2022 has been a really strong year in terms of Mercedes reveals. After the debut of the EQS SUV, the company’s flagship electric vehicle, we have something new from Affalterbach, the 2023 Mercedes-AMG C43.
Supposedly built using technology derived from the Formula 1 team, the new C43 makes big changes in the engine department, now being powered by a four-cylinder engine. The technology was first shown in the SL 43 performance luxury roadster, but it’s obviously going to be more famous in the W206 C-Class sedan.
For over a decade, the AMG C-Class was known for its savage V8 output, whether that’s from the classic LS-sized naturally aspirated units or the smaller modern 4.0L twin-turbo. But this new C43 uses the smallest displacement of this chassis, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder.
Previously, the C43 was offered as a competitor to the Audi S4/S5 and thus featured a turbocharged V6. Mercedes stopped making it, and it’s believed that the inline-6 which took its place can’t be fitted to the C-Class. This is why there are only four cylinders and the BMW M340i has 50% more of them.
But don’t be too disappointed, because the output is quite decent Officially the 2.0L turbo makes 402 hp (408 PS) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque. That’s a whole lot more power than a Golf R and similar output to the CLA 45, which also uses an AMG 2.0-liter.
That’s basically 200 hp per liter of displacement, so the M139 is quite an impressive little engine. And thanks to the EQ Boost system, Mercedes promises an electrified acceleration helper: 14 hp for short bursts of speed.
Where does F1 tech come in?
Mercedes designed the turbocharger to reduce lag, using technology derived from Formula 1. A 1.6-inch thin electric motor is coupled to the turbo shaft, allowing it to spin up before the exhaust gasses arrive.
As before, the C43 comes standard with 4Matic AWD, derived from an RWD system and thus rear-biased. In combination with the 9-speed automatic gearbox, this gets the sports sedan to 62 mph (100 kph) in 4.6 seconds, while the top speed is officially limited to 155 mph (250 kph). Though it’s not immediately obvious, I think it’s going to struggle with the M340i, just like the CLA 45 does with the M240i.
The new AMG experience
But acceleration isn’t everything. It’s fair to say that many people automatically buy the best Mercedes they can afford, and that’s usually an AMG. This is why Daimler is a top dog in the luxury segment, and why so many influencers are rocking three-pointed stars in their selfies.
And I think the C43 ticks most of the important boxes, based on what I’ve seen in this walkaround video shot at the Affalterbach premiere by Mr. Benz. Does the car look good? Very. AMG no longer reserves the best features for top-end models, so the 2023 Mercedes-AMG C43 has a Panamericana grille at the front. I think the front end looks better than a more expensive CLS-Class.
Meanwhile, the interior is technically the most modern of any AMG right now. The SL-Class is an obvious exception, but you don’t have this layout in the E63, and the S-Class doesn’t come as an AMG yet. Obviously, the EQS will give it a run for its money, but not everybody likes triple screens.
The latest AMG steering wheel design is seen here, featuring capacitive buttons on ultra-thin spokes and a nice Alcantara wrap with red stitching. Two dials with built-in displays give it a high-tech performance look.
To its side, a sea of carbon fiber dashboard trim frames the giant infotainment screen which obviously sets this apart from the E53 which does have the same steering wheel.