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Carried over from 2016’s C450 sedan, the C43’s twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 is a gem. Powerful and torque rich, the 385-hp engine pairs with a new nine-speed automatic transmission that swaps cogs with both speed and precision. The boosted six has deep wells of power and never feels overwhelmed or overworked when you call upon it. Despite the boost in power from 362 to 385 horses, the 2019 C43 sedan delivered the same 4.1-second zero-to-60-mph time at our test track as the 2017 model we last tested. While Mercedes-AMG equips the C43 with a pair of steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, we found the nine-speed gearbox a competent enough companion when left to its own devices.
Befitting its AMG badging, the dynamically adept C43 is a joy to pilot through twisty two-lanes. Credit its quick steering that’s both direct and precise, as well as its rear-biased all-wheel-drive system that allows a dollop of chassis rotation before requesting additional assistance from the front wheels. The suspension can be adjusted between Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ settings. All three modes are needlessly stiff, however, and make driving over rough pavement a bone-jarring experience.
The C43’s interior is finely detailed and crafted of rich materials that meet the expectations set by the model’s lofty transaction price. As in other other C-class models, the C43 features a contemporary dashboard design with a flowing center stack that hides a deep storage well with a pair of cupholders. Largely devoid of buttons, the C43’s center stack is anchored by a row of expensive-looking knurled rocker switches for operating the standard dual-zone automatic climate control. While ergonomically arranged, the climate-control panel sports small graphics that can be hard to read on the fly.
All C43 models come with a 10.5-inch infotainment display running the latest version of Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND infotainment software; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard. Commands are completed using a rotary controller or a touchpad that’s inconveniently placed atop the controller. Response times were no better or worse than your average smartphone.
Every C43 comes equipped with standard safety features such as forward-collision warning along with automated emergency braking. Additional driver-assistance features are available as well. However, adding these items requires spending thousands on high-priced packages. Key safety features include: