Designer fabric: new 2016 Mercedes C-class Cabriolet revealed at Geneva

Published: 29 February 2016

First convertible to use C-class name
 Weight-saving fabric soft-top
362bhp Mercedes-AMG C43 tops range 

Does Audi still have time to revise the styling of the forthcoming Mk2 A5 Cabrio? We only ask because Mercedes-Benz has just revealed its new C-class Cabriolet, and the Stuttgart drop-top looks seriously glam.

The new four-seater convertible, which is based on the C-class Coupe, was officially unveiled at the 2016 Geneva motor show this week and goes on sale later in summer.

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A fabric roof then, not a fancy metal hardtop?

Indeed; as our recent spy shots revealed, the new C-class Cabriolet keeps it under canvas with a fabric roof rather than a folding metal hardtop. This saves weight, which is good for efficiency, and it can fold away into a more compact space, which is good for luggage volume.

Roof down, a swooping rear deck covers the convertible top and shows off the C-class Coupe-influenced rear end; note the way the number plate recess is in the bumper, not the boot lid - a cue Mercedes reserves for its sexier models. Rollover protection is taken care of by pyrotechnic cartridges, which fire from behind the seats should the worst happen.

The electric motor-driven roof opens and closes in a little less than 20 seconds, and can do so while the car’s driving at more than 30mph. A black roof is standard but, depending on market, brown, blue and red are also available.

An electric draught stopper behind the rear seats raises via the press of a button, and can be substituted for a larger, manual folding draught stop as an option. Also available is ‘AirScarf’ neck heating, so you can pose all year round.

First in the new Cabriolet family: the go-faster C43

Mercedes has chosen to stir a little more excitement in the new convertible C-class range by launching with a performance model, the Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet with all-wheel drive and a 362bhp, 380lb ft 3.0-litre V6 turbo engine. It’ll sprint from 0-62mph in 4.8sec and has a top speed electronically limited to 155mph.

Just like the new AMG C43 Coupe, which is also making its debut at the 2016 Geneva show, the Cabrio gets a nine-speed automatic transmission, rear-biased ‘4Matic’ all-wheel drive and the same steering setup and dampers as the V8-powered AMG C63. It also gets a more aggressive bodykit and wheels, and lots of red stitching inside.

The current steel and aluminium C-class platform was designed to be decapitated right from the start, so it’s stiff enough to handle plenty of power. Like the C-class Coupe, it features plenty of aluminium, with the wings, bonnet and bootlid all made from alloy.

How about the rest of the range?

In Europe, there are six petrol engines – ranging from a 154bhp 1.6-litre four-pot (the C180 model) up to the C43’s 362bhp 3.0-litre V6. There are also two diesel options. The line-up looks like this:

Petrols:

  • C180: 4-cyl, 1595cc, 154bhp, 135g/km CO2, 8.9sec 0-62mph
  • C200: 4-cyl, 1991cc, 182bhp, 136g/km CO2 (163g/km with optional all-wheel drive), 8.2sec 0-62mph (8.0sec awd)
  • C250: 4-cyl, 1991cc, 208bhp, 140g/km CO2, 6.9sec 0-62mph 
  • C300: 4-cyl, 1991cc, 243bhp, 151g/km CO2, 6.4sec 0-62mph
  • C400 4Matic: V6, 2996cc, 330bhp, 181g/km CO2, 5.2sec 0-62mph
  • AMG C43 4Matic: V6, 2996cc, 362bhp, 190g/km CO2, 4.8sec 0-62mph

Diesels:

  • C220d: 4-cyl, 2143cc, 168bhp, 116g/km CO2, 8.3sec 0-62mph 
  • C250d: 4-cyl, 2143cc, 201bhp, 121g/km CO2 7.2sec 0-62mph 

A nine-speed automatic gearbox is an option across the range, while some other variants – including the C220d – will be available with the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. 

A bodykit-clad AMG Line trim is available, with angrier-looking bumpers, sills, chrome ‘diamond’ grille, 18in alloys, a flat-bottom steering wheel and aluminium pedals.

What else should I know about the new C-class Cabriolet?

There’s a useful 360 litres of boot space (or 285 litres with the roof down), and the rear seat backs fold down 50:50.

Like the Coupe the suspension’s a little lower than the saloon, by 15mm. Also helping the Cabrio look a little sportier, wheel size kicks off from 17 inches upwards.

Steel springs are standard, a firmer ‘sports’ springs and dampers are an option for speed merchants, or ‘Airmatic’ air suspension for comfort-seekers.

As per the C-class saloon and coupe, there’s plenty of tech on board. An autonomous emergency braking system, which can function at autobahn-friendly speeds of up to 124mph, lane-keeping steering (and braking) assist, parking assist and a 360 degree camera system.

Read more of CAR’s 2016 Geneva motor show coverage here

Click here for CAR’s A-Z guide to the 2016 Geneva motor show

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