by Michael Butler
People have always loved a good convertible Mercedes-Benz, especially when they're fast. The 2020 Mercedes-AMG C63 Convertible follows in a long line of fast drop-top Mercs, and thanks to years of development, it's one of the best compact performance execs on the road today. Power comes from a potent twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 with 469 horsepower in base guise and 503 hp in S trim, and doles out large dollops of midrange torque to get the C63 to sixty in the low four-second range. Mercedes-AMG has done a good job of packaging the drop-top C63 in a way that doesn't compromise interior space too much, and as always, the interior feels refined and robust. It won't be the fastest around a track, and the BMW M4 might be a bit of a sharper tool, but the Merc feels well balanced and is arguably the better-looking car. The 2020 Mercedes-AMG C63 Convertible starts at an MSRP of $77,300, but as the cheapest way of getting behind a drop-top V8 AMG, it's worth every penny.
Mercedes-AMG has kept things more or less the same for 2020 models, but a few equipment changes have taken place to keep the C63 Convertible relevant in the new decade. All new C63 Convertibles now come with a standard Aircap feature that cocoons the occupants of the car in a wind-free bubble thanks to deflectors. The C63 Convertible also receives a set of power-folding side-view mirrors, and Iridium Silver Metallic joins the color palette.
The C63 Convertible is a properly fast and capable performance car and features all of the modern luxuries you'd expect from a car in this class. So what will you pay for the privilege of driving one of these down to your local driving range? Mercedes-AMG will ask for $77,300 of your hard-earned dollars for the standard car, and $84,900 for the S, which excludes a destination charge of $995, taxes, title, and registration. The BMW M4 starts at an equal $77,650, but to buy a Jaguar F-Type that can match the abilities of these cars, you'll have to stretch for the 380-hp supercharged V6 model, which goes for $87,400.
See trim levels and configurations:
AMG has worked their magic on the C63 Convertible range: there's minimal scuttle shake, and the car feels responsive and pointy, but can't match the sharp BMW M4 Convertible in the dynamics department. Mercedes-AMG fitted the C63 and C63 S with four-wheel independent, AMG Ride Control sport suspension with three-stage damping, which allows the driver to cruise around in comfort mode when out and about (it's still a rather stiff drive) or tune it all the way up to Race mode, where the suspension stiffens up, and the traction control system gives the driver a free pass. The end result is a convertible that feels planted, eager to take on corners and offers excellent responses to steering inputs, but can feel overly stiff when cruising around at suburban speed limits.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
We're living in an age where convertible performance cars are expected to perform as well as their hard-top siblings, despite their inherent weight and structural disadvantages. The 2020 Mercedes-AMG C63 Convertible is one such car; in tin-top form, the C63 is a competent German muscle car, especially the more potent S model, but was never destined to be one of the sharpest handling machines in its class. Instead, it goes for a balance between comfort, ease of driving and impressive straight-line gusto, while still maintaining composure through the bends. The convertible takes this to the next level by offering a wind-in-your-hair experience, all the while retaining much of the poise and capability we love in the hard-top. The ride might be overly stiff for some, but the C63 Convertible is otherwise a great everyday performance car that, despite having a power-folding roof, offers good space for four adults, and still has enough trunk space for a decent grocery trip. The twin-turbo V8 engine is sensational, and the interior is as refined as you're going to get in this class. It's a solid all-round package from Mercedes-AMG.
The C63 Convertible is available in two trim levels, with the C63 S being the most powerful and expensive. Both cars come with a good amount of features, but you can have a look at the extensive options list if you want something more unique. We would go with the C63: you won't miss the extra power of the S, and you can spend the money you save on kitting it out with cool features. Mercedes-AMG offers a healthy number of optional packages that will see the C63 Convertible's asking price shoot through the roof. We would have one in the $720 Selenite Grey Metallic, with the AMG carbon-fiber interior package and throw in the driver assistance package, which adds active steering assist, active braking assists with cross-traffic function, as well as active lane-change assist, speed-limit assist and route-based speed adaptation. It might also be worthwhile getting an additional maintenance plan, which starts from $1,490 for a two-year/20,000-mile package.
BMW and Mercedes-Benz have been mortal enemies for decades, and it has always been interesting to see how they go about building cars that compete in the same classes. BMW tends to create more driver-focused machines, while Mercedes-Benz has preferred the more laid back luxury approach. The BMW M4 is a good example of this ethos: its 3.0-liter BMW M twin-turbo inline six-cylinder doesn't have the rough and ready feel of the Merc's V8 but delivers smooth and consistent power. Its 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque are significantly less than the C63 and C63 S, and its sprint time of 4.4 seconds to sixty reflects that. The C63 might have a larger and more powerful engine, but both will do 20 mpg on a combined cycle. On the inside, the BMW offers more space but doesn't feel as sumptuous as the Merc; instead it feels clinical and clean cut. Where the BMW really shines is on track, where it feels sharper and more intuitive. At the end of the day, neither of these cars is going to be track day stars, and both are equally priced at around $77,000, so we'd rather go with the C63, which looks and feels more laid back.
Firstly it should be said that the Mercedes-AMG C63 Convertible offers space for two more human beings than the F-Type, which is strictly a two-seater sports car: that will be the most significant deciding factor for most looking to buy in this price range. The F-Type has been around for a while now, and its good and bad traits are well-known. To be genuinely competitive in terms of performance, you'll have to stretch for the 380-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6, at least, which costs over $10,000 more than the Merc - another big factor to consider. The Jaguar is a beautiful car to look at and drive, and that supercharged V6 engine must be one of the best sounding modern performance engines on offer. Where the Jaguar falls short is in terms of interior space and overall practicality. If you're happy with only having one open seat next to you, then great, the Jaguar will do. But the Mercedes-AMG C63 Convertible offers two extra seats, goes just as well, arguably looks as good, and costs $10,000 less. Let your heart do the talking here.