Burning Snow: the Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Screams at the Cold [Op/Ed]

Burning Snow: Mercedes-Benz AMG C43
[Photo: Nathan Leach-Proffe]

Cutting Loose in the Mercedes-Benz AMG C43

Out of a dozen or so cars that participated at the Rocky Mountain Redline winter driving event, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 was one of my favorites. Granted, I drove it only on snow and ice, it was rewarding nonetheless. This event, which consisted of various cone-based ice and snow-covered courses, took place in Winter Park, Colorado.

Out of all of the TFLcar team to drive this vehicle, I considered myself the least likely to enjoy my time behind the wheel of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43. I was mistaken. Other than the Acura NSX, the little C43 was the most enjoyable. Part of that enjoyment comes from its 3.0-liter biturbo V6 which makes 362 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission available is a paddle-shifted (9G-TRONIC) 9-speed automatic. The power is fed to all four wheels via Mercedes-Benz’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive (AWD) system.

Fortunately, you can defeat the traction control system to the point that the 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG C 43 will allow you to go hog-wild in the snow. That way, you can send plenty of power to the rear wheels. It will let you drift and sends out a visceral scream as you cut loose. It might just be one of the best sounding German V6 engines that I’ve tested in years.

Slam the accelerator down and it takes a few moments for the traction control system to realize that you want to spin the rear tires. Normally, the 4MATIC system operations to get the C43 AMG’s torque to the ground to make the car as agile as possible.

A 31/69 rear-bias quickens takeoffs and clings to corners. That means up to 69% of the power goes to the rear wheels. Now, when you shut everything down and go to Sport + mode, the Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 lets you really have some fun.

[Photos: Nathan Leach-Proffe]

The C43 can calm down when you want it to

I was able to control side-to-side drifts easier than any other vehicle I tested at the event. The 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 seemed to want more. When you’re serious about not sliding, the C43 immediately sobered up and eliminated unwanted movements.

After several runs on various courses, I was able to steer (mostly) using the accelerator. When not drifting, the Mercedes-Benz went where I wanted, rarely losing any traction. Once all the traction-control functions were turned back on, that is. I went full out with the TC systems on and found the control to be good while the systems kept me from sliding. Even at full boil, the brakes hauled me to a stop with no drama.

I cannot wait to drive this vehicle on regular roads in the future. For an MSRP of $53,400, this C43 felt like a much more expensive ride.

If you want some AMG performance but need more space, check out the video below. We pitch the Mercedes-Benz GLC AMG against its main rival, the Audi SQ5. Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow on YouTube for more videos featuring your favorite new models.