Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet Review New Zealand
With our summer heat in full flight, the offer of a convertible car was always going to be a welcome call, but when the offer came with an AMG badge attached the mercury was undoubtedly sure to boil.
As you are quite possibly aware, the Mercedes-AMG C ‘43’ is the V6 version of the brand. It’s not quite the all-singing, all-dancing V8 ‘63’ but rest assured, it’s a long, long way from the regular Mercedes-Benz C-Class (for which there is nothing ‘regular’ about at all).
Anyway, I reviewed the Sedan version of C43 a few months ago but I knew there was much more to Cabriolet than the tongue in cheek comment ‘it’s like the other one but without a roof’ I received from the Mercedes PR guy when I picked it up – never kid a kidder right!
Boy was I right. My ride came in obsidian metallic black, a deep yet seductive colour, offset by its highly contrasting ‘porcelain’ leather interior. I appreciate that white furniture isn’t for everyone but it made a very welcome change from the usual heat-absorbing black. Visually, the AMG C 43’s character lines flow well, with its bonnet and profile sculpting portraying a graceful sense of speed, and although (obviously) the lower ‘black on black’ front air ducts blend in easily, the silver grille and 3-pointed star badging was a bit of a standout. With the top up, the black multi-layered fabric roof fits in well with the C-Class’s overall design, but top-down, it takes on a style all of its own – one that oozes open-air fun.
Convertibles, drop-tops, cabriolets, whatever you choose to call them, undoubtedly excel in summer, but this model came with a few extras to that were guaranteed to get you hot under the collar.
Firstly its heated ‘air scarf’. At the touch of a button, the seat blows hot air to the back of your neck, (not ideal for the scorching weather I had the Cabriolet for, but), when you add in the heated seats, max out the temperature setting and increase the windbreakers (above the windscreen and behind the rear seats), it’s ideal for dropping the roof mid-winter.
Secondly the engine. Under the bonnet lies a highly-tuned 3L V6 powerhouse that produces 287kW and 520Nm, more than ample in most peoples books – the 4MATIC all-wheel drive allowing you to go from 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds.
Last but by no means least, my Cabriolet chariot came with the AMG Performance Exhaust System option that when engaged, simply screams out loud with enjoyment (often even louder than me).
As cliched as it sounds, with the sun high in the sky and the AMG’s roof fully lowered, I engaged Sports+ driving mode and headed toward the beach, taking a route that included some highway tarmac, several twists and turns and of course, a tunnel or two.
On the highway, the Cabriolet feels calm and sturdy. Plenty of driver’s aids to make a long trip relaxing and in comfort, even the exhaust note is a little subdued. However, when it comes to the bends and the tunnel, flick the driving mode to Sports+ and let the games begin. I have to admit to driving a little wayward, not necessarily in speed or control, just in terms of revs. I spent (possibly a little too much) time using the paddles to hold the needle up high and have the Cabriolet singing like a punk rocker, especially through the tunnels – Sorry, not sorry.
My Mercedes-AMG fitted in nicely by the Omaha beach and garnered more than the occasional second look and we often slowed to walking pace in order to assist, Also gave me chance to admire its upmarket interior (open pore ash, piano blacks and chromes) and The AMG C 43 cabriolet’s infotainment and instrument clusters are fully digital and easy to read, even with the top down – it’s a handsome vehicle make no mistake.
The sun shone fiercely for the whole week that I had the Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet and I enjoyed every minute. The looks, the lack of roof, the speed, the handling, the power, the air scarf and the sound, all combined to put a smile on my face and make me very hot under the collar.