50 shades of grey pallor

That’s Ryan’s complexion, wishing he had a white one

RYAN LEWIS

TWO months in to Mercedes-AMG E43 ‘ownership’ and something terrible happened.

I saw another one on the road – a white one – and it looked so good it made me sad.

White is the colour this car should be. It lets the blacked out Night Package trim and AMG styling details work so much harder, in ways Understated Grey just can’t.

Of course, this car is only on loan. I’m sure the regret would be worse had I spent $160,000 of my own hard-earned, waited (potentially months) for it to turn up, and then realised I’d made a mistake. Which got me thinking – if I did spec my ideal E43, what would I do differently?

Not a lot is overlooked as standard. I even smugly discovered when leaving the shops with both arms straining under the weight of a week’s groceries that it has a hands-free boot release. I stood uneasily on one foot at the back of the car, risked humiliation and waved the other in the air under the bumper.

Lo and behold, it worked first try. The boot lid opened and I dropped my bags inside triumphantly without ever touching the key.

A nice surprise, even from a car at this price.

The only single-option equipment not fitted to the loaded-as-standard E43 is a TV tuner you can’t watch while driving, a wireless charging pad that wouldn’t work with my phone, and climate control for the back seat area I’ll never sit in. So, no harm no foul.

What I am missing is the Performance Ergonomic Package ($4400) that adds AMG sports seats, a microfibre-trimmed steering wheel and red stitching. Sadly, there’s no crackly exhaust in the Performance pack like there is for other 43 models. Without it the E43 is too quiet when you want fireworks.

There’s a decent soundtrack there, which deserves to be more vocal. Still, the AMG interior garnishes would transform my interior, which is too similar to the less expensive E400 for my liking. I’m not alone in thinking this: Benz Australia says almost every E43 bought in Oz has the pack fitted.

Except mine, it seems.

There’s still chatter in the Wheels office about whether or not the E43’s torquey bi-turbo engine is good enough for an AMG badge. With the E63 now here the gap between them is blatantly obvious, but the way the V6 effortlessly tugboats up hills at 1500rpm in 8th has won me over, even if its concerning thirst for fuel hasn’t.

So that’s my perfect E43; Diamond White with the Performance Ergonomic Package and carbonfibre dashboard inserts instead of matte timber to fully satisfy my champagne taste. But the beer budget could be a problem.

Stopped short

I experienced a minor freak-out from the E43’s AEB system this month. At night on my own street with no obstructions in sight, the car clamped its brakes for a full emergency stop before realising the coast was clear and rolling out of it. The issue hasn’t repeated since, but a little reading up unearthed drivers reporting similar weirdness in other cars from time to time.

Merc couldn’t explain it. Hopefully nobody is following too closely if it ever happens again.

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