by Michael Butler
Talking about a baby Mercedes-AMG is like talking about a baby T-Rex; it's still going to be able to take your head off with minimal issues - and will have a great time doing so. The 2020 Mercedes-AMG C43 Convertible sits at the bottom of the AMG Convertible lineup, and, for $64,750, offers a 385 horsepower, 384 lb-ft drop-top rollercoaster ride that will get you to sixty in 4.6 seconds while enjoying a gentle warm breeze on your neck, thanks to Mercedes' Airscarf Technology. Around the bends, the C43 Convertible stuns with its responsiveness and agility, despite a 4,000 pound plus curb weight. The exterior of the C43 Convertible looks perfectly aggressive while the interior wraps the occupants in luxury, and the infotainment system isn't bad either. With loads of standard safety, performance, luxury, and comfort, the C43 Cabriolet might be the baby of the family, but it could also be the best convertible C-Class money can buy.
The baby drop-top of the Mercedes-AMG family sees some nice updates for 2020. These updates don't affect the performance of the C43 Convertible, which is still powered by the same 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine, but rather enhances the overall luxury and practicality of this German sports car. A new premium Burmester sound system is now standard issue, as is a 64-color LED ambient lighting system, as well as illuminated AMG door sills. A Mercedes-AMG GT inspired feature also makes its way into the C43: a drive-mode selector can now be found on the steering wheel, enabling the driver to switch between driving modes faster than ever before.
Design-wise, the Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Convertible remains unchanged for the 2020 production year. The only notable change being the addition of illuminated AMG logo doorsills. The Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Convertible features standard 18-inch AMG five-spoke wheels, a three-layer acoustic soft top, LED headlamps and wraparound LED taillamps as well as a satin chrome splitter. Four round exhaust pipes are a sign that this is a baby AMG and not a full-fat model.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Convertible is classed as a compact luxury convertible and measures in with a total length of 184.8 inches. The feisty German is 79.4 inches wide and stands 55.3 inches tall. The car rolls on a 111.8-inch wheelbase. For a compact exec, the Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Convertible is a heavy car, weighing in at 4,231 pounds - 252 lbs heavier than the already lardy C43 Coupe.
As you'd expect from any AMG car, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Convertible gets some serious ammunition in the form of a 3.0-liter V6 bi-turbo engine, which produces a meaty 385 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. What this means is that you get a big shove of midrange power that offers a constant push of power in almost any gear. Power is sent to all four wheels via an AMG Speedshift nine-speed automatic transmission, which delivers crisp and responsive gear changes. Although slightly muted by forced induction, the C43 sounds great at full-tilt and will accelerate to sixty in only 4.6 seconds, thanks to the 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system's additional traction.
Despite its heavy curb weight of over 4,200 pounds, the C43 feels like a much lighter car when pushing through tight corners, and we found the steering to be quick and precise, exactly what you want from a compact sedan or any performance car for that matter. The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system has a rear-wheel bias, which allows the car to get slightly squirrely when pulling out of a corner, but also provides good rotation. The front wheels come into play as soon as the driver starts to think that he's a Tokyo Drift star. The AMG drive modes include a Comfort setting for the most relaxed driving experience, while Sport and Sport Plus stiffen the suspension and liven up the throttle response. We noticed that in all three settings, the suspension was overly stiff.
If you consider all the elements in play, things don't sound too good for the Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Convertible: it's powered by a bi-turbo V6 engine producing nearly 400 hp, it weighs as much as an SUV, and it sends its power to all four wheels. This recipe should see the baby AMG see gas mileage figures in the teens, right? Wrong. According to the EPA, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Convertible will return a surprisingly acceptable 18/25/21 mpg city/highway/combined. The supercharged Jaguar F-Type S will best the German with a figure of 19/27/22 mpg - but without rear seats to weigh it down. A more comparable BMW 440i claims estimates of 22/29/24 mpg. With a 17.4-gallon fuel tank, the C43 will travel for up to 365 miles on one fill-up.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Convertible will seat four average-sized adults in relative comfort. Although it gets a bit tight in the rear for adults over 5'8", there's still enough space for short to medium distance trips, although if you're going cross-country you'd better leave the kids at home. The headroom comes in at 38.8 inches in the front and 35.6 in the rear, while the shoulder room comes in at 54.8 and 47.8 inches front and back, respectively. The all-important legroom measurement is 42 inches in the front, and 32 inches in the back. The seats are comfortable and the position is ideal for most drivers, while the Mercedes Airscarf keeps your neck warm with the top down on cool spring evenings.
Those looking at buying a new Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Convertible will already own something more practical, or won't care about trunk and cargo space at all - it's that simple. Despite these harsh words, the C43 offers middling trunk space at 8.8 cubic feet with the roof up. Fold the roof down, and that number shrinks to around five cubic feet; but, the good news is that the rear seats fold down and open up a decent amount of space, especially for a compact convertible. Wide door pockets and generously sized console storage bins offer good small-storage space, too.
Whenever you hear the letters AMG, you should know that there's going to be some kick-ass features involved. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Convertible features some of the most advanced tech available from the Mercedes-AMG stable, but a lot is also left to the options list, which can get expensive. Standard exterior features include LED headlights and taillights, a satin chrome front splitter, heated side mirrors, rain-sensing window wipers, and a heated glass rear window. Inside there's a dual-zone automatic climate control system, heated AMG performance bucket seats with 14-way power adjustability, an Airscarf neck heating ventilation system, Mercedes' Aircap system for fighting cabin wind turbulence, and 64-color LED ambient lighting. Other features such as the illuminated entry system, automatic trunk partition, and extendable sun visors make the C43 easy to live with. Active driver safety features include driver attention assistance, blind-spot assistance and cross-wind assist.
Mercedes-AMG has come a long way in terms of their infotainment systems. For a long time, it felt as if the German performance automaker was kicking back against modern technologies like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but we're pleased to announce that they are standard features in the 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Convertible. The 2020 car comes standard with a large 10.25-inch high-resolution center display, which is controlled through a touchpad controller or via steering wheel-mounted control buttons. This infotainment system features Bluetooth audio streaming, dual USB charging ports, an HD radio receiver, as well as a six-month subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio. Sound is channeled through a 13-speaker Burmester surround sound system with a Mercedes-Benz FrontBass system to improve sound delivery when the top is down.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class family of cars has been through a large number of recalls in recent years, with the C43 Convertible being subject to a number of them, including recalls for front seatbacks that may not lock, and rear beltline trim that could separate from the vehicle. Fortunately, at the time of writing, the 2020 model is free from recalls entirely, and Mercedes-AMG will cover the car with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty.
The C43 Convertible is a minor seller in the US, so neither the NHTSA or IIHS has tested the specific model; however, the C-Class Sedan has been put through its paces by both and has returned stellar results. The NHTSA gave the C-Class a full five out of five stars, but more importantly, the IIHS awarded the 2019 C-Class with its Top Safety Pick Plus award. Much of the same equipment is found in the C43. Standard safety features on the 2020 C43 Convertible include blind-spot assistance, cross-wind assist, driver attention assist, and a total of ten airbags amongst others.
Don't let the fact that the Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 sits close to the bottom of the AMG range fool you into thinking that it's not worthy of the prestigious Mercedes-AMG name; in fact, it is one of the better cars in the lineup, and combines potent performance, true luxury, and surprising levels of practicality in what should have been a stunningly impractical design. The aggressively styled exterior of the C43 Convertible offers attractive LED headlights and taillights, heated side mirrors, and a front splitter and rear diffuser that adds to its sporty persona. Inside, the C43 Convertible offers a truly luxurious and refined experience, made even more special by a 64-color ambient LED interior lighting and illuminated door sills. The bi-turbo V6 engine delivers massive amounts of torque on demand, and the C43, despite its heavy curb weight, handles like a car half the size and will stun new owners with how capable it truly is. At $64,750, the C43 Convertible is well priced and one of the best compact performance convertibles you can buy in 2020.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Convertible goes for an MSRP of $64,750, which excludes transportation and handling charges, destination charges, title, registration, taxes, and documentation fees. Its bigger and more powerful sibling, the S63 Convertible starts at $77,300; an increase of $12,550. With all the options boxes ticked, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Convertible will set you back over $85,000, so be careful what you opt for.
|AMG C43 4MATIC Cabriolet||
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Convertible is only available in one trim level, which means you get a set menu of standard features, but new owners get to choose from a generous number of exterior colors, soft top colors, and interior trim and upholstery colors. Moreover, Mercedes-AMG offers an extensive list of optional extras that can transform the standard C43 Convertible from premium performance convertible into luxury performance convertible - at a substantial cost, of course. If we were to buy one, we'd get it in Selenite Grey Metallic with the 19-inch AMG five-spoke wheels and carbon-style wing mirrors. Inside we'd go for the sublime AMG performance bucket seats and the AMG carbon fiber interior inserts. In terms of infotainment, we'd definitely go with the AMG head-up display unit for $1,100, and we'd stretch for the $1,700 Driver Assistance Package, which includes active driver safety features such as active steering assist and emergency braking with cross-traffic assist. The total price of our build verges on $75,000.
The C63 Convertible is the big daddy of the C-Class performance range and sits above the C43 in the AMG lineup for 2020. Unlike the C43, which is powered by a bi-turbo V6, the C63 is fortunate enough to get V8 power in the form of a 4.0-liter twin-turbo unit that produces a stunning 469 hp and massive 479 lb-ft of torque - or over 500 hp in S guise. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a similar nine-speed automatic transmission in both cars, but the C63 Convertible will sprint to sixty in only four seconds. All that power and the added weight means that the C63 Convertible will manage to keep its head above the teens with a combined gas mileage figure of 20 mpg. The interior space is obviously a match, as is the cargo space, and the interior on both looks sublime. If you really need the extra power, then go for the C63, but we'd rather spec out a C43 for the same price. This time around, less power and AWD suits the C-Class Cabrio better.
The 4 Series convertible has become BMW's most popular drop-top offering, and it makes sense; the 4 Series looks great from any angle, and its dynamic performance characteristics have made it a popular choice amongst the convertible-loving market. The 440i xDrive is the most powerful and exciting 4 Series convertible on offer, and is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine, which produces 320 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. That means it has a serious power deficit over the C43 Convertible; but, the 440i xDrive doesn't pretend to be a high-performance sports car, rather it takes more of a GT approach, and is noticeably softer and more comfortable to drive, but not as good on the edge. Fuel economy is slightly better than the C43 at 20/28/23 mpg city/highway/combined. The 4 Series offers more interior space, but slightly less cargo volume, and offers a clean, but slightly clinical, interior. BMW's tech offering is better, as is its warranty. The BMW should be your choice if you prefer a more laid back driving experience.