First Drive: 2017 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG S Cabriolet

There is just something about an absurd amount of horsepower. Stomp on the accelerator and the forces you experience tingle the whole body from the right foot all the way up to the follicles on top of your head. For me, the sensation instantly unlocks some secret pleasure center in my brain rarely tapped since my 10th birthday.

The Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG S Cabriolet is a 503-hp portal into my childhood fantasies: I am now Speed Racer! Blitzing a twisty road with the top down is likely as close to driving the Mach 5 as I’ll ever get. But damn, on a cold Augusta morning, burning up Georgia asphalt feels just like my 10-year-old self imagined it.

The C63 will hit 60 from a dead stop in four seconds, which is just long enough to hear the engine scream in a throaty German accent “Gang Hochschalten!” The four-liter biturbo V-8 puts out a beastly 516 lb-ft of torque to the back wheels, managed by a seven-speed AMG transmission.

That adds up to speed. Beautiful, bat-shit, nutso speed, and with the drop top down, it feels even faster. Sure, it’s technically a few ticks slower than its coupe sibling, due to the added weight of the convertible roof system, but you won’t care. Going topless is worth the price of a tenth or two.

A new multi-link suspension is designed to keep body roll to a minimum. Paired with a wider stance than the regular C class, this is a convertible that feels stiff but will let you get frisky in the corners. Say it with me now … Power Slide.

Over the river and through the woods into South Carolina, the C63 cabriolet is a riot, lightning on wheels around the twisty, two-lane highways. Listening to the magically enhanced engine growl, with no roof or glass in the way, as I feed this beast a hearty breakfast of high octane is the perfect way to start off a Sunday-Funday.

On the highway it gobbles up road. Without noticing, you can easily find yourself traveling at speeds that will earn unwanted attention from law enforcement. For longer hauls, it's probably best to engage the cruise control to keep yourself out of jail. Of course, this is still a Mercedes-Benz, so the C63 comes with all the usual refinements from 14-way power sport memory foam heated seats, so you can still ride with the top down even when it's on the chilly side, to numerous driver assist systems including a brilliant heads up display to keep your eyes on the road.

As with most convertibles (and 2+2s), the back seat is little more than a leather-appointed storage area, and because the roof has to fold into somewhere, the utility of trunk space is minimal. (My golf clubs rode shotgun.) But cargo space and practicality is not the point of this car. You wouldn’t even buy this car to drive your friends around. You buy this car to have a ludicrous amount of fun driving solo, all the while singing, “Here he comes, He’s a demon on wheels! … Go, Speed Racer, Go!” [Starting at $80,850; mbusa.com]