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Driven: Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet. Image by Mercedes.

Driven: Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet
Can you have fun in the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S if the roof is made of fabric? We say ‘yes’.

   



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Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Good points: Looks, interior, drivetrain, chassis, performance, noise, cachet

Not so good: It's thirsty, we'd rather have the less expensive Coupe or Estate versions of the C 63 S first...

Key Facts

Model tested: Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet
Price: C-Class Cabriolet range starts from £36,945; C 63 S from £72,740, car as tested £76,665
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol
Transmission: rear-wheel drive, seven-speed AMG Speedshift MCT automatic
Body style: two-door convertible
CO2 emissions: 208/km (VED £1,200 first 12 months, then £450 per annum next five years, then £140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 31.7mpg
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
0-62mph: 4.1 seconds
Power: 510hp at 5,500- to 6,250rpm
Torque: 700Nm at 1,750- to 4,500rpm

Our view:

Convertibles just can't be fun, goes the accepted belief in the petrolhead world. They're too heavy, too flexible and too poseur. So the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet, which is the most expensive of 12 (yes TWELVE!) AMG performance variants of the current C-Class, is surely therefore almost a redundant spur in Affalterbach's noble output.

But we're here to argue the opposite. Because if you do want a convertible of some sort, that is (just about) capable of seating four adults within, and you've got a bit of budget to play with, we can't think of much better than this storming AMG. It's another one of the company's hugely alluring vehicles, with a thunderous V8 soundtrack, masses of pace, a borderline unruly rear axle (more on that later) and steroidal looks.

Yup, there's no way you're going to casually mistake the C 63 S for a C 250 d. Look at those wheelarches, for a start. Check out its stocky stance. Take note of the bonnet strakes, or the twin-louvre front grille, that gaping A-wing airdam, or the massive, marvellous and mismatched 19-inch front, 20-inch rear alloys, or the squared-off quad exhausts. The C 63 S Cab just looks wonderful hood up or down, and the interior is a corker as well - great sports seats, a fantastic driving position and some lovely materials used (like Alcantara on the steering wheel, an oh-so-race-car touch), as well as a multitude of luxury toys at your disposal.

Can two fully-grown adults sit in the back? Yes... but with caveats. Don't expect to get a pair of six-footers-plus back there, especially if the front-seat occupants are taller than average. And don't put people in the back for long if the hood's up, as it feels a bit constrictive in terms of the light coming in through the small rear three-quarter windows. Nevertheless, this is a better effort at cramming four usable seats into a two-door bodyshell like this than some much more expensive and physically bigger rivals we can think of.

Brilliantly, the C 63 S works perfectly well as a boulevard cruiser, despite its 4.1-second 0-62mph time insinuating that this will be an overly-firm sports car. If all you want to do is drop the top - something that's complete in just 20 seconds, including on the move at speeds of up to 31mph - and enjoy the sunshine, driving slowly so that everyone can see how happy you look in your 510hp V8 convertible, then the Mercedes-AMG accommodates with incredible aplomb. The Ride Control adaptive suspension is really supple and compliant in Comfort mode, while the seven-speed AMG MCT gearbox slushes gears with nary a ripple of head-bobbing interference to the drivetrain. It's also an absolute pussycat to command at lower revs, the V8 snarling and growling away, the performance more than adequate as the goliath 700Nm comes on stream from just 1,750rpm.

But all the big, powerful convertibles are capable of decent composure at slower speeds. It's what happens when you increase the pace in the Mercedes-AMG that truly impresses. At no point does the C 63 S fall apart in the handling and road-holding stakes. If you were on a test track with an endless supply of tyres and fuel, and a load of timing gear, you might discern some deficits courtesy of the Cabrio's 125kg weight gain and loss of some torsional rigidity. Yet in most instances you'll never notice this sort of thing at all. With mammoth, dependable brakes, the multi-clutch transmission now in its sharpest frame of mind and the dampers dialled up to firm, the C 63 S soft-top is an absolute riot to drive - and something of a weapon, too.

It's the steering and the enormous front-end bite which inspire the most confidence, as the former is beautifully weighted and possessed of true feel, while the latter appears to be seemingly inexhaustible; we can't remember the C 63 S washing into push-on understeer once during 410 miles in its company. If there's anything wayward to report on the handling, it's that rear axle. With those giant 20-inch tyres on the back wheels, it'll gamely try and grip for as long as it can, but in the end the tail of the Mercedes is attempting to cope with more than 500 horses and 700Nm. We were lucky enough to drive it during a dry, warm week, yet even so, there were a number of times when the back end was slithering wildly once the throttle was opened. It's great fun, granted, and we're always talking about proper rear-wheel-drive characteristics like this as being a benefit, so we're not complaining too much. But we must caution that the C 63 S Cabriolet will likely be a right handful in the wet or for relatively inexperienced drivers.

Nevertheless, we love the way the Mercedes-AMG performs in a wide variety of scenarios, and of course we've not as yet touched upon its pace nor the tremendous soundtrack it offers. So we'll keep this reasonably brief: the C 63 S Cabrio is quick, with a capital 'CHUFFING'. It will erupt into gigantic velocity at the drop of a hat if you're not careful, so don't go toying with the throttle in areas with Draconian speed limits.

And the noise is just... unbelievable. Naturally, this is the point where we come out with the age-old selling point of a convertible, which is that you can better hear the 4.0-litre biturbo V8 and those quartet of tailpipes with the soft-top folded away. But the fact is this is a terrific-sounding car whether its occupants are exposed to the elements or not. It doesn't matter what speed you're doing, that cacophonous and wondrous V8 tune makes the C 63 S feel, incredibly, like it's going even quicker than it actually is.

Are there any drawbacks to the AMG Cabriolet? Well, it's not the best on fuel. We saw a 19mpg overall return at a 40mph average speed; one long motorway run conducted at a steady 70mph also only saw the economy climb to 23mpg. And, as much as we will defend the C 63 S Cabriolet as one of the very best of its type and an absolutely fine driver's car in isolation, we'd still prefer our V8 C-Class with a 'tin roof' - if you're a track-day enthusiast with a fetish for the apex of a corner, then the Coupe is the leading choice. And if you're more of a normal human being who just likes fast, cool cars, the one to go for is obviously the C 63 S Estate, which is surely all the car anyone could ever need.

But these facts should take nothing away from the 510hp Cabriolet. Sure, you could probably get most of its appeal and speed from the C 43 Cabrio, which is about £50,000 basic, and then there are even cheaper ways into soft-top performance car ownership than that, if you need to save some cash. However, the point is that, as four-seater, dyed-in-the-wool sports convertibles go, the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S is one of our clear favourites. And it's a simply enormous amount of fun for its driver, the body style be damned.

Alternatives:

Audi S5 Cabriolet: We're still waiting for Audi to RS-ify the Cabriolet, so the 354hp S5 soft-top is as fast as you'll get from the Ingolstadt crew. And the C 63 S is far more engaging, if far pricier.

BMW M4 Convertible Competition Pack: BMW's M4 Convertible with the CP is still 60hp and 150Nm down on the C 63 S, and it shows. Beemer also doesn't sound half as good as the AMG.

Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet: The basic 911 soft-top is £86,732, it's 370hp and the rear seats are laughable. Still, it's a 911, so that means for some it's another step up. We'd have the C 63 S, though.


Matt Robinson - 11 Aug 2017



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2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet drive. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet drive. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet drive. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet drive. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet drive. Image by Mercedes.

2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet drive. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet drive. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet drive. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet drive. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Cabriolet drive. Image by Mercedes.








 

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