Without a twin-turbo V6 engine under its hood anymore, enthusiasts are curious to see how the new Mercedes-AMG C43 fares around the track. To answer this question, the German magazine Sport Auto took the electrified sedan to Hockenheim for a hot lap of the circuit's Grand Prix layout. It needed 2 minutes and 2.3 seconds, thus making it 1.1 seconds slower than its main rival – the BMW M340i xDrive – tested a while back by the same journalists.
Looking at other lap times published by Sport Auto, the 2023 AMG C43 was faster than the M340i xDrive Touring but slower than the rear-wheel-drive M240i. The Renault Megane RS Trophy-R with its FWD layout lapped the Hockenheim GP in 1 minute and 59.2 seconds. These two are not direct rivals since one is a luxury sedan with performance chops while the other is a purpose-built hot hatch meant to go fast around a race track. Nevertheless, it's always interesting to see lap time comparisons between two sporty cars.
2023 Mercedes-AMG C43: First Drive Review
The fastest car tested by Sport Auto on this circuit was the McLaren Senna with an amazing lap time of 1 minute and 40.8 seconds, followed by the AMG GT Black Series (1:43.3) and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR (1:43.5). At the other end of the list, the current-generation Ford Focus ST took 2:04.8 to complete the lap, making it two and a half seconds slower than the four-pot, mild-hybrid AMG C43.
Priced from $59,900, the new C43 packs 402 horsepower and 369 pound-feet (500 Newton-meters) of torque from its turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engine adapted from the "45" compact AMGs. It actually has an extra 40 hp over its V6-powered predecessor but it's down on torque by 15 pound-feet (20 Newton-meters). It's also heavier than the model it replaced by tipping the scales at 4,092 pounds.
It is only a matter of time before we'll see similar hot laps with the range-topping C63, which has lost its brawny V8 in favor of a plug-in hybrid 2.0-liter engine. A comparison test with the inline-six M3 should prove to be interesting to find out whether electrification is a replacement for displacement.