Buying a convertible in sunny Singapore probably means the weather is less of a consideration and that styling is key to the decision-making process. The type of convertible roof also says something about the buyer – a rigid retractable top is more practical while the fabric hood spells classic.
But one model that can be considered both classic and practical is the Mercedes-Benz C300 Cabriolet. This compact convertible with a soft-top, especially in a contrasting colour, is eye-catching, while its ability to seat four adults and carry a fair amount of luggage makes it flexible too.
There are two petrol engine options -1.6 and 2.0 litres – with two variants of the latter, the C200 and C300.
Both have the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit but the C200 has 184 hp and 300 Nm. It accelerates from zero to 100 kmh in 7.8 seconds, before topping out at 233 kmh.
The C300, is decidedly brawnier, with 245 hp and 370 Nm. It accomplishes the century sprint in 6.4 seconds despite its 1,690 kg kerb weight, with a top speed of 250 kmh.
Even better, the C300 Cabriolet is equipped with a sports exhaust. When the Sport+ driving mode is engaged, a low growl and pop are emitted under hard acceleration.
This is obviously best enjoyed when the hood is down. And the C300 with the roof down is an extremely pleasant cruising experience – for all four occupants.
Those in the back get an electrically operated wind deflector that is sufficiently effective in reducing wind buffetting because it rises above the rear headrests.
Driver satisfaction is also high with the Cabriolet’s rigid structure that denies any trace of body flex.
In fact, with the roof up, this convertible is almost coupe-like, and only the traffic noise that occasionally permeates the cabin reminds you that this is not a fixed-roof model.
Also coupe-like is the handling. Agility Control suspension with selective damping system is part of the standard equipment.
In Comfort mode and riding on 18-inch wheels, the C300 Cabriolet reveals the legendary Mercedes qualities of ride comfort and build quality.
Sport+ firms up the suspension and improves body control but it doesn’t make the C300’s handling much sportier. The steering also becomes beefier but it isn’t more precise.
What is impressive though, is the high-end Burmester surround sound system, which is one of the reasons for the C300 Cabriolet’s S$38,000 premium over the C200 Cabriolet.
It ensures that this Mercedes-Benz convertible not only looks good but sounds great too.