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Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet review: Heart attract

Leow Ju-Len
05/06/2016

mercedes amg c63 s singapore

Mercedes-Benz is calling 2016 its year of dream cars. The C 63 S Cabriolet is one reason why…

TRIESTE, ITALY — The C-Class Cabriolet is undeniably a beauty, but there’s a lot of beast in it, too. At least, that much is true for the C 63 S version. Read on to learn more…

Wow, what’s this?
It’s the new C-Class Cabriolet. Actually, the first C-Class Cabriolet, ever. There’s never been one, although the CLK Cabriolet (remember those?) is a spiritual predecessor. It basically takes the glam Coupe that was launched in Singapore a fortnight ago, and replaces the roof with a fabric top.

mercedes amg c 63 s cabriolet singapore review

It’s gorgeous. 
It is, innit? When the top is up, the roofline follows that of the Coupe model nicely, so it doesn’t look like a trolley wearing a hat. And when the top’s folded, you get a lingering view of the car’s wide shoulders and open-for-business stance.

As with the Coupe, the best view is from the rear, where those slim taillamps and clean lines really make for a graceful shape.

mercedes c 63 s cabriolet review singapore

Looks a bit like the S-Class Cabriolet, but smaller
Spot on, actually. And apart from the visual similarity, the two cars have similar roof technology. Press a button and the top disappears (or reappears) in 20 seconds as long as you’re going at 50km/h or less. There’s an optional, multi-layer sound-deadening version, though it probably will be standard in Singapore.

What’s it like to drive?
This here’s a full-on AMG version from Merc’s high-performance subsidiary, complete with hand-assembled twin-turbo V8.

mercedes amg c 63 s cabriolet review singapore

And as with the four-door C-Class, it comes in two flavours: a C 63 with 476hp, and the fully bonkers 510hp C 63 S that we drove. Some customers are apparently happy with their C 63 sedan, but seriously, if you can afford it, just go for the C 63 S Cabriolet.

Why? 476hp is plenty.
True, but 510hp is better than plenty. The acceleration is just so manic that it never fails to induce fits of giggles, and the sound from the V8 is the stuff of muscle car legend. Then there’s the fizzy pops and crackles from the tailpipes.

mercedes amg c 63 s cabrio review singapore

Between the engine and the exhaust, driving the C 63 S sounds like someone is firing a machine gun at a live volcano, and it’s impossible not to be tickled. Mind you, though it’s extremely fast it’s anything but scary.

How’s that?
The chassis is well up to the task of putting the engine’s power down. The C 63 S is very typically AMG, so it’s got widened front and rear tracks (you did notice the blistered wheelarches, right?), bespoke suspension, big brakes and so on. Result? It dives into corners with commitment and can hold a line faithfully.

mercedes amg c 63 s cabriolet singapore price

There’s also plenty of rear-end traction, surprisingly. Light rain left some bits of road a bit greasy on our drive, but the Mercedes never felt like it wanted to buck its tail wildly and toss us off its back.

So it’s a sportscar, then
Well, to be perfectly honest, it’s a heavy car and feels it. At 1,925kg, it weighs nearly as much as an S-Class, and you’re constantly aware of that bulk — that last bit of crispness to the steering isn’t there, and the suspension works hard to keep the body from wriggling about at speed. If it’s sharpness you want, the Coupe is more suitable, but as an open top car the Mercedes-AMG is considered sharp.

But why’s it so heavy?
Chopping the roof off a car removes a huge chunk of structural rigidity, and all convertibles are compromised that way. So engineers reinforce the body to compensate, and that adds weight. The C-Class Cabriolet is no different, but they’ve done a good job beefing it up. It feels stiff enough that you hardly ever feel more than a tiny shudder from the steering wheel in your hands when you hit a bump. And the weight helps it ride poor tarmac well. The (electronic) suspension setup is firm but well-controlled, even on the hardest setting of three.

Does that mean you could drive it every day?
For sure. The C 43 4Matic might be a better choice for a softer, more forgiving everyday drive, but though C 63 S is a beast it isn’t ill-mannered. That acoustic roof works well to insulate the cabin from outside noise, and even with the roof down you can hold a conversation at PIE speeds without shouting. Thanks to comfy seats, we drove it for hours without fatigue, too.

mercedes amg c 63 s cabrio singapore price

The rear seats are a bit upright, but surprisingly there’s enough head- and legroom in the back for someone around 170cm tall to feel comfy, so it’s a proper four-seater. The boot is serviceable, too, offering 260 litres with the roof folded, or 355 litres if you keep the top on top.

What rivals should I be considering?
There’s the BMW M4 Convertible, although that car has a pretty wild rear end in the wet. As a wildcard, how about Maserati’s GranCabrio? It’s pretty and big inside. But still, the Mercedes is pretty unique in the class in offering a bi-turbo V8, and it has a host of details that make you think it was worked on by some admirably geeky engineers.

mercedes c 63 cabrio interior

Like what?
There’s “Aircap”, a system of wind deflectors that extend electrically to keep draughts from buffeting the cabin. The C 63 S also has active engine mounts — they’re soft for the sake of comfort, but stiffen up when you select a sporty driving mode to add just that tiny bit of extra immediacy to the steering response.

Above all, the C 63 S Cabriolet just seems to come together nicely as a package. It’s fast but controllable, the cabin is comfy and the boot is acceptable, and the engine sounds like a robot Barry White. Above all, it’s such a pretty car that your heart is liable to want one on sight. Given the Cabriolet’s other qualities, the head has little reason to say ‘no’.

mercedes c 63 s cabriolet singapore

NEED TO KNOW Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet 
Engine
 3,982cc, 32V, twin-turbo V8
Power 503bhp at 5500-6250rpm
Torque 700Nm at 1750-4500rpm
Gearbox 7-speed automatic
Top Speed 250km/h (limited)
0-100km/h 4.2 seconds
Fuel efficiency 8.9L/100km
CO2 208g/km
Price $TBA
Availability October 2016

Tags:

2-door 4 seat C 63 S AMG C-Class Cabriolet Convertible Mercedes-Benz petrol

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Leow Ju-Len

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