Mercedes-AMG C63 S: I am cabriolet
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Mercedes-AMG C63 s soft-top looks good and sounds phenomenal
Mercedes-Benz New Zealand is using this weekend's Leadfoot Festival in Hahei to mark its performance brand's 50th anniversary by revealing two sports vehicles.
The new Mercedes-AMG C63 S cabriolet and AMG GLC 43 will be revealed to the media, while a marquee at the event will display a range of products, including an original C36 AMG plus such stunners as the SL 63.
Driven had a first road test of the new Mercedes-AMG C63 S cabriolet this week, showing that it may be a "soft" top but beneath that retractable roof is a hard and fast sports car.
The rear-wheel-drive features chassis and powertrain technology from the C63 coupe, but gets body and suspension alterations - and a thumping sound track - from the AMG performance exhaust system.
Priced from $189,900, the AMG-imbued cabriolet has a 4-litre, eight-cylinder, direct-injected bi-turbo petrol engine, producing 375kW of power and 700Nm of torque.
It hits 0-100km/h in 4.1 seconds and has claimed fuel consumption of 9.4l/100km ... but expect double figures.
The automatic transmission is AMG's Speedshift that produces super-fast gear changes and superb downshifts.
The C63 S cabrio also gets a multilink suspension setup to reduce body roll plus a wider rear track than any Benz-branded C-class cars, with the look enhanced by the 19/20-inch alloys.
The stability and steering systems offer three settings plus powertrain options: Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Race, the last one suitable for track only.
The AMG gets power domes on the bonnet plus wider front and rear-wheel arches, giving this compact convertible a muscular appearance.
Inside, the cabriolet has heated and ventilated front leather seats, Airscarf (neck level heating), Burmester surround sound with 13 speakers, head up display, and an IWC analogue clock.
The roof opens and closes within 20 seconds at speeds of up to 60km/h -- ideal when there's rain while driving around town or, in my case, when that sun became too much during a road trip.
It's also a genuine four-seater with the rear space providing enough room for two adults with the roof on -- and with the roof off, a wind shield between the two rear headseats stops any fluttering.
Although cabriolets can be misunderstood as only sunny-day drives, this AMG version's pounding V8 engine belies any such notion. It's a track-ready, dynamic sports car that -- as my neighbours described it -- sets off car alarms and has dogs howling as you drive down the road.
To keep the neighbourhood dogs quiet, I headed out of Auckland to west coast beaches for a day-long road trip, after multiple around-town journeys and motorway jaunts.
Once I had passed the day trippers doing at least 20km/h below the speed limit, I switched the C63 S into sport mode and, with a tap on the accelerator, the exhaust gave a crackle and we were off.
Cornering at speed on inclines and declines were smooth, thanks to that new suspension system, and I used the steering wheel-mounted paddles to shift down when entering a bend at speed.
The control of this vehicle is tremendous, but it's the engine that gives this cabrio its kudos.
Sure, my neighbour -- again -- may have complained when I arrived home late one night and took a few minutes to park, with the "rumble-rumble" of the turbo as an undertone, but when it comes to sports cars, you can't go past the heritage and expertise of AMG.
MERCEDES-AMGC63 S CABRIOLET
Engine: 4-litre, 8 cylinder, bi-turbo, (375kW/700Nm), 7 speed
Pro: That sound, that power
Con: That sound will set off car alarms