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I drove one, my impressions: (archive)

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Posted by Rob @ UUC Motorwerks on June 18, 2000 at 19:56:40:

In Reply to: thinkin about gettin a mercedes C43. opinions? posted by bob on June 18, 2000 at 18:08:21:

I drove one when they first came out, a friend was considering getting one.

My impressions:

Very nice quality, better than the E36. A few small things struck me as really cheap-feeling, particularly the little stalk-mounted seat controls... I've seen better plastic on a $7.99 single-use camera.
Seat comfort level is high, higher than the E36... but at the expense of "sport" feel. Not as much bolstering. More upright position.

driving impressions:
Adequately quick for an automatic, would probably be comparable to an E36 M3 auto... but the auto totally kills the "performance" feel.
Suspension was comfortable, but once again at the expense of performance. The car felt like it had a lift kit - seriously needs to be lowered. Felt like I was driving a bar stool. Tires suck, but that's Merecedes tradition.

Not enough seperates it from a base C-class, it is almost indistinguishable from the base model costing $20K less. At least the E36 M3 had some bravado in its bodywork.

The fact that "AMG" is on the engine cover means nothing. Since Mercedes-Benz bought AMG, it has become little more than a trim package. There is nothing different about the C43 engine compared to the same V8 in the larger sedans. AMG used to be an engine builder and tuner, now they are represtented merely by cf trim and fancy wheels. Sad.
The C43 is a comfy and competent competitor to an E36 M3 automatic. Understated looks. Does this sound like I am "damning with faint praise"? Yes, I am. I really could not justify it as a good choice compared to the next MB model down or next MB model up. A newer E46 328i would offer similar performance, feel, and looks for $15K - $20K less, and the E46 M3 would blow it away at similar money. Only a good choice if you love Mercedes, need four doors and an automatic.

- Rob Levinson
UUC Motowerks

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