The Geneva Motor Show sees the launch of the first compact convertible Mercedes since the CLK finished production in 2009. The new Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet looks much like a baby S-Class Cabriolet with modern yet elegant lines. It is a classic piece of Mercedes design, looking every inch a premium product.
Looking a bit deeper, the Cabriolet is based on the C-Class saloon but with many touches to provide an extra layer of exclusivity. There is the bejewelled ‘diamond’ radiator grille for a start, along with LED front and rear lights. The bonnet is longer and wheelbase shorter inline with the Coupe. The fully automatic soft-top can lower in 20 seconds and at speeds of up to 31 mph should you ever get caught at the lights.
The new Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet range starts with C180 and C220d in Europe while America will only get the more powerful options when the car goes on sale this summer. The 1.6 litre C180 may be the entry-level model but it still manages 156 horsepower and can reach 60mph in 8.9 seconds. Manual gearboxes come as standard in the smaller engined cars but the option box for the new 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission is well worth ticking. The fast and smooth 9-speed unit is highly efficient and should suit this car well, making gliding around town as effortless as the open road.
Some may be disappointed to find that the C43 AMG version has a miserly 3 litre V6 engine. Gone are the days when AMG Mercedes shoe-horns a big V8 into any space they can find, but it isn’t all bad news. As you might expect the C43 follows the trend of turbocharging, in fact it gets two and the resulting power output is 362 bhp. This along with the reduced weight over the front wheels results in sharper handling and an agile 0-60mph sprint time of just 4.8 seconds. In the AMG style the chassis is firmed up with adaptive suspension, shift times are cut to a fraction of a second and bigger brakes are fitted. 4Matic all-wheel drive provides the traction needed to keep you on the road even in poor weather.
Should your budget not run to the top of the range C43, then the C300 is no slouch. The 2 litre four cylinder engine is once again turbocharged to produce a healthy 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Enough to satisfy most drivers and road conditions. A C400 4MATIC sits just under the C43 within the range with a slightly lower powered version of the same V6 engine and is ideal for those looking for the luxury of a more comfortable ride along with the smooth power of the V6.
An optional acoustic roof adds further insulating layers and the option of different colour schemes. Based on the roof developed for the S-Class Cabriolet, the top cuts out ambient noise particularly at high speeds.
The new Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet goes on sale this summer and offers serious competition to rivals from BMW and Audi.