Is the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Estate make wagons cool again?
Wagons are back, in a furious way with the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Wagon. SUV are too common, berline are slightly outdated (often misunderstood) and coupe are not practical. Is wagon the solution!?
I remember the time where our dad was telling Nico and myself how cool wagon were. In that time he was talking about the Audi RS2 or the first RS6 and I remember that at the time I strongly disagree with him. The shape was too weird in my opinion, something wasn’t right. Indeed, they were simply not a BMW M3 or M5. Anyway, time past by and now I start to understand what my dad told me about 15 years ago. Wagon are cool! Let me explain to you.
The Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Estate design
Some people like it some other don’t. Concerning the design of this car I’m mitigated. Firstly, in my opinion it’s not particularly beautiful 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 used to make in the 90s or even the previous generation.
One thing I do like is the oval shape of the 4 tip exhaust, it looks mean (and therefore great). Overall the rear face of the car is well proportioned and I like that. I see way too much SUV and it feels so good to see a wagon (and drive it too, I will come back to this later on).
I didn’t like wagon 15 years ago but everybody evolves and now I find that they have a little something, maybe that touch of originality that is terribly missing in our SUV world. The profile of the car looks very good in my mind. Not too long, not too high just the right size. The car length is 4.71m which mean that’s it’s not a huge car.
From the inside this car blown my mind. It’s the best looking sporty premium car I have seen for a long time. The quality of the assembly is perfect by that I mean way better that in an Audi. The button are all in aluminums. The dashboard, seat and steering wheel are covered with a beautiful leather and Alcantara. I loved it. The central console is looking great too even if it isn’t real carbon fiber. You feel so good in the driving seat with that steering wheel in your hands that the only thing you want to do is hit the road.
I loved the cockpit even if it’s the old generation one without the digital cockpit. As you know I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to interiors and I think that handles are the best way to give you info about your car (rpms and speed). Sadly It will disappear in the new car, in fact it will be replaced by the same type of screen I had when I test drove the E400 berline. As per the infotainment system, as per usual with Mercedes-Benz I found it very complicated to used and not that great even if very complete.
The Burmester optional sound system is absolutely amazing, the sound is clear, the basses are vibrants! If you are a parent with young kid and you want to forget that your kid is screaming for no reason at the back it’s perfect. If they are a bit older the good thing with that sound system is that you will not hear them saying “dad, when do we arrive?” a million times. In fact, probably that your kid will not even ask you this question because the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Estate is an awesome place to be in.
Driving the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Wagon in Montreal
Key in the pocket, I awake the C43 AMG with the start/stop button. Before anything I configured my Individual mode. Race exhaust mode, sport suspension, manual shifts and dynamic engine mode. The Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Estate is roaring. The V6 almost make the noise of a old AMG V8 but louder way louder. After couple of minutes giggling about that sound I started wondering about the sincerity of it. Is it real or is it magnified by some sort of speakers somewhere?
Quickly my interrogation stoped when I floored it for the first time. Several things happened at that time. Let me take time to decompose them for you. 1 – The car starts screaming and consequently I started to smile. 2 – I felt the acceleration in my body. 3 – The red zone arrived VERY quickly. 4 – I pulled the right paddle shifter to upshift. 5 – Nothing happened. 6 – Nothing happened. 7 – The “safety” up-shift occurred.
Mmmh is that really the manual mode? I started to worry about my aptitude to shift manually. Am I that kind of person that’s not able to use paddle shifters properly? No no and no obviously not, I start using them way before having my driving license when I was lapping on the Paul Ricard Circuit in the mighty Ferrari F430.
Let’s try it again. I have been quite disappointed by the manual mode of the gearbox as it was very slow to change gears and way too ofter the car just does not change gear when you pull the flappy paddles. That’s a pity because the feels of the paddles shifters in the hands is really good and you definitely want to use them. Back to the automatic mode. Suddenly the car is more enjoyable and the gearbox managed itself correctly. It’s not the best one I experienced but it’s good.
One thing that I immediately noticed (and loved) was the feeling in the steering wheel. It’s tremendous. You feel every inch of asphalt right under your hands. The steering wheel is thick, the direction quite heavy just as it should be in sports modes. It gives you confidence in the car and it’s ability to go fast.
Overall the car is really pleasant to drive. Very usable and somewhere low profile when you’re not driving the loud exhaust modes. The car feels powerful and very quick when driving in the city with Smart and Toyota arounds.
Unleashing the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Wagon
Even if it’s not a real AMG (the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Estate engine is not hand built by one person) this is built to be somewhere sporty. This “small” AMG has a 3.0L V6 developing 385hp and 4 wheel drive. It must be something to drive. AMGs have always been exciting to drive and very very fun with a lots of power slides when hitting the gas.
1 hour away from Montreal, there is that special road in Lanaudiere where I love bring cars. Why? It’s not busy, very twisty and the elevation changes are quite important for eastern Canada. Therefore it’s amazing to test the real dynamic abilities of cars. The speed limit is also 90 on most of the road which make every turn enjoyable a decent speed without losing my driving license or going to jail.
The low centre of gravity of the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Estate makes it a good car to drive. Compared to most SUV the body roll is very limited.
On the road this car is bipolar, on one hand you have a salon with comfy seats, amazing sound system and comfortable ride. On the other hand you have a screaming wagon, sticked to the asphalt that can takes curves at stratospheric speeds without moving an inch away from its driving lines. Surprising.
Its biggest quality is somewhere its biggest flaw on the road. Its traction is too good. Full throttles in the middle of a tight curve the car goes and you don’t loose traction at any time. Is it really an AMG ? Yes because of its outstanding comportment on the road. It’s superb, however in my mind an AMG has to be able to make power slides (maybe I’m a bit special, but I know that most of you will agree with me on that subject).
On the road again the gearbox is disappointing in manual mode. You never know if the up-shift will work if you floor and want to shift close from the red zone. In my opinion using the paddle shifters add to the driving experience therefore I found this a little bit irritating. The automatic mode is actually better in that car. Sadly it’s not better because it’s amazing but because the manual mode is not a real manual mode.
The direction is super precise and quickly you forget you’re driving a family car. On the road, because of the great traction I realized that maybe the C43 AMG wagon was slightly underpowered. I think I also have this feeling because of the weight of the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG Estate even if it’s not that heavy in 2019 standards. 1,760kgs to be precise.
#FunToDrive Score: 76/100
Do not misunderstand me, it is an amazing car with plenty of power and torque. It looks relatively cool and its definitely fast. Indeed, if I were to become a father in the next few year, I could consider buying this as a daily. It’s spacious, somewhere sporty while super comfy.
But you would not have just this car. I mean I would not. It’s not exhilarating enough. Maybe that the C63 AMG Wagon would be a better choice in my opinion. In fact, when I’ll become a father, I think it will be a great excuse to buy this kind of car. It’s almost too reasonable for an AMG.