Grace and pace: The Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet

Somnath Chatterjee
Grace and pace: The Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet
The C-Class cabriolet is among the very best convertibles with a design that pays homage to the classic Mercedes convertibles of yesteryears

Convertibles are a lifestyle choice and the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet is all about the charms of open-top driving, reveling in the myriad sensations that it brings. But top-down it becomes the super comfortable and practical Mercedes that you’d love to drive to work every day

You may think that India is definitely not the right place to drive a convertible and there is enough evidence to support that, especially with our roads, traffic and pollution—but times are changing and the Indian car-buyer is slowly warming up to the idea of a convertible. Our road infrastructure is improving and more and more convertibles are being sold, but thanks to speed limits, there is no fun in buying a supercar which cannot be unleashed on our roads. But when it comes to a convertible, it is best to soak in on the unique automotive experience that driving the convertible envelops you with.

Convertibles then are a lifestyle choice and the C-Class cabriolet for example is among the very best of the breed with a design that pays homage to the classic Mercedes convertibles of yesteryears. The svelte proportions will catch your eye and attention to detail is quite beautiful especially how Mercedes has transformed the C-Class sedan into an elegant open-top cruiser. However it is the interiors that you get a glimpse of the craftsmanship involved and the lavish attention to detail. Mercedes has spared no expense and features like the Burmester audio system are truly music to our ears.

However why listen to music when you hear the soft pitter-patter of raindrops on the soft-top roof ? Better still, when you lower the roof, you get a whole surround sound experience of the world around you. With a 245 bhp four-cylinder petrol engine you could go fast and there is enough techno-wizardry to help you, should you do something silly, but that is not what the C-Class Cabriolet is all about. It is to fall prey to the charms of open-top driving and revel in the myriad sensations that it throws up. Top-down, it is remarkably quiet and you can even have a conversation with your co-passenger without having to raise your voice. Credit for this goes to the AirCap system which reduces turbulence.

When the AIRCAP switch is pressed, a wind louvre on the windscreen pops up and the draught-stop positioned behind the rear head restraints is extended upwards. This enlarges the curvature of the airflow over the passenger compartment. Air turbulence and the noise level can thus be reduced appreciably. The draught-stop is retracted or extended together with the wind louvre via a button on the centre console.

However if the heavens open up, all you need is a little flick of a switch and within 20 seconds the roof comes up and you can even do this while driving at speeds up-to 50 km/h. Roof-up it is even better and instead of a spine-crushing ride that you endure in a supercar, the C-Class Cabrio become just another Mercedes being comfortable and quiet. So yes, within seconds the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet changes its personality and that alone merits itself a space in our dream garage.

It is a car that you can enjoy on the weekends or late-nights with the top-down or simply drive to work with the roof in place which makes it a very practical car and renders all the disadvantages that we know of convertibles in India obsolete.

A Mercedes-Benz was always a part of the fleet of cars owned by our erstwhile Maharajas of India and similarly the new C-Class Cabriolet is a perfect fit for today’s royalty. It is a wonderful concoction of the old and new with a reminder that Mercedes is back at the top of the luxury car game.