AMG spirit boosts ’18 Mercedes C43 Coupe

A biturbo V-6 engine powers the sleek Mercedes C43. (Bud Wells photo)

While rolling down the road in the sleek 2018 all-wheel-drive coupe, the Mercedes AMG C43, reach to the right and push the switch moving the drive mode from Comfort to Sport, adjust the suspension setting to Sport-tuned also, activate the enhanced exhaust and enjoy the run – it can serve as a restorer of youthful urges.

Thanks to the Benz’s stiffened suspension, the strong acceleration from the C43’s twin-turbocharged and intercooled 3.0-liter V-6 engine is complemented by minimal body roll in cornering.

A great drive it is, made possible through the AMG-boosted 362-horsepower, 384-torque engine and a smooth, responsive 9-speed automatic transmission.

Yes, it’s all-wheel drive, yet the October snowfall led M-B officials to delay by a day its delivery to me, a concession to the coupe’s Pirelli 225/40R19 summer performance tires. I recall a cold, snowy day in downtown Greeley several years ago, when I missed by 6 inches wiping out a power pole while slipping and sliding in a BMW 3 series with summer performance tires.

With a sufficient fill of the spirited sport setting, revert to “comfort” levels for the drive, suspension and steering for a pleasant ride home. Suspension remains fairly stiff even in the softer mode. Large 14.2-inch front discs lend reassurance for braking in either mode.

While the C43’s blocks and heads weren’t hand-built, for which AMG is best-known with other Mercedes products, the coupe received enough performance infusion to make it a worthy competitor to the BMW M3.

The AMG designation means “performance-tuned with precision.” In 1967, automotive engineers Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher began fine-tuning engines for Mercedes-Benz race cars in an old mill in Bergstall, Germany, and AMG was born. AMG became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Daimler company (Mercedes is a division of Daimler) in 2005.

The 2018 silver Mercedes with red leather seats carried Jan and me on a late afternoon to Loveland, then south on U.S. 287 to Erie, where we joined Keith and Sandy Boggs and Glenn and Ruthie Selch for dinner. The chicken piccata surely is a specialty of Sandy’s.

The Mercedes averaged 21.9 miles per gallon in overall driving; its EPA estimate is 20/27.

Burmester, long a German associate of Mercedes-Benz, lends one of its high-end audio systems to entertain the C43’s interior. A flat-bottomed AMG steering wheel and large sunroof are among highlights in the cabin. Tucked away in a center console cubicle is a working cigarette lighter and small ashtray.

That performance exhaust enhancer, which sings so loud, was among options which boosted the AMG C43’s sticker price to $72,835 from a base of $55,900. Among others were illuminated door sills, head-up display, navigation/traffic/weather, trunk lid spoiler in high-gloss black, park assist, surround view and active lane-keeping assist. The car’s attention-assist system, if it detects drowsiness from the driver, flashes a suggestion to “Take a Break.”

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz Metris passenger van. (Bud Wells photo)

Contrasting the flash and zip of the sporty C43 coupe was a test of the 2017 Metris Pasenger Van 126.

It is so basic, there were few buttons or switches to push on the Metris, with no cruise control, no rearview camera, no power mirrors.

It is a Mercedes-built passenger van, doubling as a cargo hauler, and competes with the Ford Transit Connect, Chevrolet City Express, Ram ProMaster City and Nissan NV200.

A good runner, with plenty of power from a 208-horsepower/258-lb.ft. torque, 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine and 7-speed automatic transmission, the van is of rear-wheel-drive configuration. Its EPA estimate is 20/23 miles per gallon.

Built for sturdiness and hauling, as well as passenger loads of seven or eight, the ride can be rough at times. It rides on Hankook 225/55R17 tires.

The reasonably priced Metris, $35,415, had only two options – a power sliding door on the driver side and the same on the passenger side. Seats are of durable cloth finish.

In an unusual placement, the fuel filler tube is behind a flap at the driver’s door. Its opening at the back is of the “barn-door” type, side-by-side doors..

With all three rows of seats in place, the Metris’ cargo area still measures out to 38 cubic feet.

The midsize van is 202.4 inches in overall length on a wheelbase of 126 inches and curb weight of 4,850 pounds.