The Mercedes-AMG 43-series has been a huge hit with enthusiasts as well as the dealers. With the price reduction thanks to the shift in sourcing from fully imported to locally-assembled, many dealerships saw a dramatic increase and production just couldn’t keep up.
The sun, moon, and planets must have aligned perfectly on that particular Thursday, as Mercedes-Benz Malaysia managed to arrange 20 Mercedes-AMG C43 and GLC43 models for a quick escape from their headquarters in Puchong through one of the best driving roads in Malaysia, up to Genting Highlands.
We started off with the Mercedes-AMG C43 sedan. The first half of the journey that plies the MRR2 highway certainly highlighted the essence of the Mercedes-Benz.
Setting the Agility Select drive mode to Comfort or Sport did not yield much of a difference to the ride comfort. The AMG Ride Control adaptive sport suspension soaked up the road imperfections better than expected.
The thud of road joints were transmitted more strongly into the cabin, but otherwise, it is as comfortable as the regular C-Class. We did not use the Eco mode for long, as the transmission moves to a higher gear too soon (there are 9 forward ratios) and it didn’t feel responsive when keeping up with traffic.
Exiting the Karak highway onto the stretch of continuous twists and gradient climbing, meant it was time to set the C43 into Sport+ mode and put windows down. The suspension stiffens up, the throttle response increases and my own adrenaline rush sets off.
The all-wheel drive system in the Mercedes-AMG 43-series has got to be the best calibrated in the performance car fleet. The AMG Performance 4Matic system by default only sends 31% of drive torque to the front wheels.
The setup means one can confidently apply full throttle (that is also 520 Nm of torque) and the C43 leaves corners without much drama, and plenty of confidence with the tail stuck to the tarmac. The sonorous howl from the exhaust outlets bounces off the cliff side at each drag of the gear range, further adding a sensory delight. Plenty of controlled burping and exhaust popping on the overrun (throttle lift-off) too.
A short mention of the gear-changes- while it is fast, it still lacked the total package (refinement, shift speeds) offered by the competitors that have one or two fewer ratios. One will only notice its shortcomings at the most aggressive settings, whilst living and commuting to home and work, it’s a great piece of kit.
After lunch, participants swapped cars and we moved into the GLC 43. Everything is familiar in here, albeit more headroom and shoulder room.
With the GLC 43 being a taller vehicle, it cannot hide the laws of physics. Entering sharper bends at similarly fast speeds, the body roll is notable to us both in the vehicle. While the C43 uses steel springs, the GLC 43 is sprung by air suspension technology on all four corners.
We felt the GLC 43 sounded even more aggressive than the sedan sibling. Both exhaust mufflers have a different structure- the GLC 43 has a large muffler stretching from side to side, while the C43 has a dual-muffler setup. Gentle notes of the exhaust can also be heard in the GLC 43 at low traffic speeds.
On the return drive back to MBM headquarters, the GLC 43 proved to be an equally great companion in slow moving traffic. Thanks to the air suspension, rough patches on the highway are not transmitted into the cabin even though fitted with wide and large 21-inch AMG wheels.
Interested to read more in-depth experience on the C43 and GLC 43? We have them covered here:
- Review: Mercedes-AMG C43 – Fit For All Occasions
- Review: Of Brutality and Balance – Driving The Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 SUV
The Mercedes-AMG 43-series continue to win many fans, as they clearly fulfil the brand promise of ‘Driving Performance’ in every aspect. These two models are certainly entering the realm of future classics, thanks to its daily-driving comfort perfectly combined with an astonishing straight line, cornering, and braking performance.