New Car Reviews

First Drive: 2019 Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet

Drop-top chariot for road warriors

LUXEMBOURG CITY, Luxembourg — Invading a fortress requires superior strength and skill. The 2019 Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet is the proper chariot to request if you are planning to attack one as a tourist.

We drove a beautiful Graphite Gray metallic painted machine with a red top and a black leather interior with red stitching from Luxembourg to the villages and vineyards banking the Moselle River in southwestern Germany. The scenery here is breathtaking and so is driving the AMG C 43 with the top down in the hilly countryside.

It really hustles too, thanks to its tweaked twin turbo 3.0-liter V-6 engine that now delivers 385 hp (versus 362 hp from the outgoing model) and 384 lb-ft of torque. It’s a noticeable power bump of 23 horsepower that you can feel. If you need more oomph try a C 63. A little less, get behind the wheel of a C 300.

The C 43’s V-6 is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. There are shorter shift times and the car can stay in gear longer and will not automatically shift up when the engine hits its peak. It can also scream like car alarm in Sport and Sport+ modes as it propels you from 0-60 mph in about 4.7 seconds.

AMG’s latest C 43 packs a wailing exhaust system that can be controlled electronically if you prefer a softer note. Comfort sounds best if you want to keep a low profile in and around town.

There’s also Eco mode for gas misers and Individual for those that want to create their own combination. New extended Dynamics driving mode includes Powerful when Sport and Sport Plus just aren’t good enough.

4MATIC all-wheel drive is standard with a rear-biased torque distribution of 31/69, our AMG eggheads estimate.

The latest C 43 sports beefier bumpers, a twin-louver grille, LED headlights, taillights, and round twin tailpipes upgrades for 2019. Eighty percent of its parts have been changed we are told.

The new model rolls on 18-inch AMG five-spoke wheels and the Ride Control sport suspension offers three-stage damping.

Inside are new touch-sensitive control buttons on the AMG performance steering wheel, but the Alcantara trim on its sides feels slippery in quick turns. The synthetic suede-like material looks cool, but could make your palms sweat as a daily driver. The electric power steering is precise and responds admirably.

More niceties include Airscarf neck-level heating, Aircap (reduces cabin turbulence when top is down), and heated seats. The Airscarf vents have been integrated into the new optional performance sport seats—plus the rear seats fold 50/50. Legroom is decent up front, not so much in the back for rear passengers.

Aircap makes it easy to carry on a conversation in the convertible while moving even at higher speeds by employing an innovative wind deflector above the windshield that creates an airflow barrier around its passengers. It is operated by a push of a button and the only drawback is that the mesh material of the deflector is also a fantastic bug catcher and will require periodic cleaning.

Additionally, there’s a fragrance atomizer in glove box that takes up valuable storage space and smells like a glorified air freshener. It can also be found in tonier S-Class models and is as much fun as start/stop technology. A suntan lotion dispenser would be more practicable for the cabriolet.

Standard tech goodies for the C 43 include attention assist, active brake assist, pre-safe, and adaptive braking technology. The latest navigation system is top notch and the graphics are better than the previous year’s. Other standard extras include two USB ports, an SD card reader, and Bluetooth. The system is also Android Auto and Apple CarPlay friendly.

The soft top is available in four flavors and the new exterior colors include Mojave Silver Metallic and exclusive for the coupe and cabriolet is Graphite Gray.

There are two optional packages to choose from that include an exterior Carbon-Fiber or a Night Package. The Burmester sound system is also worth the cost for its premium upgrade.

Overall, you can’t find a better drop-top chariot to attack your next vacation destination or for slaying the daily traffic blues.

Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but we estimate it should start at around $64,000. The Mercedes-AMG C 43 Cabriolet along with its Coupe and Sedan variants will roll into dealers by the end of the year.

2019 Mercedes-AMG C 43 Specifications

ON SALE Late 2018
PRICE $64,000 (est)
ENGINE 3.0L twin turbo DOHC 32-valve V-6/385 hp @ 6,100 rpm, 384 lb-ft @ 2,500-5,000 rpm
TRANSMISSION 9-speed automatic
LAYOUT 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD sedan
EPA MILEAGE 19/26 mpg city/hwy (est)
L x W x H 184.8 x 79.4 x 55.3 in
WHEELBASE 111.8 in
WEIGHT 4,420 lb (est)
0-60 MPH 4.7 sec
TOP SPEED 130 mph

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