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RPM TV Website | January 21, 2022

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Drop-top Mercedes a C-Class first

Drop-top Mercedes a C-Class first
Deon Schoeman

It may be cold and miserable over much of South Africa right now, but it’s summer in Europe – a fine time, therefore, for the debut of the first cabriolet version of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class ever.

Based on the handsome C-Class Coupé which arrived in SA only a few weeks ago, the drop-top inherits the tin-top’s sculpted lines, bold grille and soft-edged rear. Of course the roof is the major distinguishing factor: a fabric hood that endows the newcomer with a touch of classic, retro-tinged style.

With the roof stowed out of sight, the C-Class Cabrio looks sleek and even sexy, although the rear haunches look a little heavyset. The car’s steeply raked windscreen, high shoulder line and carved flanks also become more apparent.

Under the skin, much has been done to ensure the newcomer’s dynamics and road manners haven’t been compromised by chopping off the roof. Significant chassis reinforcement means the open-topper feels as composed as the coupé, albeit at the cost of extra weight.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect is the cabin which not only offers seating for four, but delivers more space for rear occupants than the Coupé. And it has a boot to match, making cross country touring for four a viable prospect.

That fabric roof is a work of art in itself, with multiple layers promising effective insulation from noise and the elements when closed. It’s raised and lowered in less than 20 seconds at the push of a button, and can be operated at speeds of up to 50 km/h.

High tech ensures that the wind-in-the-hair experience isn’t too blustery with the top stowed. For instance, there’s Aircap – a deflector deployed from the windscreen frame to combat turbulence. For rear occupants, an electric draught barrier can be invoked at the push of a button.

As with the C-Class Coupé, the Cabriolet is offered in both Mercedes-Benz and high-performance Mercedes-AMG versions. And while Mercedes-Benz SA hasn’t released model line-up or pricing for the local market, the Coupé line provides some indication of what to expect.

Our guess is that the 125 kW C220d turbodiesel and the 180 kW C300 will comprise the ‘normal’ members of the drop-top range, while the AMG flag will be flown by the 270 kW Mercedes-AMG C43. Expect the even more boisterous C63 version to make an appearance later, though.

Pricing will be dearer than the tin-top models, suggesting an asking price of around R600k for the C200 Cabriolet. Local sales commence in late July.

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