Bikes In Cars: Mercedes Benz C43 AMG

You might be thinking, what is a saloon car doing in Cycling Plus Malaysia? Surely it is not the most suitable car for cyclists to roll around in? Well first of all, if you’re a regular weekend warrior and have been to all the regular cycling spots, you will know that cyclists tend to pair up their expensive and delicious looking bikes with their shiny sports cars.

This can sometimes even include two-door sports coupes. Secondly, this is no ordinary saloon, this is Mercedes Benz Malaysia’s locally built C43 AMG, a German beast that has been put together right here in Malaysia at the company’s swanky factory in Pekan, Pahang.

In fact, this alongside its SUV (sports utility vehicle) brother the GLC43 are the first AMGs ever to be built in Malaysia, effectively slashing the price of these splendid vehicles by nearly RM100,000 - and that’s before the GST era. So why not just go for the SUV version, you might say? Firstly because the GLC43 costs nearly RM60,000 more than the four-door saloon version, and secondly, some people still prefer saloon cars.

One downside is that these cars are not hand built in the traditional AMG way and instead are only 25 per cent handcrafted -- but does it really matter? Aren’t machines more efficient anyways? Apart from that, the only other downside is that the car can only manage to fit one bike, although that is without needing to take the front wheel off - something we love here at Cycling Plus Malaysia. If you need to carry more than one bike, a roof rack is always the best way, in our opinion.

The C43 AMG is a 3.0-litre 367hp 4Matic (four-wheel drive) Bi-Turbo (twin turbo) 9-speed saloon car. Some like to call it the entry level AMG but we think it should be better known as the AMG that you can actually live with every day. It’s comfortable when you need it to be and a monster when you’re feeling all AMG-ish. One of the most pleasant things about the C43 compared to the other AMGs is the versatility of the exhaust note.

When you need a quiet snoozing ride, let’s say on the highway, the car can be as tame as a silent shark in water. When you have the STIG head on, it can intimidate people with a roaring raspy exhaust note that would scare away the biggest of Lion Kings. This is actually a very welcoming attribute, because sometimes after a bicycle ride, you need the optional peace and quiet to recover.

The 9-speed auto box is also a godsend as it can help the vehicle return great fuel economy when cruising on the motorway. We managed to get it as low as 8.4l/100km a figure more commonly seen in vehicles with a displacement of 1.5-litres and under, not a 3.0-litre beast. Some have said that the C43’s ride is a bit stiff, but we think it’s supple enough for everyday driving, especially in comfort mode.

Speaking of comfort mode, the vehicle does soften up the suspension when in this mode, but it doesn’t make the car all tame because it still rides like a train on rails when going around corners. If you’re really up for some spirited drives, you can always put it in sport or sports+ and this will stiffen up the suspension, improve throttle response and keep the car revving at higher rpms. This should let you utilise the 521nm of torque that the car has on tap.

So what is not to like about the C43? It has power, refinement, chameleon characteristics and a jolly good ride too. Well, we think to some, the exterior aesthetics might not be special enough. Infact, if you don’t pay attention to the details such as the Bi-Turbo badges, AMG brake calipers and many more, you’ll never think it was anything more special than a C250. But we like that, because we have always been fond of vehicles that are labelled as ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’. Why be shouty about everything? Let the performance do the talking, just like some of the most plain road bikes out there that don’t cost an arm and a leg either.

 

Specification

2996cc V6 BI-TURBO, 367hp,521nm

9-speed Automatic

Fuel Economy:8.4l/100km (highway) 12.2l/100km (urban)

Performance:0-100kph in 4.2secs

Price: RM468,888

 

Verdict

Slap a roof rack on and you’ll have one of the best partners for your speedy road bike.