The E43 AMG is effectively a well-optioned E-Class sedan with several performance upgrades. It also features an AMG-designed body kit and sits on an AMG-tuned suspension.
Inside, things are as plush and refined as ever, with generous amounts of wood and chrome trim creating a decadent environment. Notable new touches include a revised steering wheel with touch-sensitive controls and, on up-trim models, a 12.3-inch display cluster in place of traditional gauges.
Mercedes' COMAND infotainment system remains; controlled either by voice commands, a central knob or steering wheel-mounted controls, it integrates the sedan's audio, navigation and Bluetooth-based connectivity functions into a single unit - a second 12.3-inch display screen mounted on the dashboard.
An optional mbrace system adds a host of cloud-based goodies, including a concierge service, location-based traffic and weather updates, stolen vehicle location assistance, automatic collision notification and more. Available apps add internet browsing, Google local search with street view, Yelp reviews, Facebook access and news reports. Owners can even use an mbrance smartphone app to remotely lock, unlock or locate their E-Class.
A wide variety of optional extras can be spec'd to enhance the E43 experience, including premium Nappa leather upholstery, heated, ventilated and massaging front seats, a 14-speaker Harman/kardon surround sound system and a rear seat video entertainment system.
Powertrains and Handling
The centerpiece of the E43 Sedan is its 3.0-liter biturbo V6 engine. It makes 396 horsepower and 384lb-ft. of torque, slotting this E-Class variant in nicely between the E300 and the Mercedes-AMG E63.
4MATIC all-wheel-drive is standard, and power is sent from the V6 to the wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Standard and Optional Features
Notable standard features include a power sunroof, real wood trim, MB Tex leatherette upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, power adjustable front seats with lumbar adjust and memory, genuine wood trim and a COMMAND infotainment system with a 12.3-inch display screen and integrated navigation.
The Sport Wheel package from the base E-Class Sedan is also effectively included, giving the E43 18-inch AMG wheels, upgraded brakes and a black headliner.
Inside, the options become even more robust. The Warmth & Comfort package starts things off with heated front armrests and upper door panels, a heated steering wheel and a "rapid heating" feature to warm up the front seats quickly in colder temperatures.
Unlike the base E-Class, the E43 comes standard with the features from the Premium I package. Buyers can upgrade from there if they want more luxury and convenience features.
Premium II adds on LED headlamps, adaptive high beams, massaging front seats, Air Balance cabin-air purifying and fragrance systems, and a power rear sunshade.
Premium III brings the peak of Mercedes-Benz technology to the table. This package adds a HUD, Distronic adaptive cruise control with Speed Limit Pilot and steering assist, evasive steering assist, active lane keeping, active lane change assist, active blind spot assist, active brake assist with cross-traffic monitoring, congestion emergency braking, surround view cameras, pre-safe collision mitigation systems, and active emergency stop assist.
Many of the options available in these packages are available a la carte, but only in certain configurations. Adding more than a handful may force buyers to select packages instead.
Mercedes-Benz has long been known for its safety features, and the E43 is no exception. In addition to traction and stability control systems, the car boasts nine supplemental restraints including two-stage front air bags, a knee air bag for the driver and pelvic air bags which work together with full-length side curtain and front side air bags (rear side units are optional) to provide extra protection for front occupants in dangerous side-impact collisions.
Competing against the E43 for the checkbooks of sporty mid-size luxury sedan buyers are the BMW 5-Series (specifically the M550i xDrive, Audi S6, Jaguar XF, Lexus GS F and the Infiniti Q70.