This review comes to you fresh from Trieste, Italy, where we got a chance to lay our hands on the brand new Mercedes-Benz C Cabriolet and boy was a thoroughly enjoyable experience! Not! No, don't get me wrong, the car itself is a gem, but when you are driving a cabriolet, you would want to drive with the top down and pardon me for the cliché, but feel the wind in your hair. Well, the Italian rain Gods decided to spoil the fun by sending down cascades of rain on this gorgeous city off the coast of the Adriatic Sea. But I will cut out on the whining now and tell you about my first impressions of the new C Cabriolet.
Hey Good Lookin'!
The C-Class sedan is an elegant car in its own right. But once the engineers at Stuttgart decided to take the roof off and decrease the number of doors to two, you cannot help but take notice. What a good looking car! The lines on the body are clean and make the car look sporty yet elegant. That is key since the front end is similar to the sedan - barring the grille - which makes use of chrome pins rather than the two silver slats. The redesigned bumper is sportier than the one on the sedan. And the rear is totally different with sleeker tail-lamps, a re-styled bumper and a shorter boot.Overall, the cabriolet looks really neat and will easily be one of the best looking cars when it hits Indian shores towards the end of of the year.
The Cabrio's Cabin
As goes with all Mercedes-Benz cars, the interior is luxuriously appointed. Our test car had a classy dual-tone colour scheme of cranberry red and black which looked pretty good. The seats were comfortable and definitely sat lower than on the sedan. Well bolstered and supportive, you will be comfortable on the longer drives too. Make no mistake, the C300 Cabriolet is a 2+2, which means that it does have seats at the rear but for 'big' adults like me it gets a bit tight! The equipment list is similar to the sedan's.
Driver assistance systems, a Burmester audio system, COMAND infotainment control with a touchpad and much more. Mercedes-Benz's AIRCAP and AIRSCARF system ensure that you have a comfortable drive even in cold weather by deflecting the wind blast off the passenger space and blowing hot air on your neck respectively. That means the top can stay down even when it's chilly. The roof folds down in 20 seconds and can be operated at speeds of upto 50Km/h.
How Does It Drive?
The C-Class Cabriolet family has a total of eight petrol engines and two diesel engines to choose from internationally. But from what we gathered at the product briefing, the C300 is the one which will most likely make it to India, so we are glad that's what we got our hands on for this test. Getting the numbers out of the way, under the hood is a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged motor that churns out 245bhp at 5,500rpm and pumps out a solid 370Nm of torque from as low as 1,300rpm through to 4,000rpm. Mercedes-Benz claims that the C300 can do the 0-100Km/h sprint in 6.4 seconds and it has an electronically limited speed of 250Km/h.
(The C300 can do the 0-100Km/h sprint in 6.4 seconds)
The engine has a broad mid-range and can happily cruise at triple digit speeds without a hiccup. We might also add that the exhaust note was surprisingly delicious! And yet NVH levels are great - even with the top down, the amount of noise creeping inside the cabin was minimal. The 9G-TRONIC transmission unit makes light work of shifting through the gears and in case you want to take the matter into your own hands (erm, fingers) - by using the paddleshift. There's Dynamic Select that helps you choose from five driving modes suited to your needs. You can opt for Mercedes' 4Matic AWD system or stay with the standard RWD system on offer.
Our test cars were fitted with the optional AIRMATIC suspension and it definitely is a fitment worth paying the extra money for. An extremely balanced setup meant the car handled twists and bad roads with equal aplomb, something we found out on our drive across the border into the Slovenian countryside. Of course, the roads were well-paved but the bumps and potholes we went over, were hardly felt. The C300 Cabriolet handles well and reacts to the steering inputs with minimum fuss - although its AMG alter ego is leagues ahead in this regard.
So What Do We Think?
Of the 10 variants, this is the one that will in all probability make it to us in India - and we will be happy if it does. The C300 Cabriolet is a wonderful, well-rounded package that holds a lot of promise. But in a country where convertibles are not exactly popular, owing to the extreme weather conditions it will remain niche. On performance and practicality though, the C300 Cabriolet stands shoulder to shoulder with the sedan on most fronts.