The long awaited Mercedes-Benz C-class Cabriolet and land yacht that is the S-Class Cabriolet have arrived. There was no better place than the Western Cape to get more acquainted with these topless wonders, so I got on a plane and flew down there to see what these cars are all about.
Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC Cabriolet:
Whereas the "standard" AMG C43 is Mercedes-Benz’s answer to the BMW 340i and Audi S4, the soft-top cabriolet has the likes of the Audi S5 and BMW 440i firmly in its sights. Is it any good? Well I grabbed the keys to find out.
From the outside it doesn’t really look as if it’s up for the challenge. Apart from the black wing mirrors, it looks like any other C-class with an AMG-line body kit. Press the key fob for 20 seconds to lower the roof though, and everything changes.
With the top down, I managed to spot some very subtle styling enhancements which just sets the car apart. For example, the A-pillar, windscreen and beltline moulding feature a chrome strip which extends to as far the soft-top compartment, where it then borders the main chrome trim.
The interior is standard C-class fare except for a new control unit just behind the infotainment control palm pad. It controls the opening and closing of the roof as well as the brand's signature AIRCAP. Push this and a deflector rises up above the windscreen as well as behind the rear seats. This helps reduce wind turbulence within the cabin and should keep your hair in check.
Under the bonnet lies a biturbo 3.0-litre V6 engine developing 270 kW and 520 Nm. Power is sent to the wheels via a 9G-tronic gearbox. As for the wheels in question, well they all get a slice of the power because the C43 features 4MATIC all-wheel drive. This means it will hit 100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds.
Now because this car wears an AMG badge, it must also impress in the handing department and not just when flooring it. To this end, the suspension has been given a slight revamp and now features stiffer elastokinematics, unique to AMG, as well as three-stage adjustable damping.
Mercedes-AMG S63 and S65 Cabriolet:
Mercedes-Benz also took the opportunity to launch the S-Class Cabriolet and more specifically, the AMG variants. Given that a S-class with a folding roof last appeared some 49-years ago, this new one needs to be good, especially when the asking price is touching R3-million. Fortunately, it largely is.
This level of design and attention to every conceivable detail is truly the work of specialists and artisans. To give you an idea about what I mean, take the headlamps for example; each unit alone features no less than 47 Swarovski crystals.
Within the cabin, only the finest materials, leather surfaces and colour combinations have been used. The way you feel from the moment you enter tells you that this is going to be something exceptional. Drop the roof while driving though, the town and the world actually becomes a better place.
There is another beauty to the S-Class Cabriolet, particularly this S63 AMG model which remains somewhat disguised. Under the bonnet lives a bi-turbo 5.5-litre V8. Ignite this and you will unleash 430 kW and 900 Nm of glorious torque. You will hit 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds and if the limiter was to be removed, well let’s just say you will still be going after you’ve passed the 300 km/h mark.
This luxury yacht for the road delivers the driving dynamics and the exhaust note of a high performance sports car. Set the car up in its full AMG mode and the experience is biblical.
One slight issue I noticed on the twisty Cape roads, of which there are a lot, was that the car tends to get unsettled when hassled through tight corners. Instead, what it desires is a long road with sweeping bends, and if you are lucky enough to have the mountain ranges of the Cape as a backdrop, well then that’s just a bonus.
How does one come to a verdict here? Two cabrioles, one nimble and sporty, the other oozing with opulence and power driven through one of the most beautiful landscapes on our planet with not a cloud in the sky.
Well, I think that is what these cars are for. They ignite passion for the finer things in like and in a world where we find ourselves looking down and our laptops, at our cellphones and at the car in front of you in traffic, maybe, just maybe it is time to look up.
Mercedes-AMG C43 4MATIC
Mercedes-AMG C63 S
Article written by Justin Jacobs