The Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet is very comfortable and almost as quiet on the motorway as the Coupe, but it doesn’t feel as nimble on a twisty back road as most alternatives
The most affordable C-Class Cabriolet comes with a 1.5-litre petrol engine that’s boosted by a mild-hybrid system to deliver decent performance and reduced fuel economy. Mercedes claims it’ll return 44.1mpg, but you can expect to see a figure in the high thirties in normal driving conditions. This engine’s your best bet if you do lots of city driving, but it’s even impressively quiet at motorway speeds.
Speaking of motorways, if you lots of very long drives you’ll be better off with a C220d diesel model. This 194hp engine gives the C-Class Cabriolet enough poke to breeze past slow-moving traffic and it produces little more than a faint hum at 70mph. Mercedes claims it’ll return more than 56mpg, but 50mpg is a more achievable everyday figure.
The C-Class Cabriolet doesn’t feel particularly sporty to drive, but it’s all the better for it. Few other four-seat convertibles feel as relaxing to drive on a gentle top-down cruise
Unlike the C-Class saloon, you can’t get the C-Class Cabriolet in C300 petrol car, so if you’re after a sporty soft-top, your only option is to go for the twin-turbo V6 AMG C43 model with 390hp. This’ll accelerate from 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds – thanks to its grippy 4Matic four-wheel-drive system – but will struggle to return more than 25mpg.
Whichever engine you pick, you get a nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard that changes gears smoothly when you accelerate and doesn’t jerk at low speeds. It doesn’t respond to the paddles on the steering wheel quite as quickly as the automatic gearboxes you get in the A5 Cabriolet and 4 Series Convertible, but it’s still a significant improvement over the old C-Class Cabriolet’s seven-speed unit.
With the roof up, the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet feels just as relaxing to drive as the Coupe. The standard suspension irons out bumps impressively well and the optional air suspension softens the thud of even the most cavernous potholes.
AMG-Line versions feel a little firmer, but whichever trim you choose, you won’t hear much tyre noise at motorway speeds. In fact, the fabric roof does such a good job muting wind noise on the motorway that it’s barely any louder than the C-Class Coupe at 70mph.
Go for a Sport model, and the comfort-oriented suspension means the C-Class Cabriolet isn’t quite as much fun to drive on a tight twisty road as the BMW 4 Series Convertible, but it feels right at home at a relaxing cruise.
If you fancy taking advantage of an unexpected sunny spell, you can lower the roof in just 15 seconds at up to 31mph. Of course, you’ll hear more wind noise with it tucked away, but the combination of a wind barrier behind the front seats and Mercedes’ special Wind Cap spoiler on the windscreen means you’re well protected from unpleasant gusts – even on the motorway.
With the roof down, you get fantastic visibility to help you spot approaching traffic, but the rather small rear window and thick roof sections behind the passenger seats produce some significant blind spots with the roof up. Thankfully, the C-Class Cabriolet comes with a reversing camera as standard to help make it reasonably easy to park. You even get a self-parking system that’ll steer you into bay and parallel spaces automatically.
Also standard are cruise control and automatic emergency braking, but you have to pay extra for the Driver Assistance Pack if you fancy all the high-tech bells and whistles. This upgrade brings with it blind-spot detection, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control that’ll accelerate, brake and steer for you on motorways – so long as you keep your hands on the steering wheel.
All this high-tech kit helped the C-Class Cabriolet earn an impressive five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in the strict 2017 crash tests. As a result, it’s one of the safest soft-tops on sale.