Owning a convertible in this country makes very little sense and even less so when you consider the kind of climate we live in – punishing sunlight, oppressive heat and humidity with the viscosity of stale clam chowder. Smells like that, too, when you’re driving through specific locales with the top down. And yet.
For the right person, he’ll pry open the roof whenever possible. He’ll let in more of the city’s sights and sounds that spins a different sensory experience that no other fixed-roof vehicle can offer. In the countryside, you’ll see more greenery, hear sounds you’ve not heard in a while and may even pick up an insect or two along the way. There’s something inherently more entertaining about driving the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet than the Coupe.
It takes about 24 seconds to crack open the top, and you can do it on the move up to 50kph if you can’t find a place to pull over. Mostly, you’ll be doing that when you are halfway up the mountain, exchanging the heat of the blistering city for the coolness of the misty mountain. With an opened top, you can feel the temperature drop the higher you climb. There are three levels of driving glee on offer with the Mercedes-Benz C Class Cabriolet. You can have the 184hp/300Nm C 200 or the 211hp/350Nm C 250, but it is the C 300 variant that you want.
The C 300 does come with the most potent engine tune in the Cabriolet line-up at the time of writing; it is entirely possible to have a C43 and C63 version of the Cabriolet. In any case, the 2.0-litre mill is tweaked to hammer out 245bhp and 370Nm of torque. Paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission, the acceleration is quick enough to escape stares with the right dose of drama.
At its most spirited, the Cabriolet reaches 100kph from zero in just 6.4 seconds. It is this exact moment when light and unsecured things in the car start gaining altitude before launching itself out of the cabin. No roof, remember. Top speed is limited to 250kph, but you’ll have the top up long before then. Once the speed goes past the 110kph, conversations become shoutier, music becomes indiscernible, and hair-dos quickly become hair-don’ts.
You won’t mind the ruined hair and the muddled music much, especially when you’re scaling up a mountain by way of the twisting, curvy and tight back roads. The C 300 Cabriolet is equipped with sports suspension with firm spring and dampers, effectively lowering the car by 15mm when compared to the saloon counterparts. The stability afforded by the chassis is well exploited by the Sports Direct-Steer system that improves the Cabriolet’s handling agility.
So, it is capable of charging up the hill, but the Cabriolet is best driven with speeds sensible to the situation. It is during a relaxed drive that the Cabriolet’s design deflects wind from the cabin; conversations are clearer, hair is in place, and the Burmester sound system with Frontbass system turns any music into your driving theme song.
The interior appointments are typical of Mercedes-Benz – mostly wrapped in soft leather, accented with wood and metal – that suggests luxury and class. Slipping into the cabin will make you feel that you’ve arrived at a higher station in life, which should be the case if you’re going to get one.
By no means is the C 300 Cabriolet is priced for all. Even a portion of the society’s upper crust will get turned away by the RM418,803.33 price tag. The Coupe is cheaper, but it will never offer you the option to indulge in al fresco driving. For that, the Cabriolet becomes the better two-door C-Class that you can buy.
Specification: Mercedes-Benz C-Class C 300 Cabriolet
Engine 1991cc, Inline-4, turbocharged | Transmission 9G-Tronic automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive | Power / Torque 245bhp @ 5500rpm / 370Nm @ 1300-4000rpm | Performance 6.4s 0-100kph, 250kph max speed, 7.1-6.7l/100km, 161-151g/km CO2 | Price RM418,803.33 on-the-road without insurance (no GST) | Score 8/10