Is there real substance beneath that sexy bodyshell?
Photos by Azfar Hashim
If you want a brilliant handling cabriolet for four, it doesn’t exist yet unfortunately. Not even this open-top version of Mercedes-AMG’s C43.
This C43 AMG Cabriolet's rear felt softer than the front, and when driven enthusiastically with the folding canvas roof hidden in the trunk, it gets even more obvious to the point you must hold the steering wheel tighter and ease off the accelerator; thankfully however, steering is precise and the anchors are commendable.
Well, I’m glad to report that was the only grouse I had during my time with the beautifully sculpted C43 AMG. And in this particular shade of black, the car looks very sleek; you would've thought that it’s subtle enough to not attract attention, but it still captured eyeballs everywhere it went - no guesses here - especially with the roof down.
Subtly reminding you it has 4MATIC all-wheel drive
It’s properly fast - I'd give it that. I would even go as far as claiming this to be one of AMG’s perfect daily drivers your money can buy. Driven normally, there is ample power available; if you happen to sneeze while your right feet is on the accelerator in Tampines, you’re already at Changi Airport by the time you’re done. You get the idea.
The 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 powerplant, mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission whips out a rather potent 362 bhp and 520 Nm of torque, takes 4.8 seconds to reach 100 km/h from standstill and has an electronically-limited 250 km/h top speed.
Those numbers do not lie though, as the C43 is highly capable during straight-line sprints; being surefooted without a hint of torque steer gives you additional assurance, unlike the C63 AMG brethren which could potentially give you sweaty palms while executing a similar deed. Which means you could outrun those pesky hot-hatches, modified family sedans and turbo’d taxis who were assuming this, erm, ‘hairdresser’s special’ has no go.
And because Mercedes made their AIRCAP technology present here, you cruise along the expressway at three figure speeds with cabin turbulence minimized. You can enjoy the sound system and also have decent conversation with other occupants; just don’t get overly engrossed and end up seeing blinking blue/red flashing lights rapidly appearing on your rear-view mirror though…
As mentioned earlier, the C43 AMG is quite the perfect daily driver. Besides the excellent performance, the cabin has a perfect cockpit thanks to the well-appointed control buttons, nicely sized steering wheel and highly supportive seat.
The black and red stitches found around the car definitely shout ‘sporty’, but I still do not fancy the piano black panel on the central console; it attracts dusts, thumbprints and even scratches. Urrgh. Thankfully though, there are aftermarket specialists that could wrap or even respray the panel in other different finishes.
So at the end of the day, what you get out of the C43 AMG Cabriolet is a well appointed, properly fast and beautiful open-top for four. All that’s required is a suspension that is sorted to allow it to carve corners more confidently.
Comfort is expected and given, yes; but for $370k, I need it to handle better too.
Comfortable enough for two adults
Roofed to alfresco takes less than 20 seconds
Sorry, but that second button from the bottom didn't reveal any special party trick