What is it?
The Mercedes-AMG E 43 4Matic is the latest in this year’s line of all-new turbo six-cylinder, medium-hot performance derivatives from the factory Mercedes tuner.
Available in both saloon and estate bodystyles, this one probably plays a more important role than the other ‘43’ models we’ve reviewed already this year. With the E 63 moving into even more rarefied and expensive territory, there’ll be a fairly strong demand for this E 43, you’d expect, from people who like the idea of a fast E-Class, but for whom a near-£90,000 price tag and a 600-horsepower V8 seem a bit over-the-top.
And so, for the more moderate AMG faithful, the E 43 4Matic is powered by a 396bhp ‘biturbo’ V6 engine; ‘only’ a V6, perhaps, but one more powerful than the V8s of both the legendary ‘W124’ 500 E and the original E 55 AMG.
The technical differences between an E 43 and the new E 63 run much deeper than that, of course. The six-cylinder car does without the V8’s ‘speedshift multi-clutch’ gearbox, without its special four-link front axle, with a different steering system, and without the ‘drift mode’ facilitated by the E 63’s clever four-wheel drive system.
The E 43 is still four-wheel drive, though – and both saloon and estate versions are available for a sub-£60,000 price tag, which is competitive with what Audi asks for an S6, what Maserati asks for a Ghilbli S . No longer can we necessarily all say ‘AMGs are great, but aren’t they expensive?’.