What's the used Mercedes-Benz C-Class sports like?
Many people desire a convertible but also occasionally need four seats and a well-sized boot, so the likes of a dainty little two-seat roadster are out of the question. What they need is something like this Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet, a car clearly based on the solid and dependable coupé version but can be flung open to the elements at the touch of a button.
Underneath, the C-Class Cabriolet does indeed share the same set-up as the coupé model, which in turn has a different front suspension, a lower ride height and quicker steering than the regular C-Class saloon. The convertible model also offers the option of air suspension and, since that seems to noticeably improve ride quality, we think that’s well worth seeking out.
There are plenty of engine options, from the C200 and C300 petrols through the popular C220d and C250d diesels to the C43, C63 and C63 S high-performance AMG models. The C-Class is rear-wheel drive, although there is the option of four-wheel drive on some models and a standard feature on the C43.
There are two trim levels: Sport and AMG Line. Entry-level Sport includes 17in alloy wheels, LED headlights, faux-leather seats, keyless entry, climate control, heated and electrically adjustable front seats, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, swish ambient lighting, a wind deflector and an Airscarf system that blows warm air into the back of your neck, keeping you warm when you have the roof down, even on a cold day. AMG Line adds sports suspension, more direct steering and mainly cosmetic changes; you get more aggressive looks, bigger wheels and a sporty makeover for the interior, too.
On the road, the C200 and C300 petrol cars are reasonably brisk but, perhaps surprisingly, don’t feel much smoother than the diesel options. The entry-level C220d feels lively, whereas the C250d feels encouragingly quick. Both could be a little more refined, but the combination of performance and economy is difficult to beat. The ripsnorting AMG models all have fire in their belly, from the six-cylinder C43 to the twin-turbocharged V8 C63 and C63 S, the latter of which is exceedingly quick.
In the bends, Sport models offer delightful handling, but if anything the stiffer AMG Line cars are even better tied down and more fun. Needless to say, the AMG models are properly quick, with lots of grip as well as adjustable and pin-sharp handling. All models ride pretty well, from the softer lower-level models up to the fastest ones, although there is some thumping through the seats on poor surfaces, so it’s worth seeking out a car equipped with the optional air suspension, which adds another dimension to the ride quality.
Pleasingly, the C-Class Cabriolet feels solid in a way that few convertibles do, with little shake through the scuttle.
Inside is a truly special-looking interior, with plenty of leather. The driving position is excellent, being fully electrically adjustable. All the controls are easy to reach and the 7.0in screen, with sat-nav included, is mounted usefully high up on the dashboard. However, neither the standard infotainment nor the expensive Comand system upgrade, which offers more functions and an 8.4in screen, is as slick nor intuitive to use next to BMW’s iDrive.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, front space is excellent, but the two rear passengers will find the going a little tight. With the roof up, the boot’s a good size, although access is a little shallow; lowering the roof limits the available space.
Euro NCAP has awarded the C-Class Cabriolet a full five-star safety rating and scores in each category stand up well against rivals. Automatic emergency braking and a driver attention monitor are standard across the range, while an optional safety pack adds features such as blindspot monitoring and lane-keeping assistance.