The C-Class Cabriolet is just relaxing to travel in as the Coupe but a BMW 4 Series Convertible is more fun to drive
You can get the C-Class Cabriolet with two petrol and two diesel engines and as high-performance C43 and C63 versions tuned by AMG, Mercedes’ racing division.
Pick a C200 or a C300 petrol model if you don’t cover very many miles. Both are smoother than the diesel versions and quieter around town, too. Even the entry-level 184hp C200 model – that costs around £1,500 less than the most affordable diesel – feels pretty nippy and it’ll return around 40mpg.
C300 models with 245hp will sprint from 0-62mph in a fairly rapid 6.4 seconds – compared to the C200’s 8.2 seconds – but are a little thirstier as a result. With gentle use of the accelerator they’ll return around 35mpg.
Pick a diesel model if you regularly travel long distances. The 170hp C220d will return around 51mpg but rattles rather loudly when you accelerate hard. The more powerful C250d has performance more befitting of a Mercedes convertible – it’ll accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds – but sounds just as noisy and returns similar fuel economy.
Mercedes has done a fantastic job of making the C-Class Cabriolet nice and quiet with the roof up but it’s spoilt slightly by some rather rattly diesel engines
You can also get your C-Class Cabriolet as a rapid C43 or C63 model. These versions are powered by 367hp V6 and 476hp V8 petrol engines respectively and will both sprint from 0-62mph in less than five seconds. They’ll do just as good a job of emptying your wallet as they will messing up your hairdo, however – the fastest C63 model will set you back more than £70,000 and will struggle to return 25mpg.
Make sure you pick a model with an automatic gearbox. Both the seven and nine-speed versions are far smoother than the rather notchy manuals and suit the C-Class Cabriolet’s relaxed character very well indeed.
Mercedes has done an excellent job of making the Cabriolet just as comfortable and very nearly as quiet to drive as the Coupe.
It’ll cope with rutted British roads without shimmying or rattling like convertibles of old and – with the roof in place – it even does an impressive job of muting wind noise and tyre roar. There’s even a special spoiler (that Mercedes calls a Wind Cap) above the windscreen that works alongside a rear-mounted wind deflector to stop you being buffeted on the motorway.
The suspension fitted to entry-level Sport models is supple enough to absorb large bumps and potholes without feeling quite as firm as sportier AMG Line versions. Even better, however, is the optional £895 Airmatic air suspension system. It might sound expensive but it’s well worth saving up for – it’ll make the C-Class Cabriolet feel as comfortable as possible over fairly rough roads.
You can even raise or lower the fabric roof on the move – so long as you’re not driving at more than 31mph. It’ll only take around 15 seconds to tuck itself away so you can take advantage of even the briefest spots of sunshine.
All C-Class Cabriolets come with a reversing camera and a self-parking system – that’ll steer you into bay and parallel spaces automatically – as standard.
The optional £1,695 Driver Assistance Pack helps make long journeys as relaxing as possible. It not only comes with a bewildering array of safety kit – including Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Automatic Emergency Braking – but its active cruise control can essentially drive the car for you. It’ll accelerate, brake and steer automatically on the motorway and in heavy traffic around town – provided you keep your hands on the wheel.
All this advanced technology helped the standard C-Class score an impressive five-star Euro NCAP safety rating when it was tested back in 2014. Expect the Cabriolet to offer slightly less protection in extreme collisions than its hard-top siblings, however, and it’s worth noting that the test has been made much stricter since then.