Believe it or not, this is the first time Mercedes has lopped the roof off its venerable C-Class. This cabriolet version is based on the C-Class Coupe, but every panel from the A-Pillar back is different. The result is one of the best-looking four-seat convertibles on the market, backed up by strong engines and nicely judged dynamics. The cloth roof can be opened or closed in 20 seconds and its design is excellent.
How a convertible looks is often as important as it drives, and there’s no denying the C-Class Cabriolet is attractive. With the roof down, its high shoulder line and elegant rear end make it one of the best-looking four-seat convertibles you can buy right now.
- The roof. Aussie versions of the C-Class Cabriolet score a thicker version of the cloth roof as standard, which improves the cabin’s refinement and reduces unwanted wind noise. Even better is the open air refinement. There’s very little buffeting when you open the cabin to the elements, even at speeds beyond 120km/h
- Engines. There will be four petrol engines to choose from when the Cabriolet arrives Down Under in November, but the highlight is the turbocharged V8 in the range-topping Mercedes-AMG C63 S. It produces 375kW/700Nm which is enough to propel the C63 S from 0-100km/h in just 4.1 seconds. It sounds amazing too, with a menacing exhaust note that only gets better when you drop the roof.
- Typically, chopping the roof off a car is terrible for dynamics, but we’re happy to report the C-Class Cabriolet is a tidy handler. There is some flex in the body over big bumps and you do feel its extra weight during changes of direction and under braking, but these are hardly deal breakers.
- Cabriolet versions weigh around 125kg more than hardtop C-Classes and this negatively impacts everything from handling and acceleration to fuel economy.
- It costs more than the Coupe. Mercedes is yet to reveal official pricing, but expect a price rise of around $5000 over hardtop versions.
- It’s not as good for lugging stuff around. The cloth roof folds into a compartment that eats into the boot space, which has fallen to 360 litres with the roof up, and 285 with the roof down.
- The back seats aren’t exactly roomy either. The seats themselves are comfy enough, but taller passengers will brush their heads on the roof and struggle for knee room.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?
BMW has a convertible version of its BMW 4 Series which is a worthy rival, and Audi also offers its A5 with a cloth roof, however it will soon be replaced with an all-new model.