After three years on the market, Mercedes-Benz sent the C43 AMG to Affalterbach's makeover academy. The junior varsity AMG C sedan flashes new shiny bits throughout, from the resculpted bumpers, to more brawn from the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, to an optional all-digital dashboard and driver assistance features from the big brother E-Class. And if old school AMG holdouts have a look in back they'll note the return of quad-oval tailpipes, which appears to be how AMG will differentiate V6 from V8 models.
Since this is AMG, we'll start with performance: larger turbos boost output to 385 hp, 23 hp more than before. Torque holds steady at 384 pound-feet, so to the 0 to 60 time of 4.6 seconds and the 130-mph electronically limited top speed. We don't have fuel economy numbers yet, but Mercedes says the engine's more efficient, and so are the wheels. The three available rims in 18- and 19-inch sizes have been "aerodynamically optimized" through hours in the wind tunnel to improve air flow around the wheels. AMG's 9-speed automatic manages gear changes, with new software tuning that enables faster shifts in all modes, multiple downshifts at one time, and it holding the chosen gear even when hitting the limiter. The AMG Dynamic Select driving modes add a fifth selection, Slippery, for wet and snowy conditions.
New identifying details start in front, with a twin-louver AMG grille up top, and sharper edges around the intakes below. Two horizontal flics span those intakes, and airflow vents now adorn the sides of the front bumper. Redesigned LED headlights come standard, as do LED taillights. In back, a "significantly more expressive diffuser" sits between quad pipes, those pipes usually finished in chrome. The optional AMG Night Package (pictured above) eliminates the shine, swaps for a different front splitter, and adds broader side skirts.
An optional, all-digital instrument cluster measures 12.3 inches and can display three moods, "Classic," "Sport," or "Supersport." A thorough set of digital gauges covers everything from transmission oil temperature to real-time horsepower, torque, and turbo charge pressure. The new Napa leather AMG steering wheel controls those and other functions with the help of touch-sensitive buttons from the S-Class that respond to horizontal and vertical swipes.
For the first time in the C43, buyers can option climate-controlled AMG Performance Seats. Interior trim choices grow with the addition of natural grain walnut and aluminum, and natural grain grey oak, as well as saddle brown upholstery. An extensive list of driver assistance features comes down the chute from the E-Class, and the "enhanced intelligent hands-off detection includes sensing via finger pads."
The series production C300 gets two noteworthy tweaks — engine output goosed 14 hp to 255 hp total, and two new 17-inch wheel options. The 2019 C-Class sedan is expected to reach dealers late this year.