Review: Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet (2016)
Fabric roof folds down in 20 seconds and works at up to 30mph. Very serene with the top down even at higher speeds. 220 d is economical and reasonably refined.
Firmer ride than coupe. Small boot.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet (2016): At A Glance
- New prices start from £36,950, brokers can source from £21,815
- Contract hire deals from £295.19 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 31–50
- On average it achieves 75% of the official MPG figure
If you want a stylish and slightly-posh-but-not-ridiculously-expensive convertible then chances are you're looking at one of these - a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet. While we don't like to get bogged down in talking about styling too much, we really think this is a looker.
Of course the others in the same premium price bracket are the BMW 4 Series Convertible and Audi A5 Cabriolet. Like the Audi, the Mercedes-Benz has a fabric hood rather than the metal folding roof of the BMW. The idea being that it saves weight and takes up less space when folded.
The roof smoothly folds down in around 20 seconds and usefully, works at speeds up to 30mph. So you can do all your showing off in traffic. Drop that hood down and the C-Class Cabriolet remains refined on the move with very little wind blowing through the cabin, even at higher speeds. It means you can have the roof down on longer journeys and not have to shout at whoever is next to you.
Mercedes-Benz describes it as a 'full four-seat convertible', but while you can get a child seat in the back, it's nothing more than cramped back there. But as a space to throw your bag or coat in, it's pretty handy.
The C-Class Convertible has a noticeably firmer ride than the Coupe, due to the stiffer body, something that's exacerbated on AMG Line models with lower sports suspension and larger wheels. That said, the C-Class Convertible is never uncomfortable, just not especially at home on poor road surfaces.
It handles well, thanks to a new steering system that feels more natural than previous Mercedes-Benz efforts and is responsive with a good weight. It's also available with 4Matic four-wheel drive which means extra traction - useful in the winter.
The engine line-up starts with the entry-level C 200 petrol but the most popular model is the C 220 d, powered by the same 2.1-litre diesel that's used across the Mercedes-Benz range. It's reasonably quiet, pulls strongly and offers decent economy - according to the official figures at least - with a claimed 60mpg plus.
There's very little to choose between the C-Class Cabriolet and the alternatives, all are incredibly good and you'd be happy to own any of them. For us, the C-Class just shades it as an all-rounder with a great blend of stylish looks, a quality finish and plenty of enjoyment from behind the wheel.
What does a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet (2016) cost?
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet (2016): What's It Like Inside?
With a fabric rather than metal folding roof, the C-Class will never be as quiet inside as the BMW 4 Series Convertible. But thanks to the fact it has a multi-layer acoustic soft-top it is very impressive when it comes to filtering out noise. It's also well insulated from the cold, something you'll be thankful of during the winter.
The hood itself comes in various colours - dark brown, dark blue, dark red or black, all no cost options so you can be as overt or as discrete as you fancy. Similarly there are several choices of coloured leather for the interior - our pictures show the rather vibrant red finish, which won't be to everyone's taste, but does go well with the red hood.
We're big fans of the C-Class interior and the Cabriolet echoes the saloon with the same design and high quality finish. That's not always been the case with Mercedes-Benz, but the current crop of models have not only the quality befitting of the famous German brand, but also the technology.
There's an excellent infotainment system and a slick rotary dial to control everything. The big screen in the centre of dash does look a little like someone has plonked an iPad there, but it has a high resolution display and it's easy to see, even in bright sunshine with the roof down.
The driving position is just what you'd expect, low down with lots of adjustment in the seat. The steering column could do with a little more reach movement for taller drivers, but that's a minor criticism. Mercedes-Benz has also finally ditched its antiquated foot-operated parking brake, replacing it with an electric one.
With the roof down, the C-Class Cabriolet is very impressive in terms of refinement. There's very little wind blowing round the cabin and even at higher speeds, it's serene and unruffled. It won't even ruin your new hairdo on the motorway.
While the C-Class Cabriolet does have rear seats, they're very tight for space, although you can get a forward facing car seat in there, so it's possible to be able to get the kids from A to B. But the small boot is a problem if you want to carry anything bulky. It's 360 litres in standard form but drop the roof and this is cut to 285 litres.
Standard equipment from launch:
Sport comes with a gloss black interior trim with aluminium inlays in the doors, 17-inch alloy wheels and a diamond grille with black-painted pins.
AMG Line includes black ash wood trim, an AMG steering wheel with flat bottom, brushed steel sports pedals and a black roof lining. The exterior features an AMG bodystyling kit, 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, a diamond grille with chrome pins and 15mm lowered sports suspension.
Child seats that fit a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet (2016)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet (2016) like to drive?
- Engines range from C 200 1.5 Automatic to AMG C 63 S
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 25–53 mpg
Given that the convertible version of the C-Class needs to be stiffer to compensate for the lack of a solid roof, it's perhaps no surprise that the ride is considerably firmer than the coupe.
Of course this is wheel and tyre dependant. Go for an AMG Line model and you'll get lowered sports suspension with 18-inch wheels as a minimum. With this combination, the ride is as stiff as you'd expect and certainly doesn't waft along, but that said, it's fine over most decent roads. However, you will find it bumps along on poor quality surfaces.
The steering in the C-Class Cabriolet is a new system but it doesn't quite have the weight of a BMW 4 Series Convertible. However, it's very precise and responsive, plus thanks to the rear-wheel drive (or four-wheel drive on 4Matic) set-up, the soft-top Merc corners with plenty of confidence. At high speeds the C-Class Cabriolet feels very stable and with the roof up it's very quiet too.
The cheapest C-Class Cabriolet is the C 200, a 2.0-litre petrol engine which offers smooth and decent progress, although we'd always suggest going for the automatic over the manual. Not only does it make the C-Class much nicer to drive, but it will also be easier to sell on the used market should you decided to part with it.
If you're not covering long distances and want the C-Class for its drop-top looks rather than outright performance, the C 200 will suit you perfectly. It's even reasonably economical, well officially at least, with a claimed figure of more than 45mpg for the manual.
If you want petrol but a bit more power there's the C 300, but despite the name it's actually the same 2.0-litre engine only with power boosted from 184PS to 245PS. If it's outright performance you want, then the AMG models are the ones to go for. The C 43 4Matic is new and uses a 3.0-litre V6 that should prove more than quick enough for most.
But the pinnacle of the range is the thunderous V8-powered C 63, although you are looking at new prices close to £70k. Still, with a 0-62mph time of just 4.1 seconds and all the noise to match that performance, it's a joy to drive. Albeit expensive to run.
If you want diesel power, there's the C 220 d or the C250 d - both powered by the same four-cylinder 2.2-litre diesel engine that's a mainstay of the Mercedes-Benz model range. It's not the quietest diesel around but excellent sound insulation means that's not an issue from behind the wheel. However, when you drop the roof, you're not greeted by the nicest of sounds.
But that aside, the C 220 d does have a lot going for it. In fact it suits the C-Cabriolet really well. It pulls strongly so you don't need to work it hard, making for a relaxed drive. Like the petrol, we'd avoid the manual and stick with the nine-speed automatic.
This may sound overly complex but the 9G-Tronic delivers very smooth upshifts and is rarely caught out when you put your foot down. It means there's always power there when you need it - and in the 220 d matters are helped by the 400Nm of torque.
The C 250 d has more power - 204PS compared to 170PS - and an extra 100Nm of torque, but you won't notice that much of a difference in every day driving. However, push the C-Class Convertible hard and that extra torque comes into effect, particularly when accelerating out of a slow corner. Economy is the same though at more than 60mpg. However if you want 4Matic it's only available with the 220 d engine, rather strangely.
|AMG C 43||29–34 mpg||4.8 s||190–223 g/km|
|AMG C 63||27 mpg||4.2 s||236 g/km|
|AMG C 63 AMG||32 mpg||4.2 s||208 g/km|
|AMG C 63 S||27–32 mpg||4.1 s||208–236 g/km|
|C 180||44 mpg||8.9 s||149 g/km|
|C 180 Automatic||44 mpg||8.9 s||149 g/km|
|C 200 1.5 4Matic Automatic||-||-||155 g/km|
|C 200 1.5 Automatic||44 mpg||8.5 s||145 g/km|
|C 200 2.0||46–47 mpg||8.2 s||136–139 g/km|
|C 200 2.0 Automatic||45–46 mpg||7.8 s||140–143 g/km|
|C 220 d 2.0 4Matic Automatic||54 mpg||7.8 s||136 g/km|
|C 220 d 2.0 Automatic||59 mpg||7.5 s||126 g/km|
|C 220 d 2.1||63 mpg||8.3 s||116–119 g/km|
|C 220 d 2.1 4Matic Automatic||29–57 mpg||4.8–8.1 s||130–223 g/km|
|C 220 d 2.1 Automatic||58–61 mpg||8.2 s||121–126 g/km|
|C 250 d 2.1 Automatic||58 mpg||7.2 s||126 g/km|
|C 250 d Automatic||58–61 mpg||7.2 s||121–123 g/km|
|C 300 Automatic||41–42 mpg||6.2–6.4 s||151–155 g/km|
|C 300 d Automatic||54 mpg||6.3 s||138 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet (2016)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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