Can the cloth-top version of the C-Class deliver if you want style, comfort and a little bit of driving fun in one package?
Photos by Azfar Hashim
Previously if you wanted a C-Class with a roofless option, you have to look up towards the E-Class Cabriolet instead. Or the SLK.
And the problem with those two choices are, (a) the E-Class Cabriolet isn’t as youthful and might be mistaken as your mum’s car, while (b) the SLK is a strict two-seater which meant additional passengers have to be thrown into the boot.
Hence if you want something that truly reflects your age - yes I’m referring to you beings in your early 20s to mid 30s - you would have to look at the other Germans, namely the BMW 4 Series Convertible or Audi A5 Cabriolet.
Well perhaps Mercedes-Benz finally realized the issue at hand. Voila, meet the C-Class Cabriolet.
AIRCAP minimizes cabin turbulence when driving without the roof
And this car will potentially be a massive hit in its segment because it has the comfort which the 4 Series and A5 couldn’t quite deliver; after all, when you buy a convertible you want it to be the sort of car that won’t shatter your spine as the wind blows your hair. In default, you feel the chassis perfectly sorted for our road, even in the permanently bumpy KPE. 'Comfort' mode, yes, this is the one to select after a long day in the office (and sans the roof too) – the steering not overly assisted, the suspension giving the impression as though the car is gliding over every road imperfection.
The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine – paired to a 9-speed automatic transmission – which is good for 181 bhp and 300 Nm of torque may not sound like much, but in a surprising twist, it’s the best powerplant for this car. Power delivery, even from initial move off, is brisk and effortless despite its hefty 1,665 kg kerbweight; mind you, this C200 Cabriolet has a 140 kg weight disadvantage next to its Coupe equivalent.
You see, a cabriolet needn’t have too much power to be enjoyed. What we get from here is something that is, for no better words, just nice. Sometimes I do wonder what’s the whole point of a 911 Turbo Cabriolet, M6 Convertible and Mustang GT V8 Convertible; driving fast with the roof down in those cars causes cabin turbulence that could be quite painful to the ear (it could be age creeping up on me, I dunno) and spoils my hair which, on average, takes 15 minutes to set (the older I get, the more focus I pay on vanity).
Even across the revband, there is no way you’d find this car feeling breathless. You could feel a tinge of happiness, I mean sportiness, as you see the tachometer head up towards the 6,300 rpm redline; however one thing to note is how the engine note (pun intended, ha ha!) gets a tad coarse when pushed beyond the 4,500 rpm mark. Then again, you need to (a) drive without audio and air-cond, (b) have no passenger, (c) drive with the roof fixed and (d) have ears as sharp as a rat to notice this. In other words, Mercedes-Benz had put in a lot of effort to keep the cabin as quiet as a vault. I, on the other hand, was just being a nitpicker…
The average C200 Cabriolet driver might use this part of the car only one-fifth of their time behind the wheel, but hey, it’s good to have here still. In Sport+ mode, the entire car felt sharper and ready to be driven slightly harder than usual; sweeping corners can still be swallowed easily. As the turns get tighter though, you start experiencing the disadvantage of a fixed roof; it gets nervous and loses the sense of confidence its Coupe brethren delivered.
Interior wise, it remains hard to fault just like both the Sedan and Coupe. Cockpit is well appointed, the seats all hug snugly, the rear bench offers good legroom and you even get premium Burmester speaker system as standard. In terms of boot space, there’s 355-litres on offer when the roof is up, and 260-litres with it down.
So, if you want a well-appointed cabriolet that delivers quality, comfort and good amount of performance, you practically have nothing else to look at because the C200 Cabriolet has it all covered.
The almost $250k asking price does seem steep but most times, you do have to pay premium for quality.
Despite looking too upright, the rear seat's backrest is no where close to being uncomfortable
Roof up? Roof Down? AIRCAP up?