MONTH three of my relationship with AMG’s E-Class gateway-drug has included time in the embrace of others.
It wasn’t the car’s fault; it was mine. I spent several days overseas in two spells. And while I wasn’t thinking it at the time, I missed the big grey blunderbuss.
The second of my two trips ended with a redeye flight from Korea to Melbourne, landing me back in the airport carpark mid-morning, midweek, trying my best to make amends with the faithful Mercedes E43.
I slumped into the driver’s seat, feeling a bit weary after enduring a sleep-deprived night on an aircraft, and let out an involuntary sigh of relief. Sitting inside the peace and quiet of its thickly glazed cocoon, it was just so nice to be home.
That same wave of relief washed over me about a week later when I got back into 1ID-4FX after a weekend romp with a Lexus LC500. I can barely tell you what that car was like because I spent most of the time yelling at its navigation system and the utterly broken touchpad control Lexus forces you to use.
I bring it up because in the first episode of this series I made a comment about the E43 having a confusing menu hierarchy. I take it all back. The LC 500’s encyclopaedia of infotainment felonies makes navigating the E43’s gorgeous interface feel like playing Nintendo, even if there are a few relatively minor imperfections.
This month the grown-up E43 has further proven itself to be a car of multiple dimensions; a consummate cruiser and a barrel of fun when getting on it with liberal use of the throttle.
There’s signature precision to be found at the front end where re-engineered steering and suspension components form a major AMG point of difference compared with a normal E-Class. The E43’s unique appeal in the AMG line-up lies in its maturity and size, and the way it drives is far better than you might expect.
Bags of grip lend the E43’s chassis a hunkered down security, but plonk your right foot deep into the 295kW power reserve and, in the right mode, the all-paw 4Matic system puts on an unexpectedly rear-drive-like performance. Electronic nannies interfere earlier than would be ideal, but this 1765kg lump is fun to drive hard.
I’ll concede it’s not the performance-purist’s first weapon of choice, but I’m still a bit disappointed with myself for not finding more time for bendy road indulgences this month.
There are only a few weeks left for me to savour the E43 on an everyday basis, and I’m beginning to feel anxious about how quickly the return date is rushing up.
I’d best make the next month a good’un.
Read part two of our 2017 Mercedes-AMG E43 long-term review here!