Two years back I would have never really cared if Mercedes said they had put rocket launchers behind the 3-pointed star (A big Audi fan back then, you see!) But now I fall in love with almost anything that rolls out of the Stuttgart superstars production line. And more so nowadays, with the unveil of the E43 AMG at the New York International Auto Show. There are cars I can wait and not be excited or eager to drive them quickly when they are released. But this is a car I’m willing to do sit-ups and exercise (which I loathe) to get behind the wheel.
First of all I have to make it clear. I really love this car for one big reason and that is – It has been neglected for a while. We all are too caught up looking at C63’s taking on BMW M3’s when we know they don’t even stand a chance. But we like the C63’s underdog persona in its fight against the M3. Now, moving to the neglected middle child. I’ve always said that the E220 and E350 are in some markets literally Mercedes’s bread and butter and are constantly one-upping the BMW 5-series. Back in the day they have been overshadowed in the performance department by the V10 M5’s and more currently the stupid ones with only badges, exhausts and mild ECU remaps which, everyone who buys a 5-Series nowadays, wants so that they can fantasize about not driving a diesel but a V10 monster.
We tend to forget that the E63 AMG was, at the time, the car many called Europe’s muscle car. On the track, it was fighting everything from Camaros to Jaguars. You name it and the E63 was going for it. Also, it sounded the best in many people’s opinion in the whole AMG range. Richard Hammond once said, “Put the E63 in Sport and you hear the real AMG dawn-cry.” I was surprised that businessmen and people who want to be chauffeured around and who would travel by nothing but a E-Class (which is the executive saloon) to have decided to flock to the more expensive (yet boring!) and not all powerful stuff like the Panamera, CLS, etc when they traded up. And now I know why. The E63 looked old and tired. And a businessman simply can’t look old and tired. Now that’s about to change.
The new E43, as the nomenclature suggests, is going to be car of the same category as the C43 AMG. Mercedes is keeping up with the times of emission control and cost saving measures. With two new turbochargers and corresponding software applications, the V6 engine delivers a total output of 396 BHP. The ample peak torque of 520 Nm is available right from a low engine speed of 2500 RPM. As ever, the standard-specification AMG Performance 4Matic four-wheel drive combines optimum traction with high agility on the E43, thanks to rear-biased torque distribution with a front-to-rear ratio of 31:69 percent. The 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission with shorter shift times, the re-tuned sports suspension based on the AIR BODY CONTROL air suspension and the more direct steering ratio also provide for signature AMG Driving Performance. This package guarantees performance on a par with many a sports car: The new E43 4Matic reaches a speed of 100 kmph from a standing start in 4.6 seconds, while its top speed is electronically limited to 250 kmph.
In the looks department, they have really out done themselves. It does not look anything like the old car – not tired and certainly not bored. I’d say the design on the car is heavily AMGed. And it’s a good thing. The styling is low-key sinister and made for furious performance. No line or crease is here to please your arty senses. It looks aggressively fast just standing still, this car. Two elegant cross fins on the outer cooling openings enhance the vehicle’s visual presence. The diamond grille with chromed pins, a louver in high-gloss black and the AMG lettering represent further hallmarks of the AMG 43 models. The side view is dominated by high-sheen 19-inch AMG five-spoke light-alloy wheels painted in high-gloss black. The rear end also features characteristic highlights, with two chrome-plated quad-flow exhaust tailpipes conveying a particularly sporty aesthetic look. The rear apron trim in diffusor look comes in silver chrome, while the standard-specification spoiler lip on the boot lid is painted in the body colour.
The interior reinforces the dynamic calibre of the new E43 with numerous individual details. The driver and front passenger find a secure position in the sports seats even when driving at speed, thanks to the improved lateral support. The upholstery in ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre (optionally: Nappa leather) in black features a distinctive layout and red topstitching. To match the seat design, the door center panels and the dashboard are finished in ARTICO man-made leather with red topstitching. Exclusive pedals, a black roof lining and red seat belts add further sporty highlights. The multi-function sports steering wheel in black nappa leather with red contrasting topstitching and featuring a flattened bottom section is ideally suited to an emphatic driving style. The AMG instrument cluster delivers all relevant information in a clearly arranged layout optimized for a dynamic driving style. Two tube-style round dials, the 11.4 cm (4.5-inch) multi-function colour display, the RACETIMER and the 280 kmph scale in chequered-flag design conjure up a sports car feel.
In all, this is a car we should be waiting for. For now, there is no release date of this car in India. And it’ll take a really long time, since the car will first hit the US market in early 2017. Till then, we will have to shell a bit more money for what we have here, the face-lifted E63 AMG, which is actually good enough for me.
Image source: Autoblog