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Driven: Mercedes-AMG doubles up with hot cabrios

Noiseworks: The roofless version of the Mercedes-AMG C63 S is the final chapter in the four-car story.

Musclebound drop-top completes four-car Mercedes-AMG C63 range


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9 Feb 2017

MERCEDES-Benz Australia/Pacific believes that while its new C63 S Cabriolet will be successful in its own right, it is paving the way for a more affordable but no less desirable version of the car, the six-cylinder C43 Cabrio.

The fourth car in the C63 range behind the sedan, wagon and coupe, the two-door, four-seat C63 S Cabriolet – the first topless C63 variant for the brand – will sell for $179,900 before on-road costs, some $17,785 more than the coupe on which it is based.

Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific senior manager public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy reckons, however, that the C63 will lead customers to another AMG-badged version of the car, the $119,900 (before on-roads) C43.

“Orders on C Cab are very, very strong,” he told GoAuto. “I think it's the strength of the offering.

“You've got C63 at the top, you’ve got C200 at the bottom, a 300, and you have a 43. Of course, the 43 is a very different car to the 63, because it's 4Matic (all-wheel drive). I think that will be a surprise in terms of its volume, and it's at a good price point.”

The C63 cabriolet is expected to make up less than a quarter of the four-variant C63 mix.

“As this is the first C 63 Cab ever (CLK 63 was its closest sibling), so we’ll need to wait and see what happens,” said Mr McCarthy. “Considering how strong the sedan and coupe sales are at the moment, we don’t see it exceeding 20 per cent.”

C63 sales accounted for 1435 of all AMG registrations in 2016.

Based on the C63 coupe, the two-door cabriolet will only be offered in Australia in its most potent S form, with its 4.0-litre ‘hot V’ twin-turbo V8 pushing out 375kW and 700Nm through the rear wheels.

That power hurls the cabriolet to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds.

Mercedes-AMG claims a combined fuel economy figure of 9.4 litres per 100km for the cabriolet, and CO2 emissions of 220 grams per kilometre.

A seven-speed automatic transmission sends power to an electronic limited slip differential between the rear wheels, while adaptive dampers at all four corners can be swapped between firm and soft via the four-level drive mode selection toggle or a button on the centre console.

A button next to the damper switch can also toggle the exhaust’s volume between loud and very loud it is the same system that is fitted to the coupe.

It also takes its suspension architecture from the coupe, which differs from both the sedan and wagon in its width, performance settings and stiffness. It allows for more camber to be dialled into the rear axle, while the hub carriers are 25mm wider than those of the sedan and wagon.

In fact, the C63 convertible is 64mm wider at the front and 66mm wider though the rear than a stock C-Class droptop, with the front and rear guards widened to match.

It is also about 225kg heavier than the C63 coupe, thanks to extra stiffening and strengthening of the frameless bodyshell to compensate for the lack of a roof panel.

The acoustic cloth top can be raised or lowered in 21 seconds at up to 50km/h, and the version fitted to the C63 is more dense – and heavier – than the one fitted to the stock convertibles.

The car rides on staggered rims with 285/30 R20 tyres on the rear and 255/35 R19s up front, while the stock brakes use large 390mm rotors all round. A set of carbon-ceramic rotors and matching pads is available as an option.

An electro-hydraulic steering system and reactive engine mounts are carried over from the coupe, as well as LED headlights and taillights.

Standard specs for the C63 S Cabriolet include a full Nappa leather interior, sports steering wheel with alloy shift paddles, digital television, heated and cooled front seats with Merc’s Air Scarf neck warming system, satellite navigation and a full array of safety systems including radar cruise control with low-speed traffic assist, lane departure warning and guidance.

Options also include sports seats.

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