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Driven: Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe muscles in
AMG sales to reach new heights as C43 Coupe kicks off fresh assault from Mercedes
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26 Oct 2016
MERCEDES-BENZ Australia/Pacific has commenced its latest high-performance C-Class model offensive with the C43 Coupe and is anticipating that its full range of AMG variants in this class – which includes sedan, estate and cabriolet and takes in the top-end C63 as well – will snare as much as 20 per cent of total C-Class sales.
That could see annual sales of more than 2000 units once the full gamut of C43 and C63 variants has arrived, with the German manufacturer confident new buyers will flock to the ‘AMG-lite’ twin-turbo V6-powered C43 models, with little cannibalisation in store for the bi-turbo V8 C63.
Rivalling the Audi S4/S5 and BMW 340i/440i, the Mercedes-AMG C43 onslaught kicks off with the C43 Coupe launched this month and now in showrooms – priced from $105,615 plus on-road costs – and will be followed by the $101,900 C43 sedan and $104,400 C43 Estate within weeks.
The $119,900 C43 Cabriolet is set to arrive later this year, or early in 2017.
Mercedes-Benz Aust/Pac public relations, product and corporate communications senior manager David McCarthy said he believed the C43 could oust the C63 as AMG’s top seller in this country, and that, combined, the models would be a genuine sales force.
“We see C43 as a model that potentially has the ability to give C63 a run (in sales volume) but without actually stealing many sales from it,” he said.
“(C63) is currently the number-one AMG, there’s a lot of pent-up demand there … I don’t see that slackening off, it’s the biggest selling single AMG at the moment, but the growth of AMG is going to come from the 43s.
“I think the price point the car’s at from about $100,000 to $110,000, is tempting. When you put 43 and 63 as a proportion of C-Class, 20 per cent is not going to be impossible.”
The C-Class last year dominated the $60,000-plus mid-size passenger car segment with 9373 sales – well beyond the 4146 tally of the BMW 3 Series in second place – and remains the clear leader in the category this year (4930 sales to the end of September), despite a 33.5 per cent downturn.
Mercedes also sold 1409 examples of the C-Class Coupe last year, and with the just-launched C-Class Cabriolet now in the marketplace, sales of the two-door range are up 12.1 per cent to 1560 units at the end of September, overtaking the BMW 4 Series in the process.
In the C-Class Coupe range, the C43 slots in between the $83,355 C300 and $162,115 C63, with pricing closer to the former but an AMG badge shared with the latter.
As with other ‘43’ models, the C43 Coupe uses a 3.0-litre bi-turbo V6 petrol engine producing 270kW of power between 5500rpm and 6000rpm, and 520Nm of torque from 2000-4200rpm.
A nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission is fitted standard and has been tuned by AMG to “substantially reduce” shift times compared with other C-Class models using a similar transmission.
Unlike other rear-wheel-drive model grades including the C63, the C43 also becomes the first C-Class to utilise a 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.
With a torque split of 31:69 front/rear and a 19-inch alloy wheel and tyre package, the newest medium AMG can accelerate from 0-100km/h in a claimed 4.7 seconds.
Automatic engine idle-stop and a ‘sailing’ mode that decouples the transmission from engine when the throttle is lifted have assisted in delivering combined-cycle fuel consumption of 8.2 litres per 100km, with CO2 emissions of 188 grams per kilometre.
The standard variable-ratio steering (with Comfort and Sport modes) has been tuned by AMG to improve directness and response, and the adaptive suspension (with Comfort, Sport and Sport+ settings) has been teamed with a multi-link front axle with increased negative camber.
Steering knuckles and load-bearing joints were borrowed from the C63 for improved rigidity, according to Mercedes.
Unlike the Mercedes-AMG E43 large car, the C43 includes a switchable active exhaust to deliver a louder note.
Inside, six colours of leather-trimmed performance front seats have been made available, all with full electric adjustability and heating, along with a part-leather/part-Dinimica Alcantara-like steering wheel common to other AMG models.
Mercedes’ Comand system combines a 21.3cm TFT colour display with hard-disc drive navigation, digital radio, 10GB music register, Bluetooth connectivity, voice control, internet access and 13-speaker 590W Burmester audio system.
Other highlights include a panoramic sunroof, full LED headlights with adaptive automatic high-beam function, head-up display, full keyless entry with push-button start, surround parking sensors with 360-degree camera and automatic park assistance, and a Driver Assistance Plus package – complete with adaptive cruise control, automatic lane keep assistance, blind-spot monitor and full autonomous emergency braking (AEB).
By this time next year, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific will have launched C43 and C63 in sedan, estate, coupe and cabriolet guise, in addition to the GLC43 medium SUV and E63 large sedan.
The Australian subsidiary expects sales of its most extensive AMG range ever to exceed 5000 units this year – around 2000 sales more than it achieved in 2015.
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