Mercedes-AMG E43 4MATIC Estate

Mercedes-AMG E43 4MATIC Estate
Mercedes-AMG E43 4MATIC Estate

The AMG-lite lacks the pervasiveness of the V8s but still lifts itself above its rivals

For years, factory Mercedes tuner AMG has been famous for its monster V8s. Now, it’s looking to broaden its appeal with a more real-world range of performance Mercedes-AMGs. The ‘43’ models sit below the full-fat ‘63’ cars and this E43 4MATIC Estate is one of the most important of all.

Mercedes-AMG E 43 4Matic Estate

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★★★★☆
Price £58,290
Engine V6, 2996cc, twin-turbocharged petrol
Power 396bhp
Torque 384lb ft
Gearbox 9-spd automatic
Kerbweight 1930kg
0-62mph 4.7sec
Top speed 155mph
Economy 32.8mpg
CO2/tax band 197g/km, 36%

For many load-lugging estate car buyers, a 600-horsepower V8 costing £90,000 is a bit OTT. A more moderate choice is this 396bhp 3.0-litre biturbo V6. Even with 4MATIC all-wheel drive, the estate weighs in at under £60,000, which is what Audi charges for an S6. Suddenly, AMGs are no longer prohibitively expensive.

And although it doesn’t rumble like a traditional AMG V8, the E43 4MATIC Estate is still a convincing AMG-infused transformation. The tuner seems keen for us to not think of it as a soft option, and it shows.

The engine, for example, is vocal at all times. It’s not as mellifluous as the V8 but it still sounds good. And because of a surprisingly meagre amount of torque, it’s an engine that only gives its best when being revved. Between 4000 and 6500rpm, we can’t think of a more forceful and exciting V6.

The ride is also surprisingly coarse. AMG could have softened things off here. It chose not to, despite air suspension being fitted as standard. But it also means the disconnected, wafty feel you sometimes get from air suspension is absent.

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The E43 feels hunkered down at all times, with lots of grip and balance from its four-wheel drive system. You can’t indulge in hooligan oversteer like you can with the V8s, and the AWD system itself can feel a bit dim-witted at times, but it’s still a good safety back-up for such a potent near-400bhp car.

Steering is also nicely weighted, with well-matched directness, and the overall balance of the chassis is satisfying. It’s a big estate, but it feels smaller and nimbler on British roads than you’d expect.

You’re reminded of just how big it is when you lift the bootlid and discover a vast 1820-litre seats-down boot. The cabin is enormous as well, with vast amounts of space front and rear.

The plush interior is a lovely place in which to spend time. All the luxurious S-Class-style details are gorgeous and simply enhanced further by the AMG makeover. Only the seats are a bit disappointing compared to the AMG norm. They have slightly short and oddly shaped squabs, and the contours are a little unusual.

So, is it an AMG bargain? Absolutely, and one that still has the tuner’s unique feel very much in evidence. It’s a worthy alternative to the E63 for those who don’t need the full fat option (and would find a £30,000 sticker price saving useful). Just don’t expect it to scratch the muscle car itch as fulsomely as the E63. For some, that may be key the E43’s very appeal…

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