The wagons are back, furiously with the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Wagon. SUVs are too common, sedans are a bit outdated (often misunderstood), and coupes are impractical. Is the wagon the solution !?
I remember the time when our father used to tell Nico and I how cool the wagon was. At that time he was talking about the Audi RS2 or the first RS6 and I remember that at the time I did not agree with him. The shape was too weird in my opinion, something was wrong. Indeed, it just wasn’t a BMW M3 or M5. Anyway, time has passed and now I’m starting to understand what my dad told me about 15 years ago. The wagons are cool! Let me explain.
The Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Estate design
Some people like it, some don’t. Regarding the design of this car, I have mixed feelings. Firstly, in my opinion it’s not particularly good looking from the outside… I find it a bit too round and ordinary for an AMG. I preferred the old-school Mercedes straight lines like in the wagons they made in the 90s or even the previous generation.
One thing I like is the oval shape of the 4-tip exhaust, it looks nasty (and therefore great). Overall, the rear of the car is well proportioned and I like it. I see way too many SUVs and it feels so good to see a wagon (and to drive it too, I’ll get to that later).
I didn’t like station wagons 15 years ago but everyone is evolving and now I find that they have a little something, maybe that touch of originality that is terribly lacking in our SUV universe. The profile of the car looks very good to me. Not too long, not too high, just the right size. The length of the carit is 4.71m which means that it is it not a huge car.
From the inside, this car blew me away. It is the most beautiful premium sports car that I have seen in a long time. The quality of the assembly is perfect by that I mean much better than in an Audi. The buttons are all aluminum. The dashboard, seat and steering wheel are covered with beautiful leather and Alcantara. I liked it. Center console looks great even though it’s not real carbon fiber. You feel so good behind the wheel with this steering wheel in your hands that all you want to do is hit the road.
I loved the cockpit even though it is the older generation without the digital cockpit. As you know I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to interiors and think the handles are the best way to give you information about your car (rpm and speed). Unfortunately it will disappear in the new car, in fact it will be replaced with the same type of screen I had when I tested the E400 saloon. As for the infotainment system, as usual with Mercedes-Benz, I found it very complicated to use and not great even though it is very comprehensive.
The Burma optional ring the system is absolutely amazing, the sound is clear, the bass is vibrant! If you are a parent with a young child and want to forget that your child is screaming in the back for no reason, great. If they’re a little older, the great thing about this sound system is that you won’t hear them say “Daddy, when are we coming?” A million times. In fact, your kid probably won’t even ask you this question, because the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Estate is a great place.
Driving the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Wagon in Montreal
Key in my pocket, I wake up the C43 AMG with the start / stop button. First of all, I configured my Individual mode. Racing exhaust mode, sports suspension, manual gearshifts and dynamic engine mode. The Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Break roars. The V6 almost sounds like an older AMG V8, but louder. After a few minutes of laughing at that sound, I started to wonder about its sincerity. Is it real or is it amplified by some sort of speaker somewhere?
Quickly my questioning ended when I knocked him down for the first time. Several things happened at that time. Let me take the time to break them down for you. 1 – The car starts to scream and therefore I started to smile. 2 – I felt the acceleration in my body. 3 – The red zone arrived VERY quickly. 4 – I pulled on the right gearshift paddle to shift up a gear. 5 – Nothing happened. 6 – Nothing happened. 7 – The shift to higher “safety” gear has occurred.
Mmmh is this really the manual mode? I started to worry about my ability to change gears manually. Am I that kind of person who is not able to use the paddle shifters properly? No no and obviously no, I started using them long before I got my driving license when I was driving the Paul Ricard circuit in the powerful Ferrari F430.
Let’s try again. I was quite disappointed with the manual mode of the gearbox as it was very slow to change gears and far too often the car just doesn’t change gears when you pull the flip down paddles. It’s a shame because the feel of the paddle shifters in the hands is really good and you really want to use them. Return to automatic mode. Suddenly the car is more pleasant and the gearbox is managed correctly. It’s not the best I’ve experienced but it’s good.
One thing I immediately noticed (and loved) was the feel in the steering wheel. It’s great. You feel every inch of asphalt under your hands. The steering wheel is thick, the steering heavy enough as it should be in sports modes. It gives you confidence in the car and its ability to go fast.
Overall the car is really fun to drive. Very usable and somewhere discreet when not driving the loud exhaust modes. The car is powerful and very fast when driving around town with Smart and Toyota vehicles.
Unleash the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG wagon
Even though it’s not a real AMG (Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Estate engine is not handcrafted by one person) this is built to be sporty somewhere. This “little” AMG is equipped with a 3.0-liter V6 developing 385 hp and 4-wheel drive. It must be something to drive. AMGs have always been exciting to drive and a lot of fun with lots of power slips when accelerating.
1 hour from Montreal, there is this special road in Lanaudière where I like to bring cars. Why? It is not very busy, very winding and the elevations are quite significant for eastern Canada. Therefore, it is amazing to test the real dynamic capabilities of cars. The speed limit is 90 on most roads as well, making every turn nice at a decent speed without losing my driver’s license or going to jail.
The low center of gravity of the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Estate makes it a pleasant car to drive. Compared to most SUVs, body roll is very limited.
On the road, this car is bipolar, on the one hand you have a lounge with comfortable seats, an incredible audio system and a comfortable ride. On the other hand you have a screaming wagon, glued to the asphalt that can take turns at stratospheric speeds without straying an inch from its driving lines. Surprising.
Its greatest quality is somewhere its biggest flaw on the road. Its traction is too good. Full throttle in the middle of a tight curve, the car rolls, and you don’t lose traction at any time. Is it really an AMG? Yes, because of its exceptional handling on the road. This is great, however in my mind an AMG must be able to do power slides (I may be a little special, but I know most of you will agree with me on this).
On the road again the gearbox is disappointing in manual mode. You never know if upshifting will work if you go down and want to get close to the red zone. In my opinion, using the paddle shifters adds to the driving experience so I found it a bit irritating. The automatic mode is actually better in this car. Unfortunately it is not better because it is incredible but because the manual mode is not a true manual mode.
The steering is super precise and you quickly forget you’re driving a family car. On the road, due to the great traction, I realized that the C43 AMG wagon might be slightly underpowered. I think I also have this feeling because of the weight of the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Break even though it is not that heavy by 2019 standards. 1760kgs to be precise.
Rating #FunToDrive: 76/100
Make no mistake, this is an amazing car with a lot of horsepower and torque. It looks relatively cool and it’s really fast. Indeed, if I became a father in the next few years, I could consider buying it on a daily basis. It’s spacious, somewhere sporty while being super comfortable.
But you wouldn’t just have this car. I mean I wouldn’t. It’s not exciting enough. Maybe the C63 AMG Wagon would be a better choice in my opinion. In fact, when I am a father, I think it will be a good excuse to buy this kind of car. It’s almost too reasonable for an AMG.