The first performance variant of the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class has emerged, not a fire-breathing E 63 V8 bahnstormer as you might expect. Instead the first Mercedes-AMG E 43 has arrived.
Following in the footsteps of the C 43 Coupe and SLC 43 roadster, the E 43 arrives with a twin-turbo 3.0 litre V6 under the bonnet, directing power to its rear-biased 4Matic all-wheel-drive system via a nine-speed automatic.
Power for the E 43 is 295kW at 6100rpm, a handy hike up from the 270kW offered in the C 450 AMG and GLE 450 AMG models that run the same engine, however torque, at 520Nm between 2500 and 5000rpm remains the same.
Acceleration of 4.6 seconds from standstill to 100 km/h puts the E 43 just a half-second slower than the current (rear-wheel-drive) E 63 S, the replacement for which won’t be seen until later this year, or early in 2017.
Unique calibration of the 9G-tronic automatic transmission, and 'Air Body Control' air-suspension lend the E 43 a more sporting feel, while driver’s are able to cycle through Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual modes to adjust throttle, suspension, and transmission characteristics.
Standard E 43 features extend to 19-inch alloy wheels, Air Body Control suspension, front sports seats trimmed in Artico ‘man made’ leather and microfibre, red seat belts, and a sports steering wheel.
Styling highlights include a bumper package borrowed from the AMG package of the regular E-Class range, quad-exhaust tips, and a diamond-pattern grille.
The regular E-Class range is set to make its Australian debut late this year, with the Mercedes-AMG E 43 set to follow shortly after.