Open Cockpit: 2020 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Cabriolet

It’s summer here in Upstate New York, and we decided to celebrate with a little time behind the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Cabriolet. 2020 has been a strange year so far, so we needed all the laughter and fun that a rear wheel drive V8 torque monster can provide. Thankfully this lovely designo Cardinal Red metallic C63S showed up just in time for a week of wonderful weather.

This is not our first foray with this 4.0L Biturbo V8 that powers AMGs of late. We discovered how raucous it could be over the winter with the GLC63 S coupe. That all-wheel-drive monster was a ton of fun for all four seasons. This C63 S, however, is a slightly more specific tool, designed for maximum enjoyment for a specific time of the year in Upstate, NY. That enjoyment is all down to the wonderful engine that steals the show. 503 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque are all unleashed on the rear wheels with the slightest touch of your right foot. There are multiple driving modes to suit your needs, with our favorite being Race with the transmission in manual and the suspension in its most comfortable setting. The biggest disappointment comes from the exhaust, however. Even in its loudest setting, it still wasn’t as raucous as that GLC that we tested earlier this year. Being in a convertible with a V8, you really want to hear that roar, but it was more tame than expected. The Toyota Supra that we were testing the same week was substantially louder, bordering on annoying.

The thing to remember with this C63 S is that it is designed to be a cruiser in this configuration. Sure we carved up some serious backroads on our way up Mount Greylock in western Massachusetts, but this car seemed slightly more at home on the long open stretches at a steady pace. When you want to put the pedal down and throw it around those backroads though, the C63S Cabriolet is more than happy to oblige. The steering is light, fairly numb, but oddly direct at the same time. It took some time behind the wheel to gather the confidence to actually drive it hard. Once you’re past that learning curve, the car really comes alive. In the aforementioned Race mode, the shifts rattle off quickly from the dual clutch transmission and the car seemingly shrinks around you when the going gets twisty. Just remember to keep the suspension in its softest mode so you don’t start bouncing out of your seat over bumps.

Inside, the Mercedes-AMG C63 S is wrapped in leather, carbon fiber, and alcantara. Our tester had the comfort seats rather than the AMG race seats, and we were thankful for that. The infotainment is Mercedes’ old system, not the new MBUX experience we had in the GLC earlier this year. No touchscreens here, still a rotary wheel and haptic pad that are difficult to use and and unintuitive to navigate with. The digital gauge cluster, a $750 option, is a great addition and we would go with that. On the steering wheel, there are two haptic buttons that you can use to navigate through all sub-menus of the gauge cluster or the infotainment. Those two sensors are the only way we used the center screen, and they worked accurately while allowing us to keep our hands on the wheel all the time.

When the roof is down, there is very little wind buffeting. You can put the windows up to almost completely eliminate the wind entering the cabin completely, or you can deploy the windshield deflector and extend the rear deflector and ride around looking completely ridiculous but keeping your hairdo perfectly coiffed. The noise with the top up is minimal and no more noticeable than being in a coupe, and the back seats are completely useless unless you’re a child…but they make great purse holders.

When the week began we had high hopes that this was going to be a convertible version of a muscle car made by folks who really know what they’re doing. After a week with the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Cabriolet, that isn’t what this is at all. It’s a more precise instrument, a specialty tool that leaves us wanting just a little bit more. If it were a little louder, or a little more comfortable, we’d give it marks at the top of the class. As it sits though, it’s an honor student, but still needs to work a little bit more to get to be a valedictorian.

-Scott Villeneuve

2020 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Cabriolet
designo Cardinal Red metallic $1,080
19/20-inch AMG forged cross-spoke wheels $1,600
AMG Night Package $750
AMG Carbon Fiber Trim $975
AMG DINAMICA Performance steering wheel $100
Ventilated front seats $450
Multimedia Package $1,250
Exterior Lighting Package $900
AMG Head-Up Display $1,100
12.3-inch digital instrument cluster $750
Parking Assistance Package $1,100
Destination Charges $995
As Tested MSRP $95,950


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