2020 Mercedes AMG C-Class Cabriolet vs. 2020 BMW Z4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The AMG C-Class Cabriolet has standard head airbag curtains for front and rear seats which act as a forgiving barrier between the driver and outboard passenger's upper bodies and the window and pillars. Combined with high-strength steel door beams and lower side airbags this system increases head protection in broadside collisions. The Z4 doesn't offer side airbag protection for the head.

The AMG C 43 Cabriolet has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Z4 doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The AMG C-Class Cabriolet offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Z4 only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the AMG C-Class Cabriolet and the Z4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available lane departure warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Mercedes AMG C-Class Cabriolet weighs 774 to 988 pounds more than the BMW Z4. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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There are over 10 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are BMW dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the AMG C-Class Cabriolet’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th.

Engine

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The AMG C-Class Cabriolet has more powerful engines than the Z4:

Horsepower

Torque

AMG C 43 Cabriolet 3.0 turbo V6

385 HP

384 lbs.-ft.

AMG C 63 Cabriolet 4.0 turbo V8

469 HP

479 lbs.-ft.

AMG C 63 S Cabriolet 4.0 turbo V8

503 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

Z4 sDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

255 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

Z4 M40i 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder

382 HP

368 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the AMG C 63 S Cabriolet 4.0 turbo V8 is faster than the Z4 sDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder:

AMG C-Class Cabriolet

Z4

Zero to 30 MPH

1.7 sec

1.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

3.9 sec

5.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

8.7 sec

13.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

4.3 sec

6.1 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

1.7 sec

3.3 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

2.3 sec

3.8 sec

Quarter Mile

12.2 sec

13.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

119 MPH

102 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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In heavy traffic or at stoplights the AMG C-Class Cabriolet’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Z4 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The AMG C-Class Cabriolet has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Z4 (17.4 vs. 13.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission and Drivetrain

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A nine-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Mercedes AMG C-Class Cabriolet, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Z4.

The AMG C-Class Cabriolet offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Z4 doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

All wheel drive, available in the AMG C-Class Cabriolet, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The BMW Z4 is not available with all wheel drive.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the AMG C-Class Cabriolet’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Z4:

AMG C 43 Cabriolet

AMG C 63 S Cabriolet

Z4 sDrive30i

Z4 M40i

Front Rotors

14.2 inches

15.8 inches

13 inches

13.7 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

14.2 inches

13 inches

13.6 inches

The AMG C-Class Cabriolet S offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The Z4 doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

Tires and Wheels

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The AMG C-Class Cabriolet’s optional 285/30R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Z4’s optional 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the AMG C 63 S Cabriolet offers optional 20-inch rear wheels. The Z4’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the AMG C-Class Cabriolet can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Z4 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The AMG C-Class Cabriolet’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Z4 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the AMG C-Class Cabriolet’s wheelbase is 14.6 inches longer than on the Z4 (111.8 inches vs. 97.2 inches).

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the AMG C 63 S Cabriolet is quieter than the Z4 sDrive30i:

AMG C-Class Cabriolet

Z4

At idle

48 dB

48 dB

Full-Throttle

78 dB

82 dB

70 MPH Cruising

70 dB

70 dB

Passenger Space

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/23

The AMG C-Class Cabriolet has standard seating for 4 passengers; the Z4 can only carry 2.

The AMG C-Class Cabriolet has 29.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Z4 (81.3 vs. 52).

Cargo Capacity

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The AMG C-Class Cabriolet’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Z4 doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 23% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.

Ergonomics

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The AMG C-Class Cabriolet’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Z4 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The AMG C-Class Cabriolet’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them, but the driver can still raise and lower all of them with the lock engaged. BMW does not offer a locking feature on the Z4’s standard power windows.

The AMG C-Class Cabriolet’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Z4’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the AMG C-Class Cabriolet has standard extendable sun visors. The Z4 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the AMG C-Class Cabriolet keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Z4 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The AMG C-Class Cabriolet’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Z4’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Model Availability

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The Mercedes AMG C-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the BMW Z4 isn’t available as a coupe or sedan.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/23

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes AMG C-Class Cabriolet, based on reliability, safety and performance. The BMW Z4 isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the AMG C-Class Cabriolet first among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Z4 isn’t in the top three.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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