► Mercedes C-class Cabrio review
► Diesel tested in AMG Line trim
► Priced at £44,055
If you’re after a Mercedes C-class, you’re well catered for. Merc’s evergreen mid-size premium model can be had in saloon, estate, coupe or convertible format, and there are even AMG C43 or C63 versions for those with tyre-frying performance in mind.
We’re testing the Cabriolet model here, specifically the base diesel version. This car is in 220d AMG Line guise, which can be yours from £39,285 although our optioned-up car weighed in at £44,055 as tested.
Ah yes, the perennial Mercedes diesel…
Yes, it’s the 2.1-litre diesel engine that feels like it’s been in almost every small and mid-size Merc since the invention of the wheel itself. You probably already know the 220d’s specs by now but we’ll rattle them off anyway: it’s a 2.1-litre diesel with 168bhp and 295lb ft of torque which can launch the C-Cab to 62mph in 8.1 seconds and on to 140mph.
Give the accelerator a prod and you’re treated to smooth (if not entirely swift) acceleration from said diesel engine. AMG Line cars get ‘Agility Control’ sports suspension, but even with it applied, the C-Cab’s ride is well damped. The 18-inch AMG Line wheels do throw up some sharp pothole-related irritations into the cabin, though, and there’s some flex and wobble with the roof down.
This engine is also the one that almost every review calls ‘gruff’, ‘noisy’ and/or ‘unrefined’. Unfortunately, it’s no different in our C-class Cabrio – in fact, it’s din is exposed further when the roof is down, which sort of takes the edge off the glamour of driving a wafty drop-top. Thankfully, Merc’s next-generation 4cyl diesel (first previewed on the latest E-Class) will slowly trickle into the rest of the range.
We drove this car back-to-back against an Audi A5 Cabriolet with the 187bhp TDI diesel; naturally the A5 engine’s extra power made it feel more flexible than the C-Cab’s, but engine noise was far more muted in the Audi. The A5 felt sharper to drive, too.
What does AMG Line get you?
Mainly a body kit inspired by the full-fat AMG cars and five-spoke alloy wheels as standard outside, and a few tasty AMG-badged details inside. AMG Line cars also feature the aforementioned sports suspension system, which lowers the car by 15mm, a sportier power steering setup, all-round parking sensors, sat-nav and a reversing camera. Merc’s Airscarf neck heater and Aircap wind deflector are standard, too.
Our car was finished in Selenite grey with a contrasting red fabric roof and red leather interior (not pictured), which certainly looked the part.
It was also fitted with the optional Driving Assistance Pack, which throws in adaptive cruise with steering assist (a camera-based lane-keeping aid), blind spot monitoring and a host of other safety tech, and the Premium Plus pack throws in a Burmester sound system and Mercedes Comand Online (various internet-based services including real-time traffic updates).
The seats are well-bolstered and comfortable and the swooping dashboard looked elegant with black wood panelling trim in this particular car. We can’t help but feel that the interior will date quicker than that of an A5, though, and the infotainment system’s many submenus and glued-on-iPad-like setup feels a little low-rent.
Can you use this car every day?
It’ll be a stretch. You’ll have to forego regular trips to Swedish furniture shops but it is a genuine four-seater. The rear seats are usable even for basketball players, and the Aircap wind deflector does a great job of, well, deflecting the wind.
Still, fitting a child seat is a faff because of the restrictively small aperture available to clamber in through when the roof’s up and, with the roof down, the 285-litre boot is trumped by an A5 or 4-series.
Merc’s drop-top C-class caters perfectly for those seeking a smart-looking cruiser; it looks suitably sleek in practically any spec, with Merc’s imperious posing quality as standard. In AMG Line trim, the C220d is also cheaper than a comparative Audi A5 S line TDI or BMW 420d M Sport.
That diesel engine might attract those with particularly taut purse strings (leaving diesel fuel’s currently slightly shaky market standing aside for a moment), but let’s face it, that isn’t really what a convertible Mercedes is about. And when you start this one up a little bit of that glamour vanishes with every beat of its rattly engine note. Pick a smooth petrol, ideally the velvety AMG C43, for maximum posing points and a little more dynamic prowess.
Check out the rest of our Mercedes reviews here