What is it?
Somehow it always works. Take a sedan, subtract the rear doors, lower the roof and what you get is something a whole lot more eye-catching than the original. It’s much the same when talking of the C43 Coupe that take the place of the C43 sedan in Mercedes’ India line-up. You won’t mistake the front end for anything but that of a C-Class and the shape isn’t outright sporty, but the lowered stance and flowing tail give the Coupe an identity of its own. Sporty details abound though it’s the classic AMG wheels and quad exhausts that make the most impact. Also, if you are planning to get one, do consider this optional Designo Hyacinth Red paint; it’s gorgeous.
What’s it like on the inside?
There are quite a few options to do up the C Coupe’s cabin as well. Personally, I’d opt for matt-silver or carbon-fibre trim for the interior; the brown walnut of our test car was a bit sedate in my opinion. Red seatbelts do add the necessary dash of colour and the racy sports seats are nice too. You sit slightly lower than you would in a C sedan but the look and feel of things in the cabin is much the same; no bad thing, that. However, full digital dials would have given the Coupe more distinction and it’s odd that Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are paid options and not standard as on the regular Cs. Of course, where the C43 Coupe differs from the C43 sedan or any C-Class sedan for that matter is at the rear. The rear seat is fair on comfort but essentially it’s the front occupant’s seating position that will determine legroom. Also, getting out of the rear seat requires a fair bit of contortionism. Then again, this isn’t a Merc that puts the onus on the passengers at the back.
Plush interior enriched with sporty details.
What’s it like to drive?
The C43 sedan served as a nice bridge between the standard models and the howling mad C63 S. The C43 Coupe sticks to script in that sense. Power comes from a 3.0-litre V6 bi-turbo engine that makes 390hp (up 23hp on the earlier C43) and 520Nm and is channeled to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission. It’s a quick, quick car racing to 100kph from a standstill in all of 4.95 seconds. And the strong acceleration is accompanied by a full-bodied, if not super loud, growl. What’s nice is that the performance is never overwhelming as it can be in a full-blown V8 AMG. Power comes in cleanly and play around with the modes and settings, you are sure to find a compromise that suits your driving style. What plays spoilsport is the ride. It’s firm and on our average roads you’ll always be moving about.
The C43 Coupe steers with grip and grace but on their favourite set of twisties, keen drivers might find the car’s steering a bit lacking in that last bit of connect. It’s quick to turn but doesn’t offer pin point accuracy. Also, the gearbox tends to fumble when you are gunning it through a series of tight turns. At low speeds in town too, the gearbox can come across as clunky.
Should I buy one?
The Rs 75 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) C43 Coupe doesn’t go head-to-head with any particular model in India but coupe alternatives exist in the larger and more relaxed Ford Mustang (Rs 74 lakh) and the smaller and more focused BMW M2 Competition (Rs 81.8 lakh). See the C43 in perspective of the others and it’s clear that its appeal lies in its blend of style, luxury and performance. The very ingredients that make Mercs, Mercs.