Mercedes-Benz C220

4MATIC AMG Line

Cabriolet

Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet, front
Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet, front
Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet, front
Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet, side
Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet, rear
Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet, interior
Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet, interior

ALWAYS desirable, even when going through previously indifferent periods, Mercedes and its iconic three-pointed star remains something special.

That indifferent period has long gone and the Merc range includes a list of sleek saloons, estates and MPVs that are as desirable as they expensive.

Their convertibles have not always been to everyone's taste, the SLK, along with the likes of the Mazda MX-5 sometimes gaining the unwelcome tag of 'hairdressers' car'.

Harsh indeed, or just lucky hairdressers. The convertible, the first-ever open top C-Class, if you discount the CLK, could never be accused of that.

It is a bigger, robust machine, with superb styling, a host of high end equipment, and a fabric roof which can be folded away in 20 seconds, even at speeds of up to 30mph.

Although a four seater, there has to be a compromise but the UK has a huge thirst for convertibles, which given our weather, most would find strange. However, roof down driving can still be a pleasure in cold autumn and winter sunshine.

It's just a question of wrapping up well and enjoying the creature comforts that this kind of car offers.

Get the heater on full blast and if that's not enough the Aircap wind deflector and Airscarf, which sends warm air through the headrest, keeps occupants well insulated from the elements.

When multi-layered accoustic soft roof itself is raised, occupants are further protected from the outside world of noise and weather.

It does look special, a real headturner, sleek and sitting low to the ground with its sports suspension

The livery includes the AMG bodystyling kit, 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheel, diamond grille above large air scoops and stylish LED light clusters.

The sporty theme continues inside with smart, steel sports pedals, black ash wood trim and classy soft touch finish, black roof lining, flat-bottomed, multi-function steering wheel and ambient lighting.

The dash and switchgear are instantly recognisable Mercedes with the nine-speed automatic gearbox operated from a stalk on the steering column, while indicator and wiper are operated from a single stalk on the other side of the column.

All versions are well equipped and include as standard heated, powered leather sports seats, reversing camera, parking pilot with sensors and central touch screen.

The model driven here adds extras like Garmin Map Pilot navigation, adaptive cruise control.

The screen also controls functions like Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity as well as sound system.

The drive is lively rather than thrilling. This model, powered by a two-litre, 170bhp diesel unit can hit 60mph in a smidge over eight seconds, slipping effortlessly through nine-speed automatic gearbox.

Decent performance and economy at around the mid-50s mpg is what you would expect from this refined diesel.

Sporty, rather than stunning performance, but this car to me is more of a grand tourer. It is a very refined unit with little engine noise, although not all would agree, intruding into the cabin with either the roof up or down.

Handling is good. Modern day drop tops don't suffer the same body flex as in previous models thanks to strong more rigid material, so the car can be cornered with some comfort.

Push a bit to hard the raft of stability and traction programmes, plus the four wheel drive keep maximum rubber on the road.

There are different drive selectors from economy, to comfort through to sport and sport+ depending on what kind of driving experience you want.

Two front seat passengers have acres of space, but the rear two are only really suitable for children, or adults of a similar stature.

The boot is obviously compromised by having to accommodate the folding roof. So don't plan for more than a couple of small suitcases or a modest shopping load.

But it's not really about the practicality. It oozes street cred and doesn't half look good on the company car park.

FAST FACTS

Mercedes-Benz C220 4MATIC AMG Line Cabriolet

Price: £39,285

Mechanical: 170bhp, 2,143cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 9-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 140mph

0-62mph: 8.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 56.5

Insurance Group: 36

C02 emissions: 134g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles

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