There’s not much better than a Mercedes-Benz wagon — unless it’s a Mercedes-AMG wagon. Like the first time arrival in Canada of the alternate body style C 43. While the fourth-generation W205 platform it sits on remains the same, the exterior is reshaped and the model is also offered as a coupe, convertible and sedan.
Debuting at the Geneva Motor Show last year, the exterior of the vehicle is rather unassuming to the average onlooker, giveaways being a hunkered down ride height from the sport suspension, large exclusive 18-inch wheels and badging on the tailgate.
Upon closer inspection there’s also the signature twin louver iridium silver-coloured grille, more aggressive bumper intakes with a front splitter underneath, functional aerodynamic side skirts and quad tailpipes surrounded by a rear diffuser.
The same type of understated performance is evident in the cabin, as well. The dash is covered in a gorgeous combination of genuine carbon fibre and textured aluminum. The leather seating is comfortable and most importantly supportive, which is important for what’s beneath the bodywork.
A new AMG steering wheel features a flat bottom, steel paddle shifters and built-in touch control buttons similar to the track pad on old BlackBerry smartphones. Intuitive and responsive, flicking a finger across the surface lets users alter settings and information via the instrument cluster display.
Taking a few points away from an otherwise fine interior is the antiquated transmission stalk, attached to the steering column that has been around for as long as I can remember. Not only does it look cheap and plastic-y, but also selecting the correct gear is at times frustrating due to a lack of defined positions.
Powering the C 43 is a massaged version of 3.0-litre bi-turbo V6 engine, mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission, now outputting an additional 23 horses for a total of 385 and 384 lb-ft of torque. This setup allows the wagon to rocket from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds.
Drivers can make the experience even more exciting by pressing a small button on the centre console that toggles the dynamic exhaust, causing internal baffles inside the piping to open up allowing extra noise to pass through.
Equipped with a 4MATIC all-wheel drive, the system is rear biased (31 per cent front and 69 rear), helping the car retain the nimble handling Mercedes-AMG is known for. The extra traction is quite noticeable especially launching from a standstill.
Prices start at $59,900 MSRP.