Used 2000 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Review
An incredible sport sedan whose performance is matched by its price.
Two years ago, high-performance tuner AMG, long associated with Mercedes-Benz products, dropped a 302-horsepower 4.3-liter V8 engine into the engine bay of the tidy little C-Class sedan. The result was nothing short of sensational, so Mercedes, long considered BMW's sullen stepsister, decided to create a limited-production run of the muscular model to generate interest in the aging C-Class lineup.
The C43 AMG, now entering its third and final year in current guise, accelerates from zero to 60 in less than six seconds. Other go-fast goodies include a special two-stage resonance intake manifold, a Touch Shift automanual transmission pilfered from the SL500 roadster for its higher torque capacity, and performance-tuned gear ratios for maximum acceleration capability.
Underneath the sedate bodywork, the four-wheel independent suspension gets higher-rate springs, solid 27mm stabilizer bars and degressive-action Bilstein shocks front and rear. Full-range traction control uses the braking system and throttle to keep power to the ground, while Brake Assist and upgraded vented discs front and rear haul the C43 AMG down from triple-digit speeds swiftly and surely.
Electronic Stability Programming (ESP), otherwise known as stability control, keeps the C43 AMG in line if the driver manages to exceed the lofty adhesion limits of the wide 17-inch tires mounted to five-spoke AMG rims. Quicker-ratio power recirculating ball steering gear and a high-performance exhaust system complete the hardware changes that make a C43 AMG a C43 AMG.
Don't expect a smooth ride from this bad boy. It rides stiffly, but the trade-off is astounding grip and minimal body roll in smoothly paved corners. The steering feels a little lifeless, but responds well off center. The brakes are ridiculously competent, and ESP works as advertised. We haven't tried the Touch Shift tranny yet, but in a sport sedan, psuedo-gearchanging is better than automatic gearchanging any day of the week. Still, a manual would be ideal.
Inside, the C43 AMG gets multi-adjustable sport seats with pneumatic bolstering, exclusive two-tone leather appointments, and special ivory-colored gauges. Additionally, the C43 AMG's steep $53,000 price tag includes a power sunroof, Bose audio system, automatic climate control and a manually telescoping steering column. TeleAid is newly standard for 2000, and it automatically summons assistance if your airbags have deployed in an accident. TeleAid also helps in medical emergencies with an SOS feature, and allows the C43 AMG owner to query live operators about specific features of the car or call upon Mercedes-Benz roadside assistance. Because TeleAid contains a GPS unit, the car can also be tracked easily if it is stolen.
But, is this limited-production car worth the premium? Can a monster engine, tight suspension, superb performance and exclusivity be valued so highly? Enough people think so to keep the C43 AMG in the lineup for 2000.
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This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
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