The Mercedes C43 compared Mercedes C63 AMG. Both the C43 AMG and C63 AMG have established themselves as two of the hottest cars in the Mercedes series since their debuts. Initially chastised for its perceived lack of power, the C43 has won over critics with its deft handling, flawless performance, and luxurious interior. The C63 AMG, on the other hand, has consistently impressed drivers with its outstanding power delivery and smooth handling.
The C43 has long been looked of as the C63’s younger sibling, and this is a valid comparison. The C63 is more expensive, costing around $10,000 depending on extras, but it is far more powerful. Between the C43 and C63/C63 S AMGs, Mercedes added 84-107 horsepower and 99-131 torque.
Unfortunately, Mercedes was obliged to abandon both models in 2021-22 due to emissions rules. The C43 AMG and C63 AMG, on the other hand, are slated to return in 2023 following major revisions. The C43 has been formally unveiled by Mercedes, but the C63 is still in its final phases of development. They will both get 2.0L inline-4 engines with electric motors and electric turbos in place of their existing engines.
The following guide will look at the C43 and C63 AMGs’ history, engines, common problems, and performance. Let’s start with a look at the history and performance of both vehicles over the years.
Mercedes C43 versus C63 AMG Performance & History
The Mercedes C43 AMG was available from 1998 to 2000 before being withdrawn from 2001 until 2014. It was entirely redesigned in 2015, with a new AWD drivetrain replacing its previous RWD architecture. The C63 AMG, on the other hand, was available consistently from 2008 through 2021, always with RWD. Both models have been extensively reviewed by reviewers and critics, and the general consensus is that Mercedes nailed the balance between performance and luxury. The C63 has always outperformed the C43 in terms of performance, but both are capable of neck-snapping acceleration when needed.
W202 (1998-2000) C43 AMG
The M113 engine, a 4.3L naturally aspirated V8 tuned by AMG, powered the first model C43 AMG from 1998 to 2000. Forged rods, freshly developed oil jets to cool the pistons, twin-tube air intakes, and modular camshafts were also included. Nonetheless, Mercedes claimed that it performed as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle. In terms of speed, it was only second to the S600 in the Mercedes portfolio at the time.
The W202 C43 AMG produced 302 horsepower and 302 torque and was mated to a 5-speed automated transmission that drove the rear wheels. It was fast for its period, going from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds and hitting 98 mph in 14.7 seconds. It has held up fairly well over the previous 20 years or so, however critics have often pointed out the severe suspension. The cabin’s interior is simple and sleek, yet sophisticated, if a touch undersized.
W205 (2015-2022) C43 AMG
Mercedes reintroduced the W205 C43 AMG in 2015 as the C400 4MATIC, with no AMG label. The following year, Mercedes relaunched it again, this time as the C450 AMG. It used the same engine and looked nearly identical, but with somewhat different styling. Finally, Mercedes reintroduced the C43 AMG designation, as well as coupe and cabriolet models, in 2017.
From 2015 until 2021, the C43 AMG has the same engine, the M276 DE 30 LA, a 3.0L biturbo V6. The M276 produced 362-hp and 380-tq from 2015 to 2018, and this was increased to 385-hp and 385-tq for 2019-2021. All years have a 7-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels. Make sure to read our previous article on common issues with the M276 series of engines.
The W205 C43 AMG accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and covers the 14 mile in 13.1 seconds at 108 mph, both of which are significant gains over its late-’90s predecessor. While drivers praise the C43 AMG’s handling and performance, they criticize its overly firm suspension (again). Critics also pointed out the antiquated infotainment system and absence of standard choices in previous model years.
W206 (2023+) C43 AMG
For the 2023 model year, the C43 AMG will be back with a whole new hybrid-electric drivetrain. Mercedes-Benz paired the M139 2.0L inline-4 engine with a 48v hybrid electric starter-generator system. The M139 produces 402 horsepower and 369 torque, with the hybrid system capable of producing an additional 13 horsepower. The M139 is also the first manufacturing engine in the world to have an electric turbocharger. The electric turbo is said to be based on technology from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team.
A 9-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels with Mercedes’ unique 4MATIC AWD system. It also boasts adjustable suspension damping, which improves comfort while riding around town. According to preliminary testing, the C43 can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and complete the 14 mile in 12.4 seconds. While criticizing the harsh and stiff suspension, reviewers praise the C43’s incredibly snappy performance and minimal turbo lag.
W204 (2008-2014) C63 AMG
Mercedes-Benz used the M156 engine in the W204 C63 AMG. The C63’s engine is a 6.2L naturally aspirated, four cam, silicone-aluminum block V8 that produces 451 horsepower and 443 torque. It was greatly sought after due to its exceptional power, wide power band, and ungodly tone. The W204 C63 AMG could go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and complete the 14 mile in 12.1 seconds at 117 mph. A 7-speed automatic transmission drove power to the rear wheels in all years. We have examined the M156 in depth with our engine guide, so be sure to read that for the complete overview.
Mercedes-Benz offered a performance package for the W204 C43 AMG that improved power by 30-hp, included forged internals, and enhanced top speed. It had a facelift in 2012, which includes a reworked grille and front fascia, as well as updated LED lighting. A limited-slip differential was also available as an option, and it greatly aided in transferring torque to the wheels. Drivers consistently appreciate the W204’s suspension and handling, describing it as firm but not harsh, and capable of managing turns.
C63 AMG and C63 S AMG W205 (2015-2021)
Mercedes-Benz debuted the W205, the second generation of the C63 AMG, in 2015, which includes the high-spec C63 S AMG. The engine was modified by AMG to the M177 DE 40 LA, a 4.0L biturbo, 32 valve, aluminum block, V8. The M177 is powered by dual BorgWarner turbos that provide 469 horsepower and 479 torque in the regular C63 AMG and 503 horsepower and 516 torque in the S.
These AMG-tuned behemoths can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 and 3.7 seconds, respectively, and complete the 14 mile in 12.0 and 11.9 seconds at 122 and 123 mph. The W205 used the same 7-speed transmission until 2018, when it was replaced by a new 9-speed automated. Both transmissions sent power to the rear wheels via limited slip differentials (standard on the S).
Furthermore, critics praised the new W205’s exceptional chassis response and responsive handling. Mercedes-Benz gave the C63 and C63 S AMGs a facelift in 2019, including a larger infotainment display, new color options, slightly changed appearance, and the inclusion of various safety measures.
Common Issues with the Mercedes C43 and C63 AMG
Let’s talk about the problems with the C43 AMG and C63/C63 S AMGs now that we’ve looked at their history and performance. Overall, both the C43 and C63 AMGs are relatively reliable vehicles with few major flaws. The main exception is early versions of the M156 engine, which we will discuss further below. They are far from problem-free or bulletproof vehicles, so let’s take a look at some of the issues they may encounter.
W202 C43 AMG Common Issues
The W202 C43 AMG has been around the longest of any vehicle in this list, therefore it has the greatest dependability statistics. Overall, the M113 V8 engine is quite strong and does not have any serious flaws. The rear primary seal for the crankshaft, on the other hand, is prone to leaking, and the dual-spark plugs have been known to burn out quite quickly. Check out our previous guide for information on the most typical issues with the M113 engine.
The suspension on the W202, on the other hand, has not held up nearly as well over the last two decades. Control arms and bushings are two common elements that need to be upgraded or replaced by this time. To be honest, the remainder of the suspension should be thoroughly inspected to ensure that everything is still tight and performing properly. There have been numerous complaints of suspension components and bushings completely wearing out on high mileage W202 C43 AMGs.
The automatic transmission is also prone to a slew of problems, both while driving at high speeds and when putting on more power. Many C43 AMG owners report serious transmission problems after 75,000-80,000 miles, necessitating complete rebuilds. Modding the C43 AMG causes transmission problems as it struggles to keep up with the added torque.
W205 C43 AMG Common Issues
The W205 C400 4MATIC, C450 AMG, and C43 AMG vehicles are all significantly newer than the late-’90s predecessors, and thus much more consistently produced and engineered. Nonetheless, users have reported numerous excessive rattles and squeaks, particularly along the doors and dashboard, as well as a variety of electrical issues.
There have also been numerous complaints about the 7-speed transmission. Drivers have complained about the jerky shifting out of first and second gears from a stop, and several have experienced loud bangs and pops following very painful shifts. Many people have reported that their transmissions needed to be rebuilt, but computer software updates have solved the problem in several cases.
The M276 V6 engine, like its V8 predecessor, has above-average dependability. There are a few minor concerns with the high-pressure fuel pump, carbon buildup from direct injection, timing chain tensioners, and spark plugs and coils. For a more detailed breakdown of these difficulties, see our guide on the top M276 faults.
Overall, the W202 and W205 C43 AMGs are more reliable than average, while misused cars are clearly more prone to problems. High mileage W202s should be extensively inspected suspension-wise to ensure that everything has been properly maintained and is still in good working order. Although there aren’t many high mileage examples, drivers haven’t reported too many issues with the W205.
W204 C63 AMG Common Issues
The most serious problems with the W204 C63 AMGs are associated with early cars equipped with pre-2011 versions of the M156 engine. The engine is generally reliable, although there were severe issues with the head bolts and valve train. Mercedes’ pre-2011 M156 head bolts were poorly engineered and prone to leaking and breaking. People frequently complained about coolant loss and eventual engine failure caused by head bolts. The cam adjusters, cam lobes, and lifters were also problematic in the valve train. Again, they were all poorly engineered and prone to lubrication and oil starvation concerns, as well as significant early wear.
In our previous guide, we discussed the M156 engine, so be sure to read that for more details.
The 7-speed transmission is the same as in the W205 C43 AMG, and drivers complain about it in the C63 AMG as well. Outside of the powertrain, the biggest concerns are constant squeaks and rattles throughout the vehicle. Squeaking with the dashboard, climate control knobs, sunroof, brakes, doors, and mirrors is a common complaint among drivers. Some of this is due to poor build quality, while others are caused by loose screws or improperly applied sticky glue. Fortunately, they are minor gripes, although they do seem magnified considering you just paid $60,000 on the vehicle.
W205 C63 AMG Common Issues
Overall, the M177 DE 40 LA engine that drives the W205 C63 AMGs is a solid performer. The biggest difficulties are misfires, and drivers have experienced troubles with both spark plugs and coil packs. They appear to vanish swiftly, and it is unclear why. Part of it is probably due to the M177’s massive performance, which produces 469-503 horsepower and burns through spark plugs far too quickly.
There have been numerous complaints regarding rattles and squeaks on the interior, similar to the W204 C63 AMG and C43 AMGs. The dashboard, brakes, doors, and rear suspension are the primary sections. Because of poor design, the intake manifold is also prone to leaking.
These are all minor issues, similar to the W204, but with a car as expensive as these, they become more difficult to overlook. Mercedes has generally good build quality with their vehicles, however they appear to have missed the mark on a lot of C63 AMGs.
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Mercedes C43 versus C63 AMG Comparison
Overall, the Mercedes C43 and C63 AMGs are pleasurable and entertaining vehicles that live up to the AMG moniker. The C43 has gone a long way since its late-1990s incarnation, improving in almost every manner possible. The C63, on the other hand, was already on the cutting edge of modern luxury and technology when it debuted in 2015, and it has only increased its already lofty expectations.
The C43 AMG cannot compete with the C63 AMG in terms of performance, but they are both enjoyable in their own right. The C43 AMG is more geared toward families, with softer suspension and more reasonable power. Furthermore, its 4MATIC AWD drivetrain is a huge benefit for those who live in areas with heavy rain and snow. The C63 AMG, on the other hand, maintains luxury and comfort while delivering significantly more power.
Surprisingly, the price difference is not as significant as you may imagine. On average, the C43 AMG is $10,000 less expensive than the C63 AMG, depending on choices. That’s not a trivial decrease, but it’s difficult to justify given the performance tradeoff. The C43 AMG is the only option for individuals who require AWD.
So far, Mercedes has only revealed the specifications for the 2023 C43 AMG. As far as we know, the C63 AMG is still under development. It will be extremely interesting to see where Mercedes takes the hybrid-electric powertrain in the future, as it has already proven to be just as capable in terms of power delivery.