SO YOU’VE made it.
Years of hard work are paying off, and you want to treat yourself with something rear-drive, V8 and with a silly amount of grunt.
You’ve read great things about the new-ish twin-turbo V8 C63 S and you’re hooked. But there’s a problem: you’ve always liked convertibles, and apparently this thing has an exhaust note that has fists punching out of the ground at the local cemetery.
You’d be right to be tempted by Mercedes-AMG’s new C63 S Cabriolet. It has all the same goodies as the coupe – stonking 375kW V8, snarling Performance dual-mode exhaust, electronically-locking rear differential and Dinamica microsuede interior adornments.
The convertible also scores the unique rear end of the C63 coupe with 25mm wider rear track than the sedan and estate – and in turn, a tough-as-titanium stance from the rear three-quarter, low down. And made only tougher, some would argue, with the roof dropped. It takes 20 seconds, up to 50km/h, for the cloth roof to fold itself away, at which point there’s still plenty of room in the boot.
The interior is also pretty serene with the roof down, even at 110km/h. Unfortunately, all this extra fresh air does come at a cost – and not just monetary, although there is that ($17,500 more than the Coupe). Rather, the Cabriolet is a hefty 125kg heavier than its tin-lidded sibling, a lot of it down to bracing to keep the chassis as rigid as possible in lieu of cutting a ruddy big hole in it. And, as some wiser bloke than us probably once said, you can only add so much extra weight to a fast car before the performance starts getting blunted.
In fairness, our drive on the Australian launch was on a damp, heavily-trafficked Bells Line of Road, and so we only learned so much about the C63 S Cabriolet, but it felt more unwieldy and hefty than we’ve come to know from the Coupe, and this was before we knew about its weight gain. There was also quite a wobble through the car, with the roof down, over patchy bits of road.
While the C63 S Cabriolet somehow strangely doesn’t beckon us to wring its neck quite like its Coupe and Sedan counterparts – it feels like a car best enjoyed at eight tenths – it does still have all the things we’ve come to love about this generation C63 S.
And that would be, utterly ballistic grunt, delicious rear-drive handling, a nice interior, decent steering and an exhaust note that makes us wonder why we bother with anything less than eight cylinders. Particularly in the Cabriolet – with the roof down, it sounds even better than the Coupe.
Us? We’d still have a roof. But there are some folks out there who are Convertible Men/Women and if a big part of the appeal is cruising – rather than track days or early Sunday morning blasts up remote roads – they’ll have treated themselves well with the droptop C63 S.
3.5 OUT OF 5 STARS
LIKE: Brutal power; noise; rear-drive
DISLIKE: Extra weight has done it no favours; a little wobbly
Engine: 3982cc V8, DOHC, 32v, twin-turbo
Power: 375kW @ 5500-6250rpm
Torque: 700Nm @ 1750-4500rpm
0-100km/h: 4.1sec (claimed)