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Mercedes-Benz C36 and C43: The Forgotten AMGs

I’ve decided to write today about two of my favorite — and two of the most forgotten — AMG cars: the C36 AMG, made from 1995 to 1997, and the C43 AMG, made from 1998 to 2000. They were AMG’s first models ever to reach the United States.

I’ll spare you the detailed AMG history lesson, but it basically goes like this: Throughout the 1980s, AMG was an aftermarket tuner that would modify Mercedes-Benz’s vehicles. Eventually, Mercedes decided it wanted more performance vehicles coming out of its own factory, so it bought AMG and turned it into its own high-performance arm. The C36 AMG and the C43 AMG were the very first examples of that on the North American market. See the Mercedes-Benz C-Class models for sale near you

I’ll start with the C36 AMG. Based on the original C-Class, which was offered from 1994 to 2000, the C36 AMG debuted in 1995 to rival the E36 BMW M3. Although it was offered only as a sedan and only with an automatic transmission, the C36 used a 270-horsepower 3.6-liter inline 6-cylinder engine and a sport suspension. The result was 0 to 60 in a little over 6 seconds, which was impressive for the time.

Even more impressive was the C36’s replacement, the C43 AMG, which debuted in 1998. Still using the same C-Class body style, the C43 AMG upgraded from the 6-cylinder to a 302-horsepower 4.3-liter V8 and a new 5-speed automatic in place of the C36’s 4-speed. The result was now 0 to 60 in something like 5.7 seconds, which is still pretty quick by today’s standards.

By then, it became clear the whole AMG thing was going to take off, and Mercedes started adding AMG models to other vehicles. The E55 AMG came out in 1999, and the S55 AMG, the CL55 AMG and the SL55 AMG soon followed.

Of course, in today’s world, every single Mercedes-Benz has an AMG model — from the base-level CLA all the way up to the G-Class, which actually has two (including a V12 version). And they can all trace their history back to the factory AMG cars that started it all: the C36 AMG and the C43 AMG, way back in the 1990s. Find a Mercedes-Benz C-Class for sale

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More

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17 COMMENTS

  1. I remember the C43 AMG in Gran Turismo 2. All other cars sounded like vacuum cleaners, as they do in most GT games, but the C43 had a serious deep V8 rumble!

    Also, these cars have introduced the biodegradable wiring harness. Enjoy your inevitable $3000-4000 repair.

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