Last week we featured the 1996 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG with the only straight 6 motor AMG and Mercedes ever developed together. During our week with the car we hoped to meet up with the owner of this C43 and film a Showdown episode. We ended up meeting the owner this past weekend and got behind the wheel of the V8 C-Class.
Mercedes updated the car both ascetically and mechanically for the facelift refresh. This 1999 C43 AMG's bumpers are curved more, and the side skirts have been updated to flow with the new curves of the car. The owner has also changed the indicator lights with Euro-style amber lenses, and large AMG mono block alloys. You'll also notice this car sits pretty low to the ground, hence the custom license plate.
The inside received some updates with a new white gauge cluster, new sport seats with lumbar support, and a few minor button placement updates. The steering wheel also feels more modern over the older style rectangular wheels of generations past. The biggest update comes with the 4.3L M113-E43 single overhead cam AMG motor, which produces 302 horsepower and 302 ft-lbs of torque from the factory. This car has a slight tune and exhaust upgrade which brought the power up.
Mercedes also installed their newer 5G-TRONIC automatic transmission with sport and winter modes for better traction control and transmission performance. We found the new transmission shifted better and found the correct gear when accelerating from a roll over the previous 4 speed automatic from the C36.
The power delivery of this car is out of this world! While on paper it was only 0.10 seconds faster 0-100km over the C36, the V8 really feels faster. It helps the exhaust makes an awesome sound when idling and driving, but the power of a V8 engine in a car this small is really an incredible marriage of power and weight. If you're serious about a classic performance AMG, I definitely recommend looking to pick up the C43 over the C36, however either are great cars. You can always retrofit the steering wheel and seats into the older car, and tuning the inline 6 motor seems to be more forgiving than the limited space under the hood for the V8.
You can watch our Spotlight on the 1999 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG below: