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Words by Aninda Sardar
In a world of family faces where every car looks like a bigger (or smaller) version of the car next to it, the C-Class Cabriolet brings in a degree of freshness that is inherent to all convertibles. It is good looking in a way that exudes class more than sportiness. It’s proportions more elegant than edgy. Of course, should you see it head on the C looks exactly like any ordinary C Class but raise your eyes above the grille and you’ll know in a flash that this is not your everyday Merc, courtesy the black cloth of the fold down hood. And suddenly, it looks all different, and to be honest, somewhat special. Move to the side and the difference becomes starker thanks to the absence of the rear doors.
You see my first experience of being in a convertible being driven with its cloth top folded away goes back to almost 30 years ago. It was a fine January morning, I was five and in my uncle’s 1939 Austin Seven tourer. And I was hooked. The idea of being close to the environment in which I was traveling was something thrilling and it captured my childish imagination in a way that hasn’t left me till date. Naturally, when I was given the task of reviewing the C 300 Cabriolet, I was more than thrilled.
The C grabs your attention with its good looks. It’s wide haunches, and clean lines give it rather a stately appearance. The fact that the white of the body contrasting with the black of the roof only helped matters. Interiors, with the roof on, are as plush as you’d expect in a Merc. Any Merc. The only differences are the buttons on the central tunnel for opening and closing the roof and the rear door entry. Speaking of which, although getting into the rear seats isn’t the most convenient, for a convertible space at the rear isn’t all that bad. A couple of teenagers can fit in quite comfortably.
Power comes from a smooth running two-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 241bhp on tap and 370Nm of peak twist force. While those are important numbers to know, what is more significant to the overall character of a car is the way in which these are delivered to the wheels. In the case of the C 300 Cabriolet everything happens in one smooth arc. There is no sudden rush of power that catches you unaware. Instead the nine-speed auto channels all the grunt in one straight line. Now, that essentially means that the car is at ease pottering through towns as well as cruising on highways with overtakes accomplished by a harder jab of the right foot. Speaking of grunt, there’s plenty of it and will allow you to drive as spiritedly as you would want to on Indian roads.
The car’s handling characteristics is in tune with the rest of the package. Drive past a series of quick bends and you’ll be all too aware that this is no corner carving tool. It’ll hold its line and see you through the bend with a degree of confidence but won’t induce a manic grin with its dynamic abilities. What is great about this car is its ride quality. The suspension setup is such that it’ll absorb everything that our roads can throw at it. There’s just a hint of what’s under the road but nothing that remotely jars the senses.
The C 300 Cabriolet then is a car with a purpose. Rather, purposes. Purpose one, is that it’ll add a tremendous amount of colour and flair to your garage. Last but not the least, while it isn’t a corner carving dream, as a car for sunny Sunday drives or on crispy winter mornings there are few cars that can rival the charm of this convertible.