Unbeatable Power: Mercedes-AMG C43 – Affordable Luxury with 400+ HP - SUV VEHICLE

Unbeatable Power: Mercedes-AMG C43 – Affordable Luxury with 400+ HP

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Summary

  • The most affordable German sedan with more than 400 horsepower is the Mercedes-AMG C43, surprising considering its lower cost among its competitors.
  • The new Mercedes-AMG C43 model features a shift from a V-6 to a turbocharged inline-four engine, improving power and efficiency.
  • While the 2024 C43 has minor changes, the addition of the AMG Dynamic Plus package boosts performance and adds red accents for a sportier look.



If you’re looking for a fine blend of performance and luxury, then you’re not going to get much better than a German sedan. The big three, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi, have been developing high-end cars that can rip and roar for as long as they’ve been around. Is it possible to find an affordable one with 400 horsepower, though?

Affordability is relative. The most affordable German sedan with 400 horsepower is the Mercedes-AMG C43. This is a little surprising considering Mercedes-Benz is usually the most expensive of the three. The C43 has also been the source of some controversy due to the loss of a much-loved powertrain.

We unpack what it costs to buy and own this impressive piece of German engineering, presenting what your trim choices are and just what you get for your money. We take a look at the new powertrain under the hood of the C43 and answer whether it’s actually an improvement over the last iteration.


In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from various manufacturer websites and other authoritative sources, including HotCars, CarBuzz, and Fuel Economy.gov.

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The Mercedes-AMG C43 Was Fully Redesigned Last Year

The Mercedes-AMG C43 moves into the 2024 model year with very few changes. However, that’s only because it was totally revamped last year. It was redesigned along with the C-300, but instead of being prim and proper, it looks as if it is ready to be driven at full tilt.

2024 C43 Pricing

Trim

Starting MSRP

Premium

$60,700

Pinnacle

$64,650


(Source: Mercedes)

The 2024 Mercedes-AMG C43 phases out the coupe and cabriolet versions of the performance car, now only offering it in fastback sedan form. Its starting MSRP is surprisingly affordable for the equipment that you get, and the performance jump over the C300 sedan on which it’s based. The Pinnacle trim offers some increased functionality and some quality-of-life subscriptions that, in our opinion, are worth the slight increase in cost.

Changes For 2023

The most prominent change that happened in 2023, of course, was the C43’s shift from a twin-turbocharged V-6 to a single turbocharged inline-four. This definitely ruffled plenty of feathers in the Mercedes-AMG fan base and people were outraged, despite the fact that the new powertrain is more powerful and more efficient.


The C43 inherits all the benefits of the C300’s overhaul, including a high-tech cabin fitted with an impressive infotainment system and a ton of other amenities. The difference between the C300 and the C43 is that the latter replaces much of the glossy trim with racy carbon fiber and an AMG logo at the bottom of the steering spoke.

Changes For 2024

While the changes for 2024 are far less dramatic than last year, they are still super impactful. The smallest change that brings about some extra functionality is a wireless phone charging pad across the lineup. Quality of life changes like this aren’t massive, but they are always welcome.

The biggest change is the addition of the AMG Dynamic Plus package. This package adds dynamic engine mounts, a race-driving mode, and red-painted calipers. Not only does this package give you a little boost to performance, but it also adds a nice red flare against your wheels.

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A Fiery Inline-Four Manages To Put Out An Impressive 402 Horsepower

Shot of the engine bay in the 2023 Mercedes-AMG C43
Mercedes-AMG

The most controversial change that Mercedes-AMG has been opting for in recent times is ditching the large displacement V-shaped engines in favor of turbocharged inline-fours. While this has definitely stirred the pot, the increased efficiency and power that these engines are capable of speaks for itself.

Performance

Engine

2.0-Liter Turbocharged Inline-Four

Transmission

9-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

402 hp

Torque

369 lb-ft

Driveline

AWD

0-60 MPH

4.6 Seconds

Top Speed

165 MPH


(Source: Mercedes-AMG)

The inline-four on the 2024 C43 may be downsized from the 3.0-liter V-6 of the past, but it produces more power, more torque, and more fun. The turbocharged inline-four is assisted by a 48-volt hybrid system which helps to increase power at low RPM, as well as a turbocharger that was derived from the German automaker’s F1 division. The turbo uses an auxiliary motor to help spool the compressor, reducing lag.

For those hoping for a manual transmission as an option, unfortunately, a nine-speed automatic is your only choice. As is the all-wheel drive, which features a rear-steering system and adaptive dampers.

Fuel Economy

Model

City

Highway

Combined

C43

20 MPG

28 MPG

23 MPG

(Source: Fuel Economy.gov)


The C43 is on par with its peers in terms of fuel efficiency. It performs much better in highway driving than it does around the city, which is pretty normal. If you value fuel efficiency but live in a city, this may not be your first choice, though.

While the inline-four has definitely proved its chops in terms of its performance, what is surprising is that it isn’t particularly more efficient in terms of fuel economy than the outgoing V-6. In fact, the only place it does better is in the city testing where the C43 only achieved one extra mile per gallon.

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The C43 Has The Same Stylish Interior As The C-Class But With A Sporty Twist

Interior shot of the dashboard in the 2023 Mercedes-AMG C43
Mercedes-AMG

As we touched on earlier, the C43 is the sportier version of the C-Class sedan. This means that their interiors are pretty similar. This is great though, as the interior of the C-Class features a ton of tech and comfort options that make it an absolute pleasure to sit in.


Key Features

  • Leather Upholstery
  • AMG Carbon Fiber Trim
  • Sport Steering Wheel
  • 11.9-Inch Infotainment Screen
  • 12.3-Inch Digital Gauge Display

The interior of the C43 is a brilliant blend between the classy, luxurious cabin of the C-Class sedan and the sportiness that you would expect from an AMG car. The flat bottom sport steering wheel and the optional carbon fiber trim add a racy feel to the impressive sport sedan.

On top of the long list of standard equipment, there are also tons of optional extras that can take your C43 to the next level. Ventilated, heated front seats can keep you warm on cold winter mornings, as will the heated steering wheel. Four-zone climate control and noise-canceling glass will isolate you from the noisy world and keep everyone feeling comfortable. A performance seat package gives you access to AMG bucket seats with integrated head restraints.

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Mercedes-AMG Has Some Fierce Competition At This Price Point

2023 BMW M340i
BMW

While the C43 is the cheapest German sedan you can get with more than 400 horsepower, Audi and BMW still have some excellent offerings for a little more money. Audi offers the RS3 sedan, which sits incredibly close to the 402 horsepower produced by the C43. The BMW 3-Series is one of the most legendary sedans ever made.

2024 BMW M340i

Engine

3.0-Liter Turbocharged Hybrid Inline-Six

Transmission

8-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

382 hp

Torque

369 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD or AWD

0-60 MPH

4.1 Seconds

Top Speed

155 MPH


(Source: BMW)

If you’re looking for a 400-horsepower sedan, then BMW’s lineup is a bit awkward. The 3-Series is the most affordable option but misses the 400-horsepower mark and the M3 costs way too much to compete with the RS3 and the C43.

However, despite it being slightly less powerful, the M340i is a brilliant choice for those looking for a powerful German sedan. The M340i’s starting MSRP is $57,600, meaning it’s the cheapest in this range of sedans. The six-cylinder under the hood absolutely rips and the interior is excellently refined, as we would expect from BMW.

2024 Audi RS3

Engine

2.5-Liter Turbocharged Inline-Five

Transmission

7-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

402 hp

Torque

369 lb-ft

Driveline

AWD

0-60 MPH

3.6 Seconds

Top Speed

155 MPH


(Source: Audi)

The RS3 offers pretty comparable power to the Mercedes-AMG C43. Instead of using a four-cylinder or six-cylinder, Audi makes use of its signature inline five in the RS3 to just reach the 400-horsepower mark.

Audi is usually less expensive than the other two big German manufacturers, but the Audi RS3 comes in at $62,300, slightly more expensive than the C43. Despite having the same amount of horsepower and torque, the RS3 features much quicker acceleration and is clearly the more driver-centric car.

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