I have owned a 1999 C43 for 10 years, have 94,000 miles on it. I had a 1992 Porsche-built MB 500 E before that. I have owned many very high performance cars (1973 Datsun 240Z re-manufactured into a Scarab, 1954 Austin Healy with a 350 Chevy etc. and this one is my favorite. It is a a comfortable, reliable, solid, fast, functional sleeper. It is known locally as my truck, since I use it mostly to haul building materials of all sort. I love this car. My wife has a 1997 E550 and it is good, but not C43 good.
The C43 is a true sleeper. A lightweight body, anonymous and quiet design, with a stonking engine and massive (E55) brakes. The combo gives excellent performance and very acceptable fuel economy (24 mpg). It has brought me through filthy weather such that I have many times thanked the car as I have walked into the house from the garage (don't tell my friends about this...). It's the last of the hand-built AMGs, built like a tank and full of character: speaks softly and carries a big stick, for when you give it wellie and cross 4,000 rpm, it puts on a Nascar soundtrack. I never tire of its dual nature, and I plan to keep it forever. It is a wonderful machine.
I wanted a car that my wife could drive to work daily and that I could take out and still feel young after I get out of the company car (1997 Olds 88) What a gem! It's free. This is one of my top three most favorite cars I've owned out of 53 and still buying. Everey time I get in this car about 40 MPH I stomp on it and it sounds brings a smile to my face :-). I might just buy the wife something else to drive just so I can savor the fun.
I have had my 1999 for 3 years and really enjoy it. The suspension is a bit firm for Wisconsin frost heave streets but that is my only complaint. I love the exhaust note and the power. I had the engine management computer reworked to eliminate the stumble under full power shifting. That was money well spent. I have also put after market wheels on it and feel that has improved the appearance. This is my first MB and I will own others. True class has no year of manufacture.
I have owned several Mercedes-Benz from 280SE to a C240 4Matic (wife's car) and this is my favorite. Wonderful creature comforts and city driving manners, but that's NOT why you would buy this car. I just took it to High Plains Raceway to get acquainted in a controlled environment. This is a heavy car, but handles extremely well. Well-balanced, good turn-in, good feedback, controllable through the limits of adhesion, fun to throttle-steer (with traction control off). Though half a ton heavier, it held its own with M3s and 911s. Next trip is to the dyno to verify HP - this car is better than advertised, even with almost 100k miles!