The C-Class range is all about choice. Mercedes-Benz is determined to offer something for every taste, with the option of sedan, wagon, coupe, convertible, hybrid, diesel, four, six or eight cylinders, rear- or all-wheel drive, and even an SUV in the C-based GLC.
Want extreme performance without a tin top overhead? Go for the AMG C 63 Cabriolet.
Like the sedan, wagon and coupe, the convertible C 63 is of the S variety with the full 375kW tune of the twin-turbo V8. Despite the cabrio weighing just shy of two tonnes, this puts more than a breeze through your curls, top lowered and hammer down. AMG’s 4.0-litre eight summons 700Nm from the depths of just 1750rpm, along with a demonic yowl through its ‘all natural’ sports exhaust; no augmentation needed here.
It’s fast, 0-100 in four point something depending on how enthusiastic you are with your right foot. We managed a best of 4.3sec with the ‘Race Start’ get-away function lending a hand. There’s a thundering V8 rumble, a hazing of the rears as they struggle to deploy the steeds and before you’ve got your breath back you’re deep into tut-tut territory. The engine is a monster, wickedly responsive with the torque ever-present. The harder you rev it, the faster you go. It’s nigh on impossible to point this down a fascinating road and not be corrupted by the power.
Set to one of its racier drive modes, the seven-speed auto can be trusted to do all the shifting, changes made in rapid fashion with an accompanying bang from the exhaust as the timing halts to assist the shift. You really need only go for the paddles to upshift early in the hope of keeping your velocity in check. The steering is accurate and weighty when need be, and free from any rattles or vibrations in this roofless racer. Progress is generally shake-free, despite the firm ride. Adaptive dampers make the grade and we spent most of our fanging time in Sport+ mode, happy to suffer a few bumps for the added body control. And with close to two rapidly-transiting tonnes of AMG metal, you want as much control as you can get.
The big brake package gets a mauling, but is well up to the task, cancelling the speed before the negotiations with the next bend begin. Get the entry speed right and the cabriolet won’t argue much; too fast in and it’ll start to complain, the front tyres squealing in protest.
Naturally you can’t punch it off the bend like some all-paw prowler, but with the AMG electronically-controlled LSD at work, you can wade into the gas pedal early and its wizardry works to ground more of that power and round off the bend nicely. Roof down, there’s a mix of wind and exhaust noises, although with the canvas back in situ there is the usual performance rubber roar to contend with.
The ride is AMG firm on city streets too, even in Comfort mode, while tyre noise is evident whenever the hotmix turns coarse. Otherwise, the C 63 can be just as refined and easy going as the C 200 cab for the day-to-day stuff. It’s not only packed full of power but loaded with kit too. There’s the big Burmester sound system, and heated and ventilated seats complete with Merc’s air-scarf system to blow warming air around your neck. It gets a gadget-laden infotainment system, most of Merc’s active and passive safety systems, including the active lane keeping, fine leather upholstery, and a more menacing appearance with bulging guards and bonnet.
There are big wheels too, 19s on the front and 20s on the rear. An air balance package seems ridiculous excess in a cabrio, a lot of good the added air filtration and ionisation will do with the roof off. The scented air fragrancer robs glove compartment space. On the other hand, they say AMG customers demand simply everything.
The C-Class cabriolet is a four-seater convertible done (almost) right. There’s room for all, the roof folds down quickly enough and is operable on the move, and with the various wind deflectors in play, buffeting at speed is kept to a minimum. The only real downside is that the folded roof eats into luggage space, the hold reducing from 360L to 285L.
In convertible form the C 63 S costs $189,900 and that’s a whole stack of cash, especially when we think the C 200 does the cabriolet job perfectly well. However, the C 63 S Cabriolet looks like a right bargain next to the likes of a Porsche Carrera S Cabriolet and a steal alongside the Bentley Conti GT convert, cars with which it will handily keep up, while being more practical.
Guess it’s all relative, as they say.
|Model||Mercedes-AMG C 63 S C Cabriolet||Price||$189,900|
|Engine||3982cc, V8, T/DI, 375kW/700Nm||Drivetrain||8-speed auto, rear-wheel drive|
|Fuel Use||9.4L/100km||C02 Output||220g/km|