Driving into the pages of The Guardian today
Cradled in a luxurious seat made of the finest leather with soothing music surrounding me, a heated scarf is placed at my neck.
The scenes treating my eyes are of shimmering ocean, red cliffs and cobalt sky.
Am I zoning out in a spa? No. This pampering is happening while I’m squeezing the throttle down on the 2017 MercedesAMG C43 Cabriolet.
The C43’s AMG-enhanced 3.0-litre bi-turbo V6 engine breaks into its enthusiastic 362-horsepower song and dance and launches the sizzling soft-top from zero to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds.
I’m on the move, top down with the touch of a button, grin plastered on my face at the pleasure of driving into the sunset, senses on high alert.
My hair is tangled but I don’t care. There’s a maritime chill in the air, despite the July date. Again, I don’t care. That heated scarf at my neck is actually warm air coming from the airscarf, Mercedes-Benz’s necklevel heating system. Genius.
Another push of a button in the centre console activates the aircap, raising a wind deflector above the windshield and another between the rear headrests.
This innovation deflects the air flow higher above the passenger compartment when the roof is down, decreases turbulence in the rear and significantly reduces noise in the cabin.
My new BFFs, airscarf and aircap, make all the difference when driving top down in cooler temperatures.
When my tester for the week is a hot Mercedes-AMG Cabriolet, unless the rain is coming down in sheets, it’s an absolute duty to drive topless at all times.
The 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43, along with its more powerful sibling, the C63, are the two AMG versions of MercedesBenz C-Class sedan. AMG started out as an independent engineering firm specializing in performance upgrades in Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
The letters AMG stand for Aufrecht Melcher Großaspach, the first two words being the last names of AMG’s founders, Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher. Großaspach is Aufrecht’s birthplace. Since 2005, AMG has been owned outright by Mercedes-Benz.
AMG models usually feature a higher level of performance, better handling and stability and more aggressive looks than their non-AMG cousins.
The Cabriolet, sheathed in a mean-looking matte Designo Selenite Grey paint colour, is most definitely assertive-looking and certainly eye-catching to say the least. Top down, the stunning Cranberry Red interior stands out.
Roof up or down, the cabin indulges the occupants with top-of-the-line comfort with heated and cooled seats, adjustable headrests, tons of legroom in the front seat (not so much in the rear seats), and a hopping Burmester sound system.
As always, if I can’t have a manual transmission, at least give me steering wheel paddle shifters. The MercedesAMG C43 Cabriolet, with its enhanced 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission, delivers, responding smoothly with the paddle-shift buttons that are labelled Down and Up.
The steering is most precise and, while the ride is stiff because of the run-flat tires and low sidewalls, it’s comfortable even on some of our province’s bumpier roads.
My wheels this week are certainly treating me right, making me happy to help AMG celebrate its 50th birthday this year. I find myself looking for excuses to go to the grocery story on the other side of town, when there’s a perfectly good one around the corner. I take the long way home from just about everywhere.
After all, girls just wanna have fun. Especially when the fun involves a topless ride enveloped in sunshine, summer breezes and that snappy exhaust note when I put the C43 into Sport+ mode.
There haven’t been many convertibles in my life. Growing up, my family didn’t own one.
My parents came to Canada from Italy and probably would have thought the climate too cold, a convertible too frivolous. Mom and Dad had a convertible Fiat 500 back in Rome in the mid-1960s when they got married. It was white. What I would give to have that little topless number now.
My first experience with owning a convertible was when husband, Garry, reached a certain milestone birthday. He bought a 1983 Mustang GLX 5.0-litre V8 with a five-speed manual transmission.
We had it for a number of years, stubbornly driving it top-down well into December, heat blasting, collars turned up around our ears. No airscarf or aircap but we were okay with ‘roughing it.’
It’s not often that people put their windows down at traffic lights to comment on what I’m driving. The 2017 MercedesAMG C43 Cabriolet sparks car fever all over town.
A young lady remarks that my ride looks like fun. I tell her I can no longer get a comb through my hair. Her answer: “So what?”
The 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet starts at $68,800. The Designo Selenite Grey paint adds $2,500, the Cranberry Red interior another $1,900. Various driver, safety, technology, comfort and convenience packages bring the price as tested to $85,380.
Lisa Calvi is project manager and vice president of Odyssey International, a Halifax-based automotive event management company.