THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: The E43 4MATIC is a nicely balanced car with AMG-inspired performance tweaks.
- What’s Worst: The ride is more on the sporty than comfort side.
- What’s Interesting: The E43 gets buyers into the AMG lineup for $35K less than the more powerful E63 sibling.
Some drivers are never satisfied when it comes to the horsepower of their vehicles.
The more the better, they say.
Yet there are others who can manage quite nicely with less power as long as they have a vehicle that is tuned for spirited performance when they want it.
As I grow older, I find myself falling in with that crowd more and more.
It’s that way with Mercedes-Benz automobiles and their famed AMG lineup of vehicles.
In particular, after spending a week with the 2017 AMG E43 4MATIC Sedan, I was left with the feeling that it has everything I could want— a great combination of power, luxury, technology and good looks all wrapped up in one neat package.
With 396 hp and 384 lb/ft of torque from its biturbo V6 engine, the power of the E43 pales in comparison with its E63 sibling that generates 603 hp from its thundering V8 with dual twin-scroll turbochargers.
Yet during my time with the E43, I never was left feeling shortchanged on get-up-and-go. When I needed acceleration to pass or merge into high-speed traffic, it was there in spades to satisfy my driving needs.
Mercedes-Benz says it will do the 0-100 km/h run in 4.6 seconds, plenty quick enough in my books.
Over the years I’ve come to realize that on this side of the pond where you don’t have high-speed sections of autobahn to really enjoy your performance car, unless you participate in track days, your vehicle’s capabilities are wasted a good percentage of your driving time.
And with a starting price of $79,900 for the 2017 model, $35k below that of the AMG E63 Sedan, the E43 provides buyers with a step into the AMG lineup at a much more reasonable price.
Most readers will know all about AMG, but for the uninitiated, it is the performance arm of Mercedes-Benz, based in Affalterbach, Germany.
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They build some of the most sought-after cars in the world with models ranging from coupes to sedans and even SUVs.
Based on the all-new tenth-generation E-Class sedan, the E43 4MATIC gets the AMG treatment with a host of performance tweaks that take the twin-turbo V6 up from the 329 hp as found in the E400 4MATIC Sedan.
With its 4MATIC all-wheel drive system and nine-speed automatic transmission, the E43 has been tweaked to offer quicker shifts and with about 70 per cent of the power going to the rear axle.
The AMG treatment also gives it different front and rear bumpers from the regular E-Class sedan, quad exhaust tips, a trunk lid spoiler and additional AMG badging. Inside there is a distinctive leather-wrapped steering wheel, red stitching on the seats, door panels and dash and a few other clues that this is something different from the ordinary sedan.
Standard fare includes the AMG Dynamic Select drive system that features five modes, activated via a toggle switch on the centre console. Sport and Sport+ modes are designed for high vehicle dynamics and Comfort, ECO and Individual round out the five available modes.
The cabin has the look and feel of luxury with rich black Nappa leather upholstery with the contrasting red stitching.
The seats themselves are a work of art, offering everything from massage features to active side bolsters that keep you firmly planted in tight corners or when navigating roundabouts that are becoming so popular these days.
Another striking feature is the dashboard with its man-made black Artico leather, again with contrasting red stitching.
Family members over Thanksgiving weekend were totally taken by the interior, particularly the LED ambient lighting that offers an amazing 64 colours and the massive 12.3-inch infotainment display screen with super clear graphics that sits at the top of the centre stack.
Front and centre for the driver is a customizable high-resolution widescreen digital instrument cluster with a pair of tube-style round dials flanking a screen providing all kinds of relevant information.
New for 2017 on the E-Class is a touch sensitive control button on the steering wheel that responds to horizontal or vertical swiping motions, similar to a smart phone interface. This allows the driver to control the entire infotainment system from the steering wheel.
The nine-speed automatic is a slick piece of equipment, changing gears virtually seamlessly. Steering wheel mounted paddles are there for those that crave the need to shift manually.
The AMG-tweaked sport suspension with Air Body Control offers precise body control with little perceptible roll on tight corners, enhanced by the updated all-wheel drive system. The ride is more on the sporty than comfort side, particularly with the low-profile tires on the snazzy 20-inch AMG multi-spoke wheels.
Our tester was enhanced with the Premium Package ($6,200), Technology Package ($2,600) and AMG Driver’s Package ($1,000) taking the as-tested price to $89,700.
Drivers with deep pockets and the burning desire to go fast will undoubtedly opt for the AMG E63 model.
However, the tamer E43 4MATIC may be the perfect choice for many buyers who want to break into the AMG lineup and up the performance quotient over the standard E-Class offerings.
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2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG E43 4MATIC Sedan
BODY STYLE: Five passenger, four-door performance sedan.
DRIVE METHOD: front-engine, all-wheel-drive.
ENGINE: 3.0-litre V6 biturbo (396 hp, 384 lb/ft of torque) with a nine-speed automatic transmission and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
CARGO VOLUME: 540 litres.
FUEL ECONOMY: 12.4L/100 km city, 9.4L/100 km highway.
PRICE: $79,900; as tested $89,700.
WEB SITE: Mercedes-benz.ca