From £29,0358
Despite a lacklustre engine, the all-new Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet is a more cohesive package than BMW's closest rival

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The C-Class shares a lot of its looks with the new S-Class, furthering its desirability

Can our perennial runner-up in this class finally reach the top spot?

28 July 2016

What is it?

Despite the fact that the second-generation CLK was based on C-Class underpinnings, this is the first-ever convertible Mercedes to wear a C-Class badge. It completes a diverse line-up that includes saloon, estate and coupé models, and like them, it comes with a wide range of engine and trim packages.

Included in that line-up is the range-topping C 63 S Cabriolet. We tested it in southern Italy earlier this year, and for all that we loved about it, such as its immense performance and chiseled good looks, it’s not the car the majority of buyers will opt for. Instead, the model that's likely to keep the lights on at Mercedes HQ will be this smallest-engined Mercedes C 220 d Cabriolet, tested here in AMG Line trim.

Under the bonnet sits a twin-turbo 2.1-litre diesel that’s good for 168bhp and 295lb ft of torque. In the C 220 d Coupé we found it powerful enough for most situations, and combined with Mercedes’ new nine-speed automatic gearbox, it returns an impressive 68.9mpg.

Also like the coupé model, the cabriolet receives a new four-link front suspension set-up and an adapted version of the saloon’s multi-link arrangement at the rear. The downside is a 125kg weight penalty for the cabriolet, resulting from all the extra chassis strengthening to stop it flexing.

 

What's it like?

Unsurprisingly, with all that added weight to haul aorund, the cabriolet feels less composed than the coupé on tight and twisting country roads. The difference is less stark than you might first imagine, though.

There's a bit of body lean when you corner hard, but otherwise it feels stable and well balanced, with more intuitive weight build up through the steering than you get from a BMW 4 Series Convertible. Combined with a sharp front-end, the cabriolet is surprisingly adjustable on the limit, although the undefeatable traction-control system stops play a little too early for our liking.

You barely notice any scuttle shake, but around town and on this sports suspension, the C 220 d feels a bit lumpy at times. If you prefer something smoother, you might want to opt for the (£895) air suspension; we've tried it in the coupé and it smoothes out the ride a treat. The new nine-speed automatic gearbox also shifts gears seamlessly, making progress in stop-start traffic a breeze.

However, when you do eventually get the chance to put your foot down, the twin-turbo 2.1-litre diesel reveals itself as the weakest link of what is otherwise a refined package. With a 0-62mph time of 8.2 seconds, it’s certainly quick enough, but under load the motor sounds a bit coarse and unrefined. Factor in that the cabriolet weighs significantly more than the coupé, and we feel that the more powerful C 250 d would be a better choice.

Interior-wise, the cabin looks and feels more special than anything else in this class. Acres of wood, aluminium and leather line the dash, and the optional 13-speaker Burmester surround-sound system is one of the best stereos currently on the market.

However, from a practical perspective, the cabriolet is less convincing than the coupé. You still get plenty of space up front, but the addition of an electric roof significantly reduces the head room for rear occupants. Even at 5ft 9in, I struggled to sit upright, and the available leg room is notably worse than that in the BMW 4 Series Convertible.

Boot space has also been vastly reduced. With the roof upright, capacity is still a relatively acceptable 355 litres, but with the roof stowed, space decreases to just 260 litres. Granted, that’s still 40-litres more than the 4 Series, but in reality the boot is so shallow that you’ll have difficulty fitting in a medium-sized suitcase.

Should I buy one?

This may well be the first Mercedes cabriolet to wear the C-Class badge, but judging by its impressive all-round capabilities, we doubt it'll be the last. The C 220 d AMG Line ia more cohesive and complete package than its main rival, the BMW 4 Series Convertible.

Our only concern would be the price. Fully optioned-up, our press car came to an eye-watering £48,500, which if we’re honest, seems a lot for a C-Class with the basic diesel engine. However, choose your specification carefully, and you’ll end up with a truly brilliant all-rounder.  

Neil Winn

2016 Mercedes C 220 d AMG Line Cabriolet

Location Surrey; On sale Now; Price £41,575; Engine 4 cyls, 2143cc, twin-turbocharged, diesel; Power 168bhp at 3000-4200rpm; Torque 295lb ft at 1400-2800rpm; Gearbox 9-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1735kg; Top speed 144mph; 0-62mph 8.2sec; Economy 68.9mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 109g/km, 21% 

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Comments
7

28 July 2016
Nice interior but way too much chrome / metal. Can you imagine on a bright day with the top down. You'd feel like you're in Liberace's sun lounge!
Oracle

28 July 2016
Nice interior but way too much chrome / metal. Can you imagine on a bright day with the top down. You'd feel like you're in Liberace's sun lounge!
Oracle

28 July 2016
Every thing else looks great except for that horrible cheap looking display right in the middle of the dash. Why oh why Mercedes was that not neatly hidden away??? It looks straight from Lidl/Halfords!!

I agree a C 250D might offer a bit more power and fun that the 2.1 manages to make driving a coupe fun and relaxing.

TS7

28 July 2016
is also a 2.1. But I know what you mean!

29 July 2016
But if it were me paying that kind of money I'd buy a BMW M240I and tell the 2 in the back to get the bus :)

30 July 2016
The only thing worse than a four cylinder diesel would be a convertible four cylinder diesel. I don't want to drive a diesel, and I sure as hell don't want to listen to one.

30 July 2016
Would pretty much doubt the quality of engineering in a Mercedes ! There is barely any QC and the parts used are prettry cheap and prone to failures. I have a CLA 200 Sport which I purchased in Nov 2015. A defective suspension part has already been replaced, the defective reversing camera has been replaced, the inaccurate temperature meter has been fixed. And now the air-conditioning system has failed and needs replacement of another part, the navigation is nearly non-functional (can't search for any address and have to select a point on the map for destination). Even their own Service Centre is inaccurately marked at the other end of the city ( https://youtu.be/VKGJa1_JYfg) The wipers are an orchestra of sorts ( https://youtu.be/fgszZQ3V_54 ). The car has already made 4 trips to the dealership and in the process has been dented at the dealership, lost (swindled) my swiss military keychain. And all this with the car having been used only for less than 2500 kms. God know what else is coming up ! Beware buyers .. if you need more information about the specifics feel free to get in touch with me, have enough videos, photos, emails and call logs to show what this is all about. Can reach me on prashant@kbc.in. I posted this message on their FB page which was duly responded but never followed up. Subsequent posts from me about their quality of cars and reviews by independent agencies were removed by them to save their skins. The company is going down and rapidly.

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