Old Mercedes-AMG C 43 Drag Races New C 43, Proves There Is No Replacement for Displacement

Previously known as the C 450 AMG Sport 4MATIC, the previous-gen C 43 polarizes opinion. The single most controversial thing about it comes in the form of a regular production engine (a 3.0-liter V6 codenamed M276 DE30 LA) rather than a hand-assembled one.
Old Mercedes-AMG C 43 Drag Races New C 43 10 photos
Photo: SamCarlegion on YouTube
Old Mercedes-AMG C 43 Drag Races New C 43Old Mercedes-AMG C 43 Drag Races New C 43Old Mercedes-AMG C 43 Drag Races New C 43Old Mercedes-AMG C 43 Drag Races New C 43Old Mercedes-AMG C 43 Drag Races New C 43Old Mercedes-AMG C 43 Drag Races New C 43Old Mercedes-AMG C 43 Drag Races New C 43Old Mercedes-AMG C 43 Drag Races New C 43Old Mercedes-AMG C 43 Drag Races New C 43
In production since 2013, said powerplant features a couple of turbochargers and no hybrid nonsense whatsoever. By comparison, the M139 of the C 43 available to configure today is a four-pot lump originating from Affalterbach. It's a true AMG engine with an electric turbocharger, yet sports 2.0 liters of displacement and sounds like a glorified vacuum cleaner.

Tipping the scales at 4,092 pounds (1,856 kilograms), the W206 packs 402 horsepower and 369 pound-feet (500 Nm). Its 48-volt system further summons 13 ponies at low engine speeds. Equipped with a 4MATIC system that splits the torque 31 percent up front and 69 percent to the rear axle, the W206 also flaunts the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G nine-speed transmission.

The secret sauce is the MCT part in its uppercase-only name, which stands for multi-clutch transmission. Rather than the 9G-Tronic torque-converter automatic, this AMG-specific tranny incorporates a wet start-off clutch for optimized response. In theory, it should be quicker than the AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G (torque-converter transmission) of the previous-gen C 43.

Rated at 385 horsepower and 384 pound-feet (520 Nm), the six-cylinder mill in the W205 is an idea torquier than the four-pot engine in the W206. The old C 43 is lighter as well. The lightest specification weighs 3,836 pounds (1,740 kilograms), and that's a tremendous difference over the new C 43. So, which one is quicker in a drag race? From both a standing start and a rolling start, the answer is – of course – the W205.

Sam CarLegion clocked a best of 4.5 seconds to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) and 13 seconds flat in the quarter mile in the 2023 model year Mercedes-AMG C 43. The W205 needed 4.2 and 12.7 seconds. The German automaker from Stuttgart makes a case for electrified performance in the day and age of draconian fuel economy and emission regulations, but on the other hand, extra weight and complexity while downsizing is the single wrongest way of designing a sports sedan.

Mercedes also uses four cylinders in the C 63 nowadays, which is why the M3 outsells it by a huge margin. There was talk of Mercedes bringing the V8 back for the mid-cycle refresh of the C 63, yet Mercedes denied the rumor. With the G80-generation M3 expected to end production in 2027, sales of the C 63 aren't likely to improve by then if AMG insists with four cylinders.

The C 43 is available to configure stateside at $59,900 (excluding the destination freight charge), whereas the 2024 model year Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance is estimated to start in the $85,000 region. By comparison, the six-cylinder M340i xDrive and M3 Competition xDrive retail at $59,600 and $84,300.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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