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This is the new Mercedes-AMG E43

Shock! AMG has got its hands on the new E-Class and added more power

Earlier this week, we got behind the wheel of the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class. “An awesomely, almost intimidatingly complete car,” we concluded. Now AMG has entered the fray and added its own take on the new E-Class. It’s called the ‘E43’.

It’s only a semi-skimmed AMG variant, mind – the full-fat E63 is yet to come. Which means instead of an outrageously powered twin-turbo V8 under the bonnet, the 43 employs a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 (not, as the name might suggest, a 4.3-litre).

In AMG terms, the power hike is quite subtle. The six-pot makes 401bhp, 34bhp more than the E400. But, thanks to those new, bigger turbos, a hefty 384lb ft of torque is available from just 2500rpm. That power and torque is split between all four wheels (admittedly a front-to-rear ratio of 31:69) and sent through Merc’s nine-speed auto ‘box to see 0-62mph off in 4.6 seconds. As ever, top speed is limited to 155mph.

If you’re still shocked to be reading ‘AMG’ and ‘six-cylinder’ in the same sentence, get used to it as there’ll be more on the way. It’s not the first – the C32 of 2002 employed a supercharged 3.2-litre V6 – and the new SLC 43 was the first modern fast Merc to slot this engine in an AMG product. Even so, it’s quite the departure from a firm traditionally wedded to V8s.

It’s all in the name of efficiency. And the E43 does that well: the headline stats are 189g/km of CO2 and 34mpg.

Restrained is how we’ll classify the styling revisions. Especially when painted in black. The biggest visual difference comes in the shape of new 19-inch black AMG five-spoke wheels painted in high-gloss black. Otherwise there’s a new gobbier grille and bumper arrangment with an AMG pin badge at the front, and different exhausts and a small diffuser at the rear.

Inside, it’s very similar to other AMG products. Red stitching lines the cabin, seats and instrument binnacles. But the new pair of optional 12.3in flat screens still dominate proceedings. For the AMG, the main TFT instrument cluster has been reconfigured with a new race timer and chequered-flag design.

The E43 sits on Merc’s air suspension. But it’s been tweaked by the people back at Affalterbach for “added agility, more neutral cornering behaviour and higher traction even when driving at speed”. Given that the drive distribution is split in favour of the rear axle, we suspect skids are still possible.

There’s no word on price yet, but UK deliveries are expected at the beginning of next year. If you want a really fast E-Class, hold on a bit longer. AMG boss Tobias Moers has hinted that the upcoming E63 will have a turbocharged V8 producing in excess of 600bhp fed through Merc’s 4Matic four-wheel-drive system. Now, we’re looking forward to that. 

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