Merc C-Class Cabriolet

To celebrate the winter 2016, Merc has launched two new cars. Both are convertibles with a fabric roof and both look hot. While the S Cabriolet costs a whopping 2.25 crore, there’s this, the C Gab, that’s far more affordable and offers every bit of the convertible experience. Is it any good? To begin with, the C Cab shares its underpinnings with the sedan, but is shorter in length and the chassis has been strengthened to make up for the missing metal roof.2017-mercedes-benz-c-class

It has just one door on each end, but if you push the front seats ahead and get in to the backseat, there’s actually adequate space for a decently built adult to be comfortable on a long drive.

The front seats, though, are tremendously spacious and a great place to be seated in. The dashboard layout is similar to that of the C sedan, and even the fit and finish is impeccable. There’s a small button on the centre console, which if you press, stows thereof away in the boot in 20 seconds. You can operate the fabric roof up to speeds of 50kph.

There’s also a neat touch in the form of an extendable windscreen behind the cabin. It reduces the turbulence in the cabin and at high speeds, makes sure your hair doesn’t look like it’s been hit by lightning. The C Cab’s face is the same as that of the sedan, but things start to change vividly as you approach the rear. Merc designers don’t really believe in sharp creases for the C-Class and the design is more on the lines of sober and classy. The tail-lights are completely different from the sedan, and have a bit of the S Cabriolet in them.

The intensity of the tail-lights varies depending on light conditions, and avoids blinding drivers tailing the C Cab. The headlamps, too, are LED and are smart in their own way, perfectly illuminating the road ahead. The colour of the roof is a contrast to the colour of the body, which looks nice and jazzy. Our test car with a white body gets a blue fabric roof. With the introduction of the topless C-Class, there’s also an introduction of a new engine for the C-Class family.

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Instruments are pretty standard fare if you’ve been in the sedan before

It’s a 2.0-litre four-pot turbo petrol. Yeah, the same one we’ve seen in the GLC. Here, it churns out 243bhp and 370Nm. That’s enough to smoke the rear wheels in case of a hurried start and makes the C Cab rather lively to drive. The spread of power and torque is even, and it puts out its max torque from just over idle engine speed, right up to 4,000rpm. The refinement levels are top notch and NVH levels are commendable too. The engine is mated to a nine-speed transmission that has one thing engraved in its DNA- more efficiency.

In normal mode, it hurries itself to get to the highest possible cog and get the revs down in a quest to push up the fuel efficiency figures. It is average with response, but not too sporty in nature. With 243 horses on tap, the C Cab does the 0-100kph sprint in 6.9 seconds. And if you ask about the top whack, it’s limited to 250kph. At those speeds, the air diffuser works its magic to keep all that wind out of the cabin to offer a pleasant drop-top experience. The C300 can do around 9.5km to a litre of fuel out on the highway, and in a mixed cycle of highway and city runs, it’ll do a7kpl. Apart from the C63 AMG, no other C-Class has been too sporty.

It’s always tried to maintain a balance between a comfortable, luxurious ride and sportiness. And to be honest, it hasn’t managed to offer either of it in abundance. The C Cab, too, isn’t very sporty. It doesn’t come with razor-sharp handling, there’s noticeable body roll and it gets a bit jittery if you push it hard into corners. The traction control system works overtime to keep things in check, and it does get a bit all over the place when you put in some spirited runs. The steering feel is nice, but we’d like a bit more feedback from it.

Audi A3 Cabriolet - smaller, cheaper and a bit less luxurious, but offers a similar soft-top convertible experience
Audi A3 Cabriolet – smaller, cheaper and a bit less luxurious, but offers a similar soft-top convertible experience

With the way the C300 is put together, it’s apparent that it’s made for a nice, pleasing cabriolet experience rather than a very sporty, athletic one. The suspension too, isn’t the fi nest in its game and there are a considerable number of thuds from the struts. The bump absorption is decent, too. T here’s nothing about the ride that you’ll complain too much about, nor is there anything worth applauding. Overall, the C Cabriolet offers a wind-in-the-hair experience to the folks who aren’t interested too much in driving pleasure and are keener on having a leisurely drive with only the sky over their head.

For that, Merc demands 60 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). While there’s no direct rival to the G Cabriolet in India, the closest one is the Audi A3. Yeah, it’s a bit smaller and a bit less luxurious, but aims at the same buyer. With the launch of the two cabriolets, Mercedes India now has a wide variety of drop-top buyers covered. The three convertibles, the S Cab, C Cab and the SLG, offer different experiences, and the C Cab does a good job of offering the right amount of comfort, luxury, style and is nice to drive if you aren’t too demanding about dynamics.

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