The rise of the three-pointed star continues.
Both in fleet & retail Mercedes-Benz latest model range has been breaking all previous sales records. Beginning with the latest A-Class, the brands most recent product assault, notably with the C-Class & E-Class models, has seen more fleet customers than ever before choosing a Mercedes over a BMW or Audi.
As a somewhat shallow person, who is perhaps more interested in how a car looks rather than how it performs, both the current C-Class & E-Class models are to my eye anyway, by far the best looking versions of these models that the brand has ever built. It’s a taken that the more expensive Mercedes models, especially the S-Class Coupe’s, are always attractive to look at. What Mercedes has managed to achieve with it’s C-Class Coupe, is to make a mini S-Class Coupe at less than half the the S-Class’s price. They have even managed to duplicate this, with the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet, which arrived at CC&V for us to drive in November.
The C-Class Cabriolet lines up in the range alongside the C-Class saloon, Estate & Coupe. Based on the Coupe, the Cabriolet sits in the model range below the E-Class Cabriolet in the Mercedes convertible range. Offered in two specs, Sport or AMG, standard equipment includes alloy wheels, automatic parking, LED headlights, DAB, Bluetooth, SatNav & all-around parking sensors.
We were testing the popular 220d offering 168bhp coupled with emissions of 134g/km & a combined fuel economy of 56.5 mpg. The 2.1 diesel is also badged as a 250d & comes with more power, 201bhp. It’s more expensive but offers almost identical emissions & fuel economy plus a bit more punch.
First things first. Like the Coupe, the Cabriolet looks fantastic ! It’s combination of swooping lines, classic Mercedes front grille – the three- pointed star houses some of the sensors for the electronic driving aids- wrap around rear lights & snubby rear end, really make it stand out.
Our test model was finished in Selenite Grey metallic paint, with a dark red folding fabric roof, which further enhances the overall look of the Cabriolet. Above the Sport model, the AMG Line model adds an AMG bodykit, 18″ five-spoke alloy wheels, a diamond-finish grille & 15mm lowered sports suspension. Also, the soft-top can be ordered in a variety of contrasting colours for no extra cost. The roof opens or closes in 18.3 seconds & you can can do this at speeds of up to 37mph.
Inside it’s even better. Artico red leather heated seats, a black roof liner, black ash wood trim on the dashboard, silver steering wheel gear shift paddles, high-grade plastics & excellent fit & finish, really make the cabin a splendid place to be. In the centre-top of the dash sits the tablet-style infotainment screen, controlled via the Comand wheel ahead of the central armrest. The Cabriolet also has a bank of three switches behind the armrest, which control the roof, Aircap and four-electric window switches.
Aircap is the manufacturer’s name for the wind deflectors on top of the windscreen header rail & behind the back seats. It’s fitted as standard on the Cabriolet. Unfortunately, as we were driving the car in November we only had the opportunity to lower the roof once.
We drive along the M56 at 70mph & can confirm that with the roof down, front passengers will not notice the usual rag-top buffeting & associated noise. The Airscarf neck heater, which is also included, adds a bit of extra warmth. More importantly for me was that when the roof was in place, the cabin was amazingly quiet. Mercedes have managed to design a Cabriolet that’s almost as quiet to sit in at speed as the Coupe, which is no mean feat.
It also handles well. Despite being almost 125kg heavier than the Coupe, it’s low centre of gravity, lowered sports-suspension & 18′ wheels make for fun driving, especially along country lanes. The Cabriolet hugs the road nicely & the 7-speed the auto-gearbox makes driving very relaxing.
With a maximum torque of 400Nm, the lowest powered 2.1 unit will accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds going on to reach a top speed of 140mph, so it’s no slouch either. It rained a lot in November, so we were thankful for Mercedes 4MATIC all-wheel drive system fitted to the Cabriolet, which made driving in the wet an awful lot easier.
Standard equipment on the C-Class Cabriolet also includes a seat memory package, reversing camera, keyless entry & start, Garmin Map Pilot, active parking assist, LED headlights, ambient lighting, Bluetooth & DAB radio. We utilised the infotainment system for SatNav, which worked really well, as well as for Bluetooth, connecting my iPhone was simple as was making & receiving hands-free calls & to listen to my favourite DAB radio stations.
Safety is paramount on the Coupe, coming as it does with seven airbags, adaptive brake lights, active brake assist, tiredness recognition, city braking & rollover protection.
The cabin itself, especially up front is spacious, in fact it offers the same amount of space as on offer in the Coupe. There are only four seats though, not five as found in the Coupe.
Choosing the Cab over the Coupe, means that the folding roof both reduces boot space, down to 260 litres from 480 litres in the Coupe with the roof down & rear passenger headroom. It’s also slightly more difficult it get things in & out of than the Coupe as well. Even with the roof up, the narrow boot shape on offer means that you won’t get any large or even medium suitcases in it.
Our test car was fitted with the Premium Plus Package, which gives you Burmester surround sound system & Comand online system for £1,300, as well as the Driving Assistance Package, which offers active blind spot & lane keeping assist, BAS plus with cross-traffic assist, distronic plus with steering assist, pre-safe brake with pedestrian detection & pre-safe plus, all for £1,685. The aforementioned red leather, Selenite paint & 360 degree camera add another £1,775 to the asking price of the Cabriolet, the basic price of which is £39,285.
Previously, I have had to be convinced that Mercedes-Benz makes really good A, C & E Class models. The S-Class, SUV’s & performance cars have always impressed me, but now the fleet-friendly models are impressing me as well. The quality that this latest C-Class Cab offers, which is replicated in the Coupe version, will make Mercedes customers happy & will make BMW & Saudi nervous.
Perhaps the Cabriolet finished in metallic grey with a red roof will be a little bit ‘ in your face,’ for some, a bit like some Premier Leagre players hairstyles, but that’s not a good not to buy one. I liked it & I’m already missing it, which I genuinely don’t say about many cars that I drive.
A Paul Pogba 4/5.