update 4/26/22, 6:30 p.m.: mercedes has clarified that the 13 horsepower boost occurs at lower rpm and therefore doesn't increase the overall output. this makes the mercedes-amg c43's peak output 402 horsepower.
mercedes-amg just teased a performance-oriented c-class, and now its already here. meet the 2023 mercedes-amg c43, which uses an innovative, turbocharged inline-four with hybrid assist that makes 402 horsepower and comes standard with all-wheel drive. the c43 will eventually be surpassed in terms of performance by a new c63, but for now it represents the top of the c-class lineup.
the powertrain is shared with the mercedes-amg sl43, which has not yet been confirmed for the united states. that means the c43 is powered by the m139 2.0-liter inline-four—also found in the cla45 and gla45 amg models—and has a turbocharger with an electric motor plus the typical exhaust-gas plumbing. the electric motor, about 1.6 inches thick, is attached to common shaft between the turbine and compressor wheels, so the motor can spin the shaft before the exhaust gases do. mercedes says this will reduce turbo lag, improving response when the driver hits the accelerator, and will also maintain boost pressure on throttle lift. the turbocharged 1.6-liter v-6 hybrids used by the mercedes-amg formula 1 team feature the same technology.
in the c43, the four-cylinder engine is good for 402 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, with a 48-volt, belt-driven starter-generator can add 13 extra horses for a quick boost. the 48-volt electrical system also powers the motor in the turbocharger, and the 48-volt motor/generator can also recoup energy under deceleration and provides a smooth stop-start function. like in the sl43, the 2.0-liter engine is mounted longitudinally. mercedes says the c43 will hit 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, with an electronically limited 155 mph top speed when equipped with the standard 18-inch wheels. upgrading to the optional 19- or 20-inch wheels raises the top speed to 165 mph.
mercedes’ rear-biased 4matic all-wheel-drive system is standard, and the transmission is a nine-speed automatic with a wet clutch pack in place of a torque converter. the c43 rides on steel springs with adaptive dampers, which can adjust their response based on whether they are set to comfort, sport, or sport+. the c43 also comes with rear-wheel steering as standard. at speeds up to 37 mph, the rear wheels will turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels at up to 2.5 degrees, while above 37 mph, the rear wheels will move in tandem with the front wheels at up to 0.7 degrees. the upgraded braking system includes 14.6-inch discs and four-piston fixed calipers up front and 12.6-inch discs with single-piston floating calipers at the rear.
the c43 doesn’t look all that different from the standard c300, gaining the amg grille with vertical slats and a “diffuser-look” rear bumper with vents behind the wheels and round, quad exhaust tips. the interior gains a flat-bottom amg steering wheel wrapped in nappa leather with aluminum shift paddles. the seats get mercedes’ mb-tex faux leather and red stitching, matched by red seat belts. the pedals, floor mats, and illuminated door sills are also new for the amg model.
mercedes says the c43 will go on-sale late in 2022. there is no word yet on price, but given that the c300 starts just under $45,000, we predict that the c43 will start at around $60,000 when sales begin.