Mercedes Now Makes an Insane Car for ‘Everyone’
F YOU MAKE luxury cars, some rule apparently says, you must also make a whole line of super sporty versions of your cars, to reach the customers who want to be both coddled and seen from behind. BMW has M for Motorsport. Audi uses RS (for RennSport, or racing sport). Lexus and Jaguar each go with ‘F’, for some reason. And then there’s AMG, perhaps the best known of the bunch. Previously known as AMG Motorenbau und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (the always catchy German for engine production and development) the racing and tuning firm was started by ex-Mercedes engineers in the 1960s. By the late 90s it had proven itself as the go-to place for a performance Benz modification, and was subsumed back into the family.
Now, to woo wealthy American buyers who demand extra pep and flash to show for their expenditure, Mercedes is expanding its lineup, including with a new “entry-level” AMG, the 43. If you’re intrigued by this new suitor, here’s what you can expect.
Mercedes has a new Goldlöckchen.
The new AMG 43 stakes out the middle ground between regular Mercedes models and the high performance AMGs (the 45, 63, and 65). The 43 is supposed to be not too boring, but also not too race-ready, because in real life, that typically means unpleasantly stiff suspension, and giant engines which hate crawling in freeway traffic. The AMG43s get more subtle enhancements.
Prepare to be confused by the names.
Because nothing can be simple, the ’43’ isn’t one car—it’s the AMG variation of a bunch of models. AMG has had a meddle with the SLC 2-seater roadster and the C-Class, making the C43 coupe, cabriolet, and sedan. There’s an E43 sedan, and a GLC43, plus the coupe version (because everything must be difficult, Mercedes applies to word ‘coupe’ to a four-door SUV). At the top of the line, there’s the full-sized SUV, the GLE43, and coupe. With the AMG43 additions, such as improved engines, upgraded suspension, and tarted up trim, the bigger vehicles feel sufficiently sporty and not too utility. Got it?
You'll get an engine upgrade.
All the AMG43 cars get a 3.0-liter V6 biturbo—and a nice big biturbo chrome badge on the fenders in case you, or the guy in the car next to you forgets, that your car is fancier than his. AMG has tweaked the powerplant for performance with some clever software adjustments to unleash a bit more turbo boost. That makes full torque available a little earlier, so even the big 43s feel decently responsive.
All-wheel-drive is (pretty much) standard.
The SLC 43 roadster pictured here is the only AMG43 car that doesn’t route power to all four wheels, sticking with its rear-wheel only drivetrain. The others get AMG performance ‘4MATIC’, which sends 69 percent of the drive to the back, and 31 percent to the front. To deal with that redistribution, AMG uses a newly designed front axle.