That clearly drove high excitement for us once we learnt Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) arranged a much longer weekend test stint for us recently. Though things did look to be on the up initially, Mother Nature had different plans for us through her spell of constant thunderstorms during our test days.
Despite the weather preventing us from stretching this fast four-door’s legs fully and visiting the car wash just before our photo shoot, it does little at dampening this performance sedan’s true talents and charm. Well, you wouldn’t expect less of anything that bore the revered AMG badge, would you?
Like its predecessor, the story hasn’t changed much apart from the exterior’s slight nip-tuck plus the cabin’s improved list of kit. Also unchanged is the fact that this fast four-door still rolls off the assembly line not overseas in Germany, but locally in Pekan, Pahang instead.
That last fact might trigger tales you’ve probably heard about shoddy build quality and fitment, but that quickly became a myth of a distant past once we sat inside and basked in this sedan’s plush yet purposefully sporty ambience. This perhaps is a testament of MBM’s ever-growing and long-standing local assembly (CKD) efforts.
It still feels as posh as the German-built unit we drove last year, which is sweetened with updated tech like Apple CarPlay connectivity and a booming Burmester hi-fi, but that’s just half the story. The other half lies in this saloon’s almost unrivalled performance that’s packaged together, and it’s still one for all to savour.
Sure, the 390bhp and 520Nm of twist delivered by the twin-turbocharged V6 mounted up front driving all four wheels don’t make this a tyre-shredder like the C63S. But unlike said V8-powered sibling, the fact that you can access and use nearly all this ‘junior’ offering’s got to give nearly all the time makes it all the more exciting
Add a properly sorted chassis into that equation, specifically one brimmed with things like clever electronic dampers and an array of trick electronic driver aids that include selectable drive modes and it’s plain to see that this Merc is as good to carve twisty B-roads on the weekends with as it is about living the high life for the rest of the week.
Of course, there’s a price to pay for this much Jekyll-and-Hyde versatility, but we’ll be brief by pointing out the powertrain’s slight clunkiness when tasked with handling the daily traffic crawl through the concrete jungle. Still, this isn’t a deal-breaker considering how much more refined it felt now over the pre-facelift version it replaced.
Apart from that, and perhaps the powertrain’s insatiable thirst for high-octane petrol when pushed, this super-saloon has almost no other flaws.
We’ve said it before, and it’s worth repeating: the C43 is a true ‘everyday sportscar’, and one that’s not impossible to obtain at RM421,888 (sans insurance).
Yes, that’s still quite a lot of Ringgits to shell out, but it’s a fair ask considering what the C43 delivers in total. There’s also the bragging rights of it being the fastest locally assembled sedan you can buy right now before a certain electrified Swedish alternative gets built locally.
Even then, there’s no hiding this sports sedan’s draw held by the three-lettered badge it bears, one which it shares with the likes of the AMG GT. With that in mind, this is the power player from Pekan anyone would be proud to have in the driveway indeed.
This is the power player from Pekan, Pahang anyone would be proud to have in the driveway
|Sleeper looks, sensational performance and practicality
|Still a tad bit clunky to commute with on a daily basis