£36,200 - £78,295 Price range
31 - 62 MPG
The Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet is the convertible version of the C-Class Coupe, and it inherits that car’s striking looks and exquisite cabin. Its main rivals are the Audi A5 Cabriolet and BMW 4 Series Convertible, both of which are a fair bit older than the Mercedes.
Thanks to innovative systems such as the Airscarf warm air vents behind the headrests and Aircap wind deflector, Mercedes reckons you can have the Cabriolet’s roof down all-year round. You’ll be happy to spend as much time in it as possible because the cabin is plush and very well built.
Fit it with the optional air suspension and the C-Class Convertible is one of the most relaxing four-seater drop-tops you can buy. The standard spring suspension is better if you want to have more fun behind the wheel – it offers a more connected driving experience – and the Mercedes’ stiff body shows no signs of flex during normal driving.
There are eight engines to choose from, but in general terms the C300 petrol and C250 diesel are the best at combining decent running costs and enough performance. Entry level petrol models get a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, whereas every other model gets an excellent nine-speed automatic – it’s the one we’d go for because it suits the car’s cruiser character.
The C-Class Cabriolet isn’t cheap, but unlike some rivals it’s decently kitted out from the factory. Bright LED headlights, sat-nav, parking sensors with a reversing camera and cruise control are standard even on entry-level Sport models.
The C-Class Cabriolet just oozes class inside the cabin. The dashboard design is simple and the excellent quality of plastics and leathers used turn it into a very comfortable place to sit.
From the 12 different leather upholstery combinations, through the various types of open-grain wood inserts to the fabric roof available in several colours – there are plenty of ways to make the C-Class Cabriolet yours.
The standard infotainment system gets a cheap-looking seven-inch Garmin sat-nav, so we suggest opting for the £2,895 Comand Online infotainment system, which comes with a sharper nine-inch screen and storage for your music. It also gets live traffic alerts and voice commands.
Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet passenger space
Depending on the model you can have artificial leather or leather that began life on a cow. However the artificial leather is just as good as the natural option, plus it saves a few lives in the process. The seats are sculpted to match the human body and offer a wide range of adjustment, being an absolute joy to lounge in as a result.
Things are not so good in the back, where those fantastic seats take up a lot of rear legroom and when you close the roof, the coupe roofline means adults of 5’7” will need to fold in two to fit.
Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet boot space
The C-Class Cabriolet has a smaller boot than the Coupe’s 400-litre space, which is already about 80 litres behind the C-Class Saloon. With the roof up you get 355 litres, but with the roof down space drops to 260 litres. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but you can still fit two hard suitcases and a couple of backpacks.
When the C-Class Coupe was being designed, engineers knew that there was going to be a Cabriolet version, so they beefed up the chassis accordingly. The result is incredible body rigidity which big convertibles can’t normally offer – this means the car doesn’t suffer from rattles on bumpy roads. The driving experience is further improved by quick and weighty steering, and a ride height that is 15mm lower than the saloon’s.
The C-Class can also be equipped with £895 air suspension. This gives you the option of several modes ranging from stiff (for spirited driving) to incredibly comfortable (for relaxed wafting) – if you value comfort, it’s an option well worth going for.
With the roof down there is a wind deflector that rises from the top of the windscreen, which pushes all the wind over the passenger compartment while the Airscarf heated headrest fans blow warm air down your neck. As one of the most aerodynamic cars in class, the C-Class Cabriolet is very quiet on the move with the roof up. All cars are rear-wheel drive as standard, bar the sporty AMG C 43, which gets 4Matic four-wheel drive to help get its power down on the road.
Mercedes offers the C-Class Cabriolet with a decent range of engines. We advise avoiding the basic petrol with the manual transmission because shifting gears yourself doesn’t really fit with the relaxed character of the car.
Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet petrol engines
Kicking off the range is a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine that makes 156hp. That tiny engine helps the C180 achieve fuel economy of 47mpg and the acceleration from 0-62mph is brisk at less than nine seconds. However, the entry-level diesel is just as quick and more frugal.
If you simply must have a petrol engine than we’d go for the C300 with its 245hp 2.0-litre unit. It’s as fast as you’re ever going to need (0-62mph in 6.7 seconds) and has similar running costs as the entry-level petrol, with fuel economy rated at 42mpg.
The other two petrols, the C200 and C250 are more of niche fillers, while the C400 is equipped with a 3.0-litre V6 that comes with a decent soundtrack.
For those after more performance there are two more petrol engines on offer which wear the AMG name and come in two flavours – the spicy AMG C43 with its V6 engine producing 367hp and the chilli-sauce-hot AMG C63 which comes with a twin-turbocharged V8 making 476hp (510hp in the AMG S model). Road tax on petrol engines ranges from £130 to £265 depending on engine power.
Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet diesel engines
Despite having two diesel engine options, they’re derived from the same engine – the ageing 2.1-litre that, in the new Mercedes E-Class, has already been replaced by a much quieter 2.0-litre version. In fairness the old engine is the quietest it has ever been and you only notice its unrefined nature at full throttle.
Out of the two options we’d go for the more powerful C250d. Rated at 204hp it has plenty of power for quick overtakes and the standard nine-speed auto works flawlessly. Achieving 61mpg, it offers the same fuel economy as the lower-powered C220d and both incur annual road tax of £30.
As in any premium car there is a huge list of optional extras, the most popular of which are grouped in packs. The Premium Plus pack, for example, brings ambient lighting and keyless ignition along with the Comand Online infotainment system and a powerful Burmester stereo for £2,895.
Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet Sport
LED headlights, artificial leather upholstery with heated front seats, ambient lighting, keyless entry, a DAB digital radio, reversing camera, sat-nav and automatic emergency braking are just a small part of the Sport model’s standard kit list.
Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet AMG Line
AMG Line cars bring a more aggressive look courtesy of AMG branded bodykit, larger 18-inch alloy wheels (up from 17 inches in the Sport), a fancier front grille and a stiffer suspension set-up. Inside, there’s an AMG branded flat-bottomed steering wheel and black roof lining.
With the Coupe version of the C-Class already receiving lots of praise from reviewers, this convertible model is just as good – and adds wind-in-the-hair thrills. It feels more special than the saloon and it’s closer than ever to the BMW 4 Series Convertible in terms of driving experience. The car that preceded it, the CLK, wasn’t an outright class-leader, but we reckon this one is.
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