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Image Credit: Mercedes/PA

Mercedes has unveiled the first sporty version of its latest C-Class – the C43. Available in both saloon and estate form, the new sports model borrows the same engine from the recently revealed Mercedes-AMG SL43 sports car. It might be down two cylinders on the outgoing car’s V6 engine, but the new 2.0-litre has increased power from 385bhp to 402bhp.

This is delivered to all four wheels via an AMG-developed nine-speed automatic gearbox.

It’s also a mild-hybrid – which is able to add a small 14bhp boost from its 48-volt electrical system – and is the first series production car to use an electric exhaust gas turbocharger, which helps to provide extra responsiveness, particularly from idle. Mercedes says the engine’s technology ‘derives directly from Formula 1.

The C43 saloon can accelerate from 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds, with the more practical estate taking a further tenth of a second. The top speed is limited to 155mph as standard, but can be raised to 165mph with an optional ‘AMG Driver’s Package’.

A range of different driving models are available as part of the ‘AMG Dynamic Select’ package, including ‘slippery’, ‘comfort’ and ‘sport plus’. The C43 also comes as standard with adaptive damper suspension, as well as rear-axle steering, which improves handling agility while also reducing the turning circle when parking.

To set it apart from the regular C-Class, the C43 gets an AMG-specific grille with chrome vertical slats, sporty air intakes and an aggressive rear diffuser.

Inside, ‘AMG Performance’ seats trimmed in man-made leather and microfibre are included as standard, along with contrasting red stitching and seat belts. The MBUX infotainment system also features AMG-specific displays and functions, including a data logger for those wanting to use their C43 on track.

Until the new four-cylinder C63 arrives later in the year, the C43 is the most powerful C-Class in the line-up. Although Mercedes hasn’t named an on sale date for the C43, first deliveries are likely before the end of 2022.