2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet Revealed in C300, AMG C43 Guises

C300 arrives this summer, C43 this fall.

Following the reveal of the C300 and AMG C43 Coupe models, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet debuts at the Geneva auto show with the same powertrain and trim lineup. As expected based on a previous teaser, the C-Class Cabriolet will arrive in showrooms with a traditional soft top rather than a hefty retractable hard top.   

 

Mercedes-Benz calls this the first-ever C-Class-based cabriolet, which might raise the questions, "what took them so long?" and "what about the CLK-Class cabrio?" The latter question refers to a car that Mercedes adamantly maintained was based mostly on the E-Class, but with some C bits thrown in. As for the timing question, we can't explain why it took so long, just that Mercedes finally is following in lockstep with BMW with its 4 Series, and Audi with its A5 cabrios.

 

The Mercedes-Benz C300 retains its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, still making 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. It will be offered exclusively with the same nine-speed automatic transmission used in the C300 sedan and coupe, with a choice of rear-wheel drive or 4Matic all-wheel drive.

For a drop-top Benz with a little extra punch, there is also a 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet. The C43 carries on with its 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6, putting out 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque, offered with the same nine-speed. 4Matic all-wheel drive is standard. Despite the inherent extra weight of the convertible (exact curb weights have not yet been released), the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 sprints from 0-60 mph in just 4.7 seconds, compared to 4.6 seconds for the coupe.

 

Mercedes says cowl-shake countermeasures were taken with the design of the C-Class sedan. "This allowed [engineers] to adapt the bodyshell at the front end and on the floor to meet the particular needs of the cabriolet," the press release says, which we figure amounts to extra bracing in those parts of the bodyshell. The Cabriolet's weight was not known at press time. Like the coupe, the Cabriolet uses a lot of aluminum, including for the fenders, hood and trunk lid.

 

There's a fair list of standard goodies for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Cabriolet. It includes safety tech like blind-spot assist, collision prevention assist, and emergency automatic braking, as well as a rear-view camera, keyless start, and power heated front seats.

The soft top can be operated at speeds up to 31 mph, opening or closing in less than 20 seconds. It comes standard in black, but dark brown, dark blue, and dark red are also available. Adapted from the same design used for the larger S-Class Cabriolet, the top is said to cut down on ambient road and tire noise.

 

The C-Class Cabriolet comes standard with Airscarf neck-level heating and a manual folding wind blocker, although you can opt for Mercedes' Aircap system and its electric wind blocker. Additionally, the climate-control system automatically knows to send warmer air toward the steering wheel when the top is down, so your precious hands don't get chilly.

 

Like other Mercedes convertibles, the C-Class Cabriolet's rollover protection consists of two cartridges retracted behind the rear seat that fire using pyrotechnics in the event of a rollover - the convertible answer to curtain/roof airbags.

 

By now, listing all the high-tech in this new Merc ragtop seems a bit like it should be a long excerpt from some novel named "Car and Peace, Plus." The C-Class cabriolet seems like just the ticket for couples who want a cozy compact premium convertible, and who aren't able or willing to spend much larger sums on the much larger C-Class cabriolet. Even in C43 form, the new Benz ragtop doesn't come off as a hard-edged convertible version of a serious sport sedan, but rather, evokes a movie soundtrack song title repeated by this reporter much too often when writing about such cars: "Oh, to be alive and in a convertible."

 

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Cabriolet and C300 4Matic will arrive in showrooms toward the end of the summer. The Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet will follow in the fall. Pricing has not yet been announced, but expect it to start around $62,000.

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