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Geneva show: Benz lobs C-Class Cabriolet

Tops off for summer: Mercedes has unveiled the topless version of the C-Class family, which will arrive Down Under at the end of the year.

Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet blows its top, gains AMG C43 variant


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1 Mar 2016

MERCEDES-BENZ has revealed another member of the C-Class-based family, with the soft-top cabriolet rolling out at the Geneva motor show this week to join its sedan, coupe, wagon and GLC SUV brethren.

As expected, the C-Class Cabriolet shares many of its proportions, features and equipment with the C-Class Coupe that was revealed at the Frankfurt motor show last year, but among a handful of deviations, breaks from the tin-top tradition starting with a folding fabric roof.

Europe will first see the convertible C-Class in Mercedes showrooms in summer this year, but Australia will have to wait a little longer, with the first examples expected at the end of the year, just in time for the southern hemisphere summer.

In standard trim, the soft-top is supplied in basic black, but for extra cash, Mercedes will fit a multi-layer acoustic version for “significantly” reduced wind and driving noise, and in a choice of brown, blue, red or black.

The roof is said to be “based on the S-Class” and stows in less than 20 seconds while moving at speeds of up to 50km/h, and Mercedes is particularly proud of its compact design, which occupies only 75 litres of space, reducing boot volume from 350L to 285L when the roof is open.

Internal and external dimensions differ little from the coupe, with overall height rising 4mm, front headroom reduced by a negligible 4mm, while rear passengers get an extra 12mm of headroom.

A variety of optional comfort features accompany the cabriolet to make topless motoring a viable proposition whatever the elements should bring, including the German prestige car-maker’s Aircap system, which reduces felt draughts inside the cabin when the roof is open.

Mercedes’ Airscarf is also included as part of the ‘Comfort’ package, blowing heated air onto the neck of each front occupant. An additional folding draught stop can be installed behind the front seats to further reduce interior turbulence.

The slightly higher roofline and less aerodynamic fabric surface has increased the cabriolet’s drag coefficient over the coupe, rising from 0.26Cd to 0.28Cd, which is likely to affect fuel consumption and top-speed figures.

In many cases the removal of a solid roof panel can result in reduced body stiffness and undesirable handling traits, but Mercedes says this was taken into consideration for the C-Class Cabriolet, and the adaptation of the shell has “an exemplary stiff design” as well as lightweight construction.

In terms of powertrain and all other equipment, the cabriolet aligns largely with the coupe, including its seven engine and transmission combinations, of which only a selection is likely to make it Down Under.

The C180 opens the bidding with a 115kW/250Nm 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol, three 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinders are also on offer with a range of power outputs, while a pair of 2.1-litre C220d and C250d diesels complete the four-pot choices.

A 3.0-litre C400 V6 turbo petrol brings 245kW/480Nm for 0-100km/h acceleration in 5.2 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h.

For now, a Mercedes-AMG C43 variant tops the pack with a tuned-up version of the C400 V6 to produce 270kW and 520Nm, completing the 0-100km/h dash in 4.8 seconds and offering a 250km/h V-max.

In Europe, C220d, C400 and C43 versions will get 4Matic four-wheel-drive traction (optional for C200), but as has been the case with previous Mercedes models, Australia may only be offered rear-wheel drive.

Transmissions are automatic in all cases with the car-maker’s 9G-Tronic nine-speed unit available for all engines.

AirMatic air suspension is available as an option or standard when Dynamic Select is fitted, which offers the driver a number of switchable driving modes.

Safety gets a good look in with Mercedes’ comprehensive range of Attention Assist, Driving Assistance, Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Distronic Plus and Pre-Safe systems.

Comfort and entertainment is equally well catered for with optional Burmester sound system, an information screen that has a resolution of up to 960x540 pixels, Bluetooth connection which can provide internet access from a paired phone and a plethora of Mercedes and downloadable applications.

Go for the top spec C-Class Cabriolet and the AMG C43 will add AMG ride control sports suspension, rear-biased torque distribution, three-stage ESP (ESC), 360mm brake discs at the front with 320mm at the back, and synthetic suede and leather coverings for most surfaces including AMG sports seats.

On the outside AMG versions are identified by 18-inch wheels, larger air intakes, chrome-effect front splitter, gloss-black trims, AMG badging throughout and the option to upgrade to other wheel designs, including a 19-inch hoop.

A full-fat AMG C63 version is expected to join the cabriolet family at a later date, bringing the same potent turbocharged V8 that has already rolled out in sedan, coupe and wagon.

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