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2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 First Look: Not So Mild Hybrid

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 First Look: Not So Mild Hybrid

If you wanted more than four cylinders, you're outta luck

  • A more potent C-Class
  • Sportier interior and exterior treatments
  • No more turbocharged V6, though
  • Part of the fifth generation C-Class introduced for 2023

The 2022 Mercedes Benz C-Class has barely reached U.S. showrooms, and Mercedes has already added another model to the top of the lineup. Meet the new 2023 AMG C 43, a far more potent version of the baby-Benz that kicks out 402 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque from just four cylinders.

Yes, you read that right. In case you haven't heard, the C-Class will no longer feature an engine with more than four cylinders, and the AMG versions are no exception. Even the upcoming C 63 will be a four-cylinder hybrid, but we don't expect to see that car until much later this year. As for the C 43 that Mercedes just announced, don't let the lost cylinders from the last car's V6 trouble you too much, because this engine makes 17 more ponies than the C 43 it replaces.

The new engine (code-named M139L) makes all that grunt thanks to a plethora of new, electronically controlled systems. A 48-volt mild hybrid system powers an electronically driven turbocharger. A tiny electric motor spins up the compressor before hot exhaust gasses enter the turbo, and the result is better throttle response and more overall punch. The engine can also get a boost of 13 extra horsepower for short periods of time from a belt-driven starter-generator motor. That's a lot of hybrid tech, but the end result is what we all want more of: power.

All that grunt is channeled through a nine-speed automatic gearbox and sent to all four wheels. Rear-axle steering, an optional extra on non-AMG C-Classes, is standard on the C 43 — at speeds below 37 mph the rear wheels will turn as much as 2.5 degrees in the opposite direction of the fronts, but above that speed they'll turn in the same direction as the fronts. A set of 18-inch wheels cover 14.6-inch front brakes and 12.6-inch rears. Top speed is limited to 155 mph with the standard wheels, but if you go for the optional 19s or 20s, top speed is raised to 165 mph. The 0-60 mph sprint is over in a Mercedes-touted 4.6 seconds.

Suspension is handled by AMG's Ride Control system. These electronically controlled dampers can firm themselves up or soften based on which drive mode you choose. As always with modern cars, there are a plethora of drive modes to pick from. Slippery will dial everything back in wet conditions, while Comfort should serve well during everyday driving. Sport and Sport+ modes turn the wick up, and Individual mode lets you cherry-pick the best of each setting for the steering weight, exhaust sound, throttle response and damper stiffness.

There are also a few subtle exterior changes to the C 43 that denote its extra potency. New front and rear bumpers, a quad-tailpipe exhaust, and the signature Panamericana AMG grille should help you tell it apart from the run-of-the-mill C-Class. The inside is much the same as the standard car with the 11.9-inch tablet-like MBUX display rising into the dashboard and the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster resting in front of the driver. There is a new steering wheel and AMG's super-sporty bucket front seats can be had as an option.

Mercedes hasn't announced pricing yet, but we expect that will come later in the year as the C 43 enters showrooms later this fall.

Edmunds says

We're going to miss the V6 and V8 options, but at least this C-Class is plenty potent.