s displacement, the fine folks at AMG are quick to point out that the new M139L engine features technology adapted from the company’s Formula One racecars. First utilized in the upcoming European market SL 43 with 389 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque on tap, the 2023 AMG C43 setup will reportedly up the ante with 402 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque.
The hand-built four-banger is combined with an electric motor that sits between the compressor and turbine wheels which helps to reduce turbo lag by spooling up the compressor at low revs, leading to more responsive power delivery across the rev range. A 48-volt starter-generator provides a 13 hp boost that not only improves the car’s performance but also recoups energy during deceleration. Mercedes claims the car is capable of a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds on the way to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph when equipped with the standard 18-inch wheel and tire package. Ticking the box on the options list to upgrade to 19- or 20-inch rims raises the bar to 165 mph.
Keeping all that power firmly planted is an AMG nine-speed multi-clutch automatic transmission along with Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. In AMG C43 guise though, the system is calibrated towards a rear bias with a front-to-rear torque distribution of 31/69 along with rear-wheel steering. By allowing the rear wheels to turn by as much as 2.5 degrees in the opposite direction to the front wheels at speeds below 37 mph, and by up to 0.7 degrees in the same direction as the front wheels above the 37 mph threshold, the car delivers enhanced steering and maneuverability. When it comes time to bring the 3,893 pound C43 to a halt, the team at AMG has outfitted the car with drilled and ventilated 14.6- inch rotors and 4-piston calipers up front and 12.6-inch rotors with floating single-piston calipers in the rear.
Aside from the usual AMG badge branding, the exterior styling of the C43 offers a number of subtle touches that let the world know that this isn’t another garden-variety C-Class. Up front the Mercedes signature Panamericana AMG grille grabs your attention along with the more aggressive front bumper.
Tastefully integrated side sills adorn the length of the car, and out back the diffuser-look rear bumper and quad exhaust tips further suggest the performance attitude.
The interior also provides a number of reminders to its occupants of the car’s sporting intentions. The Nappa leather-wrapped AMG flat-bottom steering wheel with its unique layout and aluminum shift paddles is a dead giveaway, as are the aluminum pedals and new illuminated door sills, while black MB-Tex sport seats with red stitching and faux suede inserts combined with red seatbelts complete the ensemble. The 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and 11.9-inch central touchscreen multimedia display running the familiar MBUX infotainment and navigation system with voice activation are on tap, not to mention Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Buyers will have plenty of options to upgrade the appearance of their C43 including AMG Night and Performance Studio Packages, along with a carbon fiber pack. Comfort and convenience enhancements are also available including ventilated front seats, quad-zone automatic climate control, heated steering wheel, high-end Burmester sound system, wireless smartphone charging pad, heads-up display, panoramic roof, and acoustic glass. Those with an eye to using the car at track day events will want to add the AMG Track Pace data logger, designed to help drivers improve lap times by measuring and recording more than 80 key data points including speed, acceleration, steering angle, and pedal input.
The return of the C43 is set to provide another option for those shopping the Audi S4 and BMW 340i xDrive. While Mercedes has yet to confirm an official release date or pricing guidelines, we suspect the car will likely hit showrooms this fall with a starting price in the $55-60,000 range. In the meantime, we suspect it won’t be long before details of the upcoming C63 iteration are available for those seeking next-level performance.
As a gearhead who will openly admit to having suggested on more than one occasion that “there’s no replacement for displacement”, I’ve often regarded the perpetual shift towards smaller powerplants turbocharged and/or supercharged to within an inch of their lives as band-aid fixes to satisfy government fuel economy restrictions. However, as time goes on, the addition of electrification to the available arsenal of tools available to automobile manufacturers has been an exciting development to watch. As automakers continue their journey towards widespread EV acceptance and adoption, I suspect there is much more excitement ahead.
Tom Bennett cover GM EV news at Torque News and has had a lifelong obsession with cars, spending more than his share of time in, around, (and frequently under the hood of) a wide variety of vehicles. His eclectic taste in cars has led to the ownership of a steady procession of vehicles from nearly every mainstream brand over the past 3 decades. After working in and writing about the foreign exchange industry for over 20 years, he is excited to be shifting gears to share his passion for all things automotive. You can follow Tom on LinkedIn and Twitter for daily automotive news.
Image source: Mercedes-Benz pressroom.