Mercedes-Benz has just recently launched the new E-Class in India. We are the only market in the world that gets a right hand drive long wheelbase variant and just like with most luxury cars, you get two engine options. The E200 turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol or the E350d V6 twin-turbo diesel. Of course, both get rear wheel drive as the E-Class has always had and both will sell like hot cakes even though they are priced at quite a premium over everything else in the segment. The E200 petrol is aimed at chauffer driven audience who wants comfort and nothing else and the E350d is aimed at the buyer who will still occasionally want to drive but prefers the frugality of a diesel engine. But what if you insist you want a petrol powered car, you also want something fun to drive yourself and you still want all that luxury and comfort that the new E-Class offers. The E43 then is aimed right at you!
The E43 (just like the C43 that we have in India) is like the mid level performance variant of the E-Class. If it were a pastry, it would be a donut. Still fun enough to give you a (sugar) rush and yet not as indulgent as say a Black Forest Pastry. But enough of the chocolate references. Lets get back to the car.
The E43 is only available in the standard wheelbase version and not in the long wheelbase like you get in India. Other more obvious exterior changes include a nicer and much sportier front bumper that is very similar to the one on the E63 AMG, a rear bumper with a larger diffuser, a set of side skirts that make the car look a little lower and a very subtle lip spoiler. You also get the AMG sport wheels that I personally am not a big fan of and an AMG grille that I actually am a fan of.
But the real sweetness of the E43 lies under its skin. Up front, the puny four cylinder petrol engine has been ditched for a Biturbo 3.0 litre V6. The engine makes 396 bhp and 520Nm of peak torque, which in any normal world would be good enough to shred your rear tyres every time you stomped on the throttle with the traction control off. But, it doesn’t. Instead, the E43 grips like its tyres were made out of 3M double tape. And that is because under the skin it also has the Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system.
Punch the throttle and what you get is instant acceleration and a 0-100 kmph dash of 4.6 seconds. And it does a limited 250 kmph too. But, the E43 AMG is not as shouty as its older 6-pack flaunting brother, the E63. Instead, it does all of its work quietly and with almost no drama at all. Even the exhaust note on the E43 is muffled and although you do get the AMG pops and bangs if you shift down the gears aggressively, they are a lot more muted and mature than you would have expected. That said, don’t for a moment thing that there is no feeling of power. It will still grab you and throw you backwards into your seat with a vigor that only a German sports sedan can.
And in all the AMGness it offers, it still manages to ride comfortably – as any self respecting E Class should. The E43 gets the Comfort, Sport and Sport+ settings too and what that does is sharpens up the response on the throttle and gearbox while also changing the ride and handling characteristics of the car. If we were to choose though, we would set the ride in the Comfort setting and put the engine and gearbox to the Sport+ setting giving it the best balance. An electronically controllable sports exhaust setup though would have been a great touch to complete the package.
While the exterior is a little muted, the interior certainly is not. With a carbonfibre dashboard as an optional extra and a set of sports seats and bright red seatbelts, the interior of the Mercedes-AMG E43 gets just the right amount of sportiness you need to make this car feel special on an everyday basis. The E43 will also get the dual screen setup as standard, a feature that is absent in the E-Class variants that we get in India along with the usual array of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and navigation. You also get a large sunroof that makes the all-black cabin light up a little bit.
On the whole, the E43 does two things really well. The first is the fact that it brings the sport sedan and the luxury sedan concept closer than every before in one package. And the second is the fact that it makes the AMG brand a lot more accessible to a whole bunch of customers who otherwise could have never afforded it. As a car then, the Mercedes-AMG E43 is one of the most all rounded package that we can think of today. The E43 will make it to India by the end of the year and should be priced at just under Rs 1 Crore is Mercedes-Benz intends to make a mark with it.