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1998 Mercedes Benz C43 - Power Wonger

We Raise Some Hell In Lorinser's C43K

Philip Royle
Feb 1, 2003
Photographer: Wesley Allison
0302_EURP_01_z_SMB Photo 1/1   |   1998 Mercedes Benz C43 - Power Wonger

How fast is 120 kmph?I know 100 kmph is 62 mph.That must mean we're doing- OH CRAP, now it says 200 kmph? That's double 62, RIGHT? So we're- hmm, I wonder how fast 240 kmph is.

Wait, it doesn't say we're doing 240, it says 250.

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
$39,850 Base Model (MSRP) 24/34 MPG Fuel Economy

Screw this.Maybe I should just hold on and worry about converting speeds later.

Raw power isn't everything. Who am I kidding? Without out-of-control, unadulterated, tire-smoking power, life would be nothing more than pixies, butterflies, and happy thoughts. It's cars like Lorinser's C43K that make living a little more interesting. How interesting? When you peg the throttle on this baby, even at speed, you feel the chassis torque from the power the engine is producing. Oh, did I mention we did all the testing of this car on the Autobahn?

The heart and soul of this W202 Mercedes is based off the AMG variant of the C-class. Inside the bowels of the engine bay resides the fairly stock 4.3L V-8 that AMG deemed powerful enough for the sedan. Germany's Lorinser, however, thought the Benz needed a little more motivation, so the company installed a centrifugal supercharger, or kompressor, onto the beast-that's why there's a K after the C43 designation. As we discovered in a small German town a few miles from Lorinser's main headquarters, with little more than a flick of the go pedal, Lorinser's ultimate C-class readily turns its heart and soul into nothing more than tire smoke.

The rest of Lorinser's C43K was designed with comfort, style, downforce, and airflow in mind. The interior was completely restitched with Lorinser's own leather pattern and insignias. Outside, the front and rear bumpers were replaced with low-profile units designed for better airflow into the engine compartment and out from the rear bumper.

The car isn't all power, though. If it were, our tests would have probably ended in an impressive topple off the Autobahn at the first corner. Most German tuners, Lorinser included, quickly learned that big-horsepower cars need to stick to the road with a predictable and neutral demeanor. To accomplish this, and to allow the estimated 348 hp to safely reach the ground, Lorinser strapped on a set of its light-alloy 17-inch wheels with meaty Dunlop SP8000 245mm front and 255mm rear tires. Lorinser also utilized a complete set of its specially designed Sport dampers and progressively wound springs. The result is a car that takes a left-hand sweeper at 230 kmph like it's doing an uninspiring 160 kmph. Don't worry if that analogy means nothing to you, as it meant nothing to us either-until we flew past cars on a turn doing at least 70 kmph faster than anyone else.

Sadly, this C43K rarely sees road time any more. It sits in the Lorinser facility collecting dust. In fact, we headed to Lorinser's headquarters with CEC intending to test a W203 C320 turbo, but the C43K called to us from across the building, and although we're sure the turbocharged 3.2L V-6 would have been an impressive powerplant to push to the limits, nothing can quite duplicate how a V-8 sounds when it's breathing through a large-diameter exhaust. That, and the chance to romp on a 4.3L producing roughly 370 lb-ft of torque was too good an opportunity to pass up.

1998 Mercedes Benz C43
Lorinser/Claus Ettensberger Corp // Gardena,CaOccupation:If you don't know what we do, then you can't afford one of our cars.

Maybe We Can't Afford One, But Can We Drive One?We let Mike drive this one in Germany and when we got it back, it had no tread on the tires. We think you've used up all your privileges.

Tech Specs
Engine:4.3L V-8, Lorinser kompressor, Samco silicone hoses, Lorinser exhaust

Transmission:Five-speed automatic

Suspension:Lorinser Sport dampers and springs front and rear

Wheels & Tires:Lorinser 17x8.5 front and 17x10 rear Type RSK5 wheels, Dunlop 245/40-17 front and 255/40-17 rear SP8000 tires

Brakes:Factory four-wheel discs

Bodywork/lighting:Lorinser front bumper spoiler with integrated driving lights, side skirts, rear bumper spoiler, and front grille

Interior:Lorinser 300kmph speedometer, Lorinser custom leather

Mobiltronics:Factory Bose sound system

Props/shout-outs/mad love:Lorinser and, of course, CEC

By Philip Royle
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