Mercedes-Benz AMG has never been short on confidence, or the length of nomenclature they use to describe their vehicles. Recognized for excellence in vehicle manufacturing, design and driving ability, they also have a solid reputation for long model names. For example, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz AMG C 43 4MATIC Wagon. The name says it all. It won’t leave anyone guessing as to who makes it, what’s under the hood or its shape. No unwanted surprises here, another trait the originator of the automobile is famous for.
Power comes in the form of an AMG-enhanced 3.0L V6 biturbo gasoline-powered engine. It produces a pulse-quickening 385 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 384 lb-ft of torque at 2,500-5,000 rpm.
Matched to a silky-smooth AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9-speed automatic transmission, this family wagon will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 4.8 seconds and easily top out at 2.5 times the legal highway speed limit in Canada. I could say American highway speeds as well, but they don’t get to enjoy this Benz wagon as it is for the Great White North only on this side of the pond.
To make it even more enjoyable, the visceral experience of punching it from a stop, or moving left from the center lane to pass, is exceptional. The sound is pure AMG, with a throaty exhaust note and a little kick to the gut and snap of your neck.
On top of that, you are driving a wagon, capable of hauling five people with ease and all the things you might need for an extended road trip. In a way, this is the ultimate sleeper car, which is reason enough to abandon your mandatory SUV quest and drive something a little more fun, but still so practical. With 460-1,480 litres of cargo capacity rear seat up or down, pack this full, head for the hills and enjoy the rare experience of feeling connected to the road rather than just floating above it.
Pushing the AMG C 43 4MATIC Wagon through the corners of Niagara in Ontario where I live, I never get tired of entering at speed, braking late and hard, then accelerating out of the turn and on to the next corner in rapid succession. Our test vehicle is equipped with optional 19” AMG Twin 5-spoke wheels ($0) for a little extra flare.
Unexpected dips in the road, of which there are a few on this day, are no problem for the AMG ride control sport suspension with 3-stage damping. It is a little stiff, but that’s how I prefer my scotch at the end of the day, as well my drive experience in a practical but fun car such as this. Rack-and-pinion steering with electro-mechanical assist offers sharp steering wheel control with just the right amount of feel and weight.
Inside, there is enough brushed metal, carbon fiber and tech available to keep the most ardent Swiss watch connoisseur engaged, but not to the point of being overplayed. This is elegance in the new Mercedes-AMG design language; a business suit with so many hidden features and pockets you can’t wait to put it on and get out into the world.
Black AMG Charcoal Nappa/Nubuk leather upholstery ($1,990) is augmented by AMG carbon fibre ($1,500) for a sporty interior very uncharacteristic of what you would expect in a wagon. The suede and leather 4-spoke steering wheel has perfectly-placed thumb grips for enhanced control. Buttons and switches for the cruise control and audio system are placed within easy reach of your thumbs as well, allowing you to stay focused on the road ahead. The optional Head Up display ($1,500) provides the necessary info at a quick glance.
Front seat head, leg and shoulder room is excellent. The back seat is equally comfy, though legroom is somewhat at a premium for those over six feet tall. The is a C-Class at its core, so while it seats five easily, remember to keep the tallest occupants up front if possible. Quality materials abound throughout the cabin, but that should be expected given the name on the hood and price on the balance sheet.
The rear storage compartment is what you should assume from a wagon, gracious and well designed to maximize space and allow for objects of varying sizes. It’s not “SUV” big, but close and the trade-off is minimal for the overall better driving experience on the road. Pile in the hockey or figure skating bags in winter, baseballs, gear and soccer balls in the summer, with oranges cut and ready, of course. The 2019 Mercedes-Benz AMG C 43 4MATIC Wagon can handle it and the road with equal aplomb!
2019 Mercedes-Benz AMG C 43 4MATIC Wagon
Freight: not available
Configuration: front engine, all-wheel drive
Engine: 3.0L AMG enhanced biturbo 6-cylinder
Transmission: 9-spd automatic
Power/torque: 385 hp/384 lb-ft
Fuel economy ratings: 10.8 L/100 km
Fuel capacity: 66L
Warranties: 4 years/80,000 km (comprehensive)
Competitors: Audi A6 Allroad, BMW 3-Series Touring, Volvo V60
- Driving experience unique for a wagon
- Styling is elegant and sporty
- Engine is fun to push, sounds great
- Rear seat room legroom is somewhat tight
- Expensive alternative to an SUV with less clearance