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BMW 3-series, Mercedes c class, C 43 AMG, BMW M340i price, features, design, performance – Introduction -DellyRanks


The Mercedes-AMG C 43 takes on its fiercest competitor, the BMW M340i, in a race around India’s newest track.


Sports sedans are everyday drivers but ones that also inject a good dose of adrenaline into your daily commute, and what we have here with us are two German sedans that do exactly that – the Mercedes-AMG C 43 and the BMW M340i. So which one’s better? With access to the CoASTT race track and India’s first Formula 1 driver, Narain Karthikeyan, rather than compare these two ont heir daily merit, we decided to spice things up and do things differently. So we sized them up based on their sporty credentials instead.

Mercedes-AMG C 43 vs BMW M340i: powertrains

Beneath the C 43’s enormous bonnet is an AMG-developed 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine codenamed M139l, which Mercedes says has F1-derived technologies to eliminate turbo lag and enhance responsiveness. This four-cylinder unit belts out a potent 408hp and 500Nm of torque, giving it a 34hp advantage over the M340i, which packs in a larger 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo-petrol producing 374hp and an identical 500Nm of torque.

Both cars get rear-biased all-wheel-drive systems, but the C 43’s rear-axle steering adds a greater degree of agility into the mix. This tech, however, comes with a weight penalty, making the C 43 around 60 kilos heavier than the BMW; this swings the torque-to-weight ratio in the latter’s favour.

But the proof is in the pudding, so we lined these two cars up for a drag race to begin with. In their maximum ‘Sport Plus’ drive mode setting, with traction control partially off and launch controls engaged, it was the BMW’s sonorous six-cylinder melody that drowned the AMG’s muted purr. What followed though was a revelation. Within the first few metres, it was Mercedes’ F1-derived technology that came into play. The electric motor spooled the turbocharger even before the exhaust gases gushed in. As a result, the C 43 leapt off the line with greater ferocity and got a headstart. However, once the BMW’s six-cylinder got on song, the M340i sailed past the Mercedes, and crossed the finish line first. If you’d look at their claimed 0-100kph acceleration times, they are within 0.2 seconds of each other (BMW’s being 4.4 seconds and Mercedes’ being 4.6 seconds), however, what’s clear is how effortlessly the M340i overtook the C 43 on account of the 3.0’s sheer muscle and stronger top-end.

The C 43 is like a scalpel, whereas the M340i is like a sledgehammer.

In rolling races, from 30kph and 50kph, where off-the-line responses are taken out of the equation, the differences in their performance were far more pronounced. Working as a catalyst was BMW’s 8-speed torque converter, which was much quicker to react and downshifted sooner than the AMG’s dual-clutch 9-speeder. Combine that with the BMW’s sheer grunt, the AMG had no chance to make up for lost ground.

Mercedes-AMG C 43 vs BMW M340i: track timings

After our straight line acceleration tests, it was time to add corners into the mix. And to keep things level, we hand these cars over to Kartikeyan, to unleash their full potential around the 3.8km CoASTT race track. With the cars in their sportiest setting and all driver aids turned off, it was time for action.

Kartikeyan got into the M340i first, and he immediately learnt about its very un- BMW-like character. Unlike BMWs of yore that swung their tail out at every given opportunity, the M340i’s all-wheel drive made it understeer a fair bit and he found the overall setup on the softer side. Narain mentioned that “the weight of the car shows up on the track”, particularly while cornering and changing directions, and felt “a bit tricky”. He also said he’d prefer better, more confidence-inspiring brakes. However, what impressed him the most was its stonking turbo-petrol engine: “It is very fast in a straight line”. The BMW’s larger capacity engine felt far more effortless when driven at its limits, and felt like it had more power in reserve.

“BMW’s B58 is a stonking engine, however, you can feel the car’s weight on a race track.”

Next, Kartikeyan took the C 43 to set a lap time and commented that the AMG was “a driver-focused car” with its sharper front-end and a relatively firmer setup, which made it the more track-biased of the two. The C 43’s 2.0-litre engine served performance in a strong and linear manner, and he even liked the four-cylinder turbo-petrol’s sound, with the turbo whoosh and exhaust crackle amplified and played through the car’s speakers. Its highly strung 2-litre engine revs really quickly and pulls relentlessly till its 7,000 rpm redline, however, it feels like it is being stretched to serve all it has to offer. While the C 43 did put up a strong fight, at the end of the day, the M340i’s stronger engine and better power and torque-to-weight ratios helped it clock a quicker time of 1 minute 56 seconds, half a second quicker than the Mercedes-AMG C 43.

“Its setup feels firmer, with a sharper front-end, making the Merc the more driver-focused.”

 

Mercedes-AMG C 43 vs BMW M340i: design

Parked beside each other in a similar shade of red, the Merc is the more handsome sedan and comes across as a proper head-turner. It sports a really attractive set of multi-spoke wheels too. The BMW is a rather familiar sight as it has been around since 2019, and even though the M340i got a refresh recently, its cosmetic enhancements are limited and it lacks the novelty factor of the AMG.

On the inside too, the AMG’s cabin feels up-to-speed with the times thanks to its large screens, swathes of carbon-fibre-like trims, and sculpted sports seats. It has a better, more intuitive touchscreen and a much more expansive features list, which includes kit like adjustable dampers, rear axle-steering, panoramic sunroof, Burmester sound system and an electrically operable boot, among others. The AMG’s front seats are more comfortable in comparison, and its back seat is roomier and airier too, with its panoramic sunroof flooding the cabin with light.

The M340i’s twin curved screens are the pièce de résistance of an otherwise bland interior. The touchscreen is fiddly to use and the front seats are much firmer than the AMG’s.

Mercedes-AMG C 43 vs BMW M340i: verdict

Besides more confident driving manners, the AMG C 43’s fresher, more modern outlook makes a stronger impression. So, as a driver’s car, it does well. And its expansive list of features as well as high-tech bits like rear-axle steering even justify its Rs 98 lakh asking price, to an extent. The BMW is a good Rs 25.10 lakh cheaper, thanks to local assembly versus the Merc’s CBU-inflated price tag. But it’s not the price alone that puts the BMW ahead.

What really enhances the M340i’s desirability is BMW’s 3.0 six-cylinder turbo-petrol. It is a gem of an engine that not only sounds far nicer but is also an exceptionally strong performer. It gives the car quicker straight line speed and also makes up for its handling deficit to the point where the BMW is quicker around a race track too. So if you’re looking for maximum bang for your buck, the M340i is the one to have.

Also see:

Mercedes-Benz C 300 petrol to replace C 300d in India

Mercedes India confirms 9 new car, SUV launches in 2024



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