The 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet is an interesting beast – not quite a sportscar, but not quite a boulevard cruiser either – it straddles some sort of middle ground in a C-Class range that is now quite literally bursting at the seams.
If you ever thought about complaining that there are simply not enough C-Class variants in the Merc line-up, stop before you dig yourself a deep hole. There’s a C-Class for everyone – somethingMercedes-Benz probably wants.
At the recent local launch of the C-Class Cabriolet, we drove the C200 Cabriolet quite extensively, so we’re well placed to assess the entry point into the drop-top range. Despite the performance increase you’ll obviously access if you buy the C300 model, the C200 actually makes a lot of sense given this platform is by no means an outright sportscar.
MORE: 2017 C-Class Cabriolet pricing and specifications
Key standard C200 Cabriolet features include: AMG 18-inch alloy wheels, leather trim, LED intelligent lighting system, electric front seats with memory, and metallic paintwork.
Key standard C300 Cabriolet features include: AMG 19-inch alloy wheels, Burmeister surround sound system, COMAND Online, driver assistance package plus, and Keyless-Go.
For quick comparison, the C200 Cabriolet starts from $75,914 plus on-road costs, while the C300 Cabriolet starts from $83,314 plus on-road costs. You can see there isn’t a huge gulf between the two. Despite that, the smart money is on the C200 given this platform is more about cruising in style than with outright power. If power is more important to you, the C300 is the model you should look at.
Under the bonnet of the C200, there’s a 2.0-litre (1991cc specifically) four-cylinder direct injection, turbocharged engine. The compact four-cylinder generates 135kW and 300Nm, and uses an ADR-claimed 6.8L/100km. We averaged mid eights over our launch drive, held mostly over country roads. The C300 is powered by an engine of the same capacity, but in a more aggressive tune. As such, there’s 180kW and 370Nm on offer from the 2.0-litre with an ADR fuel claim of 7.2L/100km.
At start up, and city speeds, the C200’s engine note is whisper quiet. You won’t wake up the neighbours with an early start that’s for sure. I liked the overall refinement of the powertrain, which is evident right from start-up and the general drive experience around town is also quite premium.
The interior is, as we’ve experienced with all C-Class product recently, beautifully executed and the aerodynamics such that you can have a phone conversation clearly with the roof down over Bluetooth. With the roof up, there’s only the slightest hint of wind noise that enters the cabin at speed. And our base model transmitted very little road noise, no matter how rough the surface underneath our 18-inch AMG alloys .
There’s almost no buffeting or wind entering the cabin with the top down and the windows up either, making for relaxed topless cruising when you’re not in the mood for the full monty. Drop all four windows and there’s only a minor increase into the wind coming into the cabin, and it’s never uncomfortable. That feeling of insulation is enhanced by the seating position, which lets you drop yourself down into the cabin as much as you like.
The roof lowers and closes up to 60km/h (which we tested) and it’s fast enough not to be a pain too. It doesn’t make any unnerving whirring or clunking noises either, and once closed, the cabin is more hardtop-like than ragtop-like. In fact, the point needs to be made that with a soft top of this quality, you really don’t need the added complexity – and weight – of a hardtop mechanism. Maybe the retractable soft top isn’t dead just yet.