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Mercedes-Benz C200 Cabriolet: Confident, comfortable and convenient cabrio

By Ghaith Madadha - Dec 11,2017 - Last updated at Dec 11,2017

Photos courtesy of Mercedes

With five convertible models including a pair of two seat folding roof roadsters and three soft-top four seat saloon-based models, Mercedes has become a go-to brand for practical yet luxurious open top motoring. 

The smallest four-seat convertible the Stuttgart maker has to offer, the C-Class Cabriolet is a well-equipped, safe and highly useable drop top. Echoing its larger E- and S-Class Cabriolet sister models, the C-Class Cabriolet is not an outright sports car, but more of a comfortable yet capable grand tourer.

 

Head turner

 

Stylish, elegant and with the tri-star badge atop its bonnet, the C-Class Cabriolet proved something of a head-turner during test drive, garnering numerous positive glances and comments. Designed with smooth curves and edges, flowing lines and subtly muscular surfacing, the C-Cabriolet’s fascia features a broad and hungry grille with a concave studded mesh background and a large metallic emblem. Big deep side intakes lend the C-Class Cabriolet more assertive presence, while its sweptback headlights feature an LED strip that trails off towards a side character line extanding across the flanks.

Bearing resemblance to Mercedes’ other four-seat drop tops, the C-Class Cabriolet has an elegantly smooth appeal to its design, with its electrically folding fabric roof stowing away behind the rear seats and into the boot for an elegantly flush waistline. Despite a smaller boot lid, the Cabriolet’s full luggage volume is comparable to the C-Class Coupe. However, with the roof folded down, luggage volume is reduced from 360-litres to a still very useful 285-litres, while rear headroom is marginally improved, albeit along with reduced shoulder room.

 

Smooth and responsive

 

Owing to its roof folding mechanism and the extensive bracing and reinforcement to compensate for the expected loss of structural rigidity in the absence of a fixed roof, the C-Class Cabriolet is some 140kg heavier than the corresponding version. Though heavier than the Coupe version, the turbocharged 2-litre, four-cylinder C200 Cabriolet, as driven, is only marginally slower in acceleration and maximum speed than the C200 Coupe, but its performance provides brisk capabilities that are well-suited to its more relaxed but still mildly sporting character and dynamic abilities.

The second to entry-level model in the range, the C200 Cabriolet develops 181BHP at 5500rpm and 221lb/ft torque 1200-4000rpm. Driving the rear wheels, the C200 Cabriolet accelerates through 0-100km/h in 7.8-seconds, attains 233km/h, and returns efficient 6.2l/100km combined cycle fuel efficiency. 

Slick and smooth, Mercedes’ new 9-speed automatic is much improved on the previous 7-speed. With better responsiveness and a broader range of ratio, and well-mated to a versatile engine, improves responsiveness from standstill, enhances mid-range flexibility and provides for low rev high speed refinement and efficiency.

 

Confident and comfortable

 

With faint four-cylinder chatter at idle, the E200 is smooth and quick-spooling off the line. Settling into a generous and wide maximum torque mid-range, the C200 Cabriolet makes confident on the move progress. Best exploited in its mid-range in town and on highway, the C200 Cabriolet also revs smoothly and eagerly when driving through snaking switchbacks or winding hill climbs. 

Confident, consistent and as quick as it needs to be to be enjoyable the C200 Cabriolet’s 2-litre engine — in a more aggressive state of tune — also powers 208BHP and 242BHP C250 and C300 Cabriolet versions.

Stable, planted and refined inside, even with a fabric roof, the C200 Cabriolet is consummate grand tourer, happily, confidently and comfortably crunching long distances. Like Mercedes’ other convertible offerings, the C200 Cabriolet is particularly well suited for topless winter and night-time driving, with a subtle windshield top deflector directing wind away from the cabin. 

Meanwhile, a combination of a powerful heater, toasty heated seats and seat back neck height Airscarf hot air vents provide a warmer environment for the driver and passengers even with the top open and exposed to the elements.

 

wSupportive and sporty

 

Comfortable and confident on the highway, the C200 Cabriolet rides somewhat on the firm side, especially through corners, where taut body control keeps it flat and poised. However, it is also adequately comfortable in the city, with its variable dampers taking the edge off sharper lumps, bumps and road imperfections, despite its staggered low profile 225/40R19 front and 245/35R19 rear tyres. 

Adequately accommodating four adults inside, the practical C200 Cabriolet’s front seats are however spacious and supportive, with an ergonomic, highly adjustable driving position that lends itself to confident driving. 

Meanwhile cabin ambiance is welcoming and elegantly sporty, with plenty of convenience and quality materials.

Though not an outright sports coupe like stiffer and more focused Mercedes-AMG variants of its Coupe sister model, the C200 Cabriolet is adept through corners, with quick and precise steering, and tidy and crisp turn-in. 

 

An intuitive drive, it is eager entering corners, and flat and balanced throughout. It is, however, set-up to be slightly on the tail happy side, and in Sport+ driving mode allows one some leeway before its electronic stability controls intervene. More rewarding when driven briskly yet smoothly and with well-timed and progressive throttle input, one does not have to rely on the electronics to keep the rear tyres dug into the ground.

 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Engine: 2-litre, turbocharged, in-line 4-cylinders

Bore x stroke: 83 x 92mm

Compression ratio: 9.8:1

Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, variable timing, direct injection

Gearbox: 9-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive

Ratios: 1st 5.35; 2nd 3.24; 3rd 2.25; 4th 1.64; 5th 1.21; 6th 1.0; 7th 0.86; 8th 0.72; 9th 0.6

Reverse / final drive ratios: 4.8 / 3.07

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 181 (184) [135] @5500rpm

Specific power: 90.9BHP/litre

Power-to-weight: 108.7BHP/tonne

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 221 (300) @1200-4000rpm

Specific torque: 150.6Nm/litre

Torque-to-weight: 180.1Nm/tonne

0-100km/h: 7.8-seconds

Top speed: 233km/h

Fuel consumption, combined: 6.2-6.6-litres/100km 

CO2 emissions, combined: 140-150g/km

Fuel capacity: 66-litres

Length: 4686mm

Width: 1810mm

Height: 1409mm

Wheelbase: 2840mm

Track, F/R: 1563 / 1546

Overhangs, F/R: 790 / 1056mm

Aerodynamic drag co-efficiency: 0.28

Headroom, F/R: 1021 / 914mm

Shoulder width, F/R: 1392 / 1214mm

Luggage volume min/max (without spare tyre): 285-360-litres

Kerb weight: 1665kg

Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion

Turning Circle: 11.22-meters

Suspension: Multi-link, variable damping

Brakes: Ventilated discs / discs

Tyres, F/R: 255/40R19 / 245/35R19 (optional)

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