Coupe, Sedan or SUV?

These AMGs Are the Embodiment of Sin. Pick Your Poison

Cars By Photo by Matthew Ankeny

Exclusive clubs are the manifestations of many sins: lust, gluttony, greed, envy, pride. From Costco to the Centurion Lounge, the temptation to be a “member” makes sinners of us all. And Mercedes-Benz, that German devil, knows how weak men can be when it comes to four-wheeled temptation. For this reason, Mercedes continues to make admission to the Club AMG more and more justifiable. With the development of its AMG 43 line — consisting of the non-handbuilt, but AMG-tuned, V6 biturbo engine — the exclusive club becomes so temptingly close it feels not only aspirational but attainable.

The AMG 43 line features the same engine across all nine “entry-level AMG” models, which mentally simplifies things. Pick the carriage you need, and strap the same horse to the reigns. To give you a sense of the best models (in yours truly’s opinion) from the line, I test drove each on the canyon roads of Los Angeles. Here’s the lowdown.

Mercedes-Benz AMG C43

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Best for Semi-Pragmatic Adults

The Least Costly Ways to Join Club AMG
All Prices Base MSRP
$49,900 = AMG GLA45
$49,950 = AMG CLA45
$52,000 = AMG C43 Sedan
$54,900 = AMG GLC43
$55,500 = AMG C43 Coupe
$59,650 = AMG GLC43
$60,300 = AMG SLC43
$60,400 = AMG C43 Cabriolet
$65,200 = AMG C63 Sedan
$67,000 = AMG C63 Coupe
$67,150 = AMG GLE43
$69,650 = AMG GLE43 Coupe
$72,400 = AMG E43

The C43 sedan/coupe/cabriolet is (arguably) the best vehicle for this V6 biturbo AMG-tuned engine. (Though a strong argument could be made for the rear-wheel-drive, totally non-pragmatic AMG SLC43 — but let’s be honest, sometimes you have to carry things.) This little rubber-burner swings around curves with aplomb and offers all the joys of spirited driving without facilitating the gut-wrenching fear that you’re strapped to a rocket (as with the AMG S65). It’s a great way to nab your AMG badge if you’re in the market for a hot rod (the AMG CLA45, while more affordable, is a very petit car).

Mercedes-Benz AMG E43

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Best for Rational Executives
Two thoughts dominated my AMG E43 drive. One: “Wow, this is more fun than I thought it would be.” And two: “Why would anyone buy an S-Class?” The new E-Class offers a bevy of luxurious options, and as long as your vision isn’t clouded by the prestige of the “S” badge (a whole other level of club, that), then this car will make you feel like a king. Or Exec. It’s also surprisingly snappy. AMG tuned the engine to reach 396 horsepower (34 horsepower more than the C43), hitting the sweet spot of this larger sedan’s limits. It’s a very accommodating boat to float around in — or, when you’re ready, switch into Sport+ and transform it into a jumbo jet ski for the road, ready to rip through waves of pavement.

Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE43 Coupe

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Best for Adventurous Souls
An astute AMG student will ask, “Hey, what about the GLC43 coupe? What about the non-coupe GLE43?” In pictures, the GLC43 looks very similar to the GLE43 coupe; in real life, it looks small. If you’re going to go SUV, go full-on SUV. And the non-coupe GLE43? Well, there are limits to the AMG-ness of a car. The line means different things to each person, but for me, a big SUV with a bit more kick in its get-up doesn’t justify the badge. An angry-turtle SUV with little practicality and a lot of passion, though? That’s an AMG. The 43 does feel a touch underpowered, but under the six-figure price range, this is the most fun SUV in the M-B lineup.