Test Drive: Mercedes-Benz AMG 43 Series

A closer look at the nine models in the German automaker's all-new series.

Courtesy Mercedes-Benz
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I’m taking a tight curve on Route 2 in the mountains above Los Angeles in a new 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLE43 Coupe, one of nine new vehicles that make up the all-new AMG 43 model line from the German automaker. It’s the twisting stretch of pavement, the Angeleno sitting in the passenger seat tells me, that locals visit to run their high performance vehicles. It is chilly and the day’s heavy rain has made sections of Route 2 too slick and slippery to drive. The proof is the small sedan I spy with its front end smashed into a rock wall, hazard lights flashing.

“Not too bad,” says the Angeleno, calmly. “The airbags didn’t deploy.”

The sight gives me a new appreciation for the road-hugging strength of the SUV I’m driving. The AMG designation means the vehicle is built under the tutelage of the high performance wing of Mercedes-Benz. Unlike the very pricey AMG 45, 63, and 65 models, however, the 43 series is not based on the more customized “one man, one engine” principle. Here, the emphasis is on driving performance. It makes sense then that the AMG 43 models deploy a powerful V-6 biturbo engine that, while factory built, is fine-tuned by AMG in conjunction with an AMG-level braking and sport suspension system. And, with the exception of the E43 AMG sedan with 396 horsepower, AMG 43 cars all boast 362 horsepower and a smooth, responsive AMG-enhanced nine-speed automatic transmission. Buyers can also opt for a Night Package that adds high-gloss black to certain elements like the front bumper and tailpipes. (Though it's not available on the GLE43 Coupe I'm driving.) While you can go all black, I suggest sticking with the distinctive red AMG seat belts, which come standard on many models.

Here, a closer look at each of the nine new AMG 43 vehicles. mbusa.com.