Convertible of the Year 2017: Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet

The Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet is the 2017 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the Audi A3 Cabriolet and MINI Convertible commended

The Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet sets a new benchmark in the convertible class, with its luxurious cabin, superb refinement and stylish looks. It drives well, too, and its efficient range of engines means there’s no need to sacrifice fuel economy and emissions in this desirable drop-top.

With beautiful build quality, tidy dynamics and numerous specs and powertrains, the breadth of the range caters for fans looking for anything from a frugal drop-top to a more performance-focused AMG model. Standard kit includes 17-inch alloys, a reversing camera, LED lights and sat-nav, while the cabin is trimmed in Artico artificial leather – not that you’d know, as it’s just as sumptuous as the real thing.

The roof opens in 24 seconds and at up to 30mph, so C-Class Cabriolet owners can enjoy the unpredictable British summer to the full. Buffeting is minimised with the wind deflector in place, and if you’re prepared for a squeeze there is even enough space in the back for a couple of passengers.

Although the seats are very upright they’re no worse than in the Mercedes’ main rivals, while the 285-litre boot with the roof folded is still relatively generous for a car of this type. Leave the multi-layer fabric top in place, however, and the Cabriolet is nearly as refined as the C-Class Coupe. It remains quiet at motorway speeds, partly thanks to the slick-shifting nine-speed automatic gearbox that comes as standard on virtually all versions.

Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet - front

Engines span everything from the punchy yet frugal C 220 d diesel to the bi-turbo V8 AMG C 63. Many – including the V6-engined C 43 – come with 4MATIC all-wheel drive, too, providing unflappable grip in tricky conditions. Strong residuals and good-value service plans appeal, while the stylish looks and superb usability for a soft-top cement the Mercedes’ place at the top of the convertible class.

Our choice 

Mercedes C 220 d Cabriolet AMG Line (£42,510)

The C-Class Cabriolet offers effortless style, with the sportier AMG Line trim enhancing the car’s svelte lines even further. The 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel feels a bit old alongside newer, more refined rivals, but it’s punchy and efficient, while the Mercedes’ multi-layer fabric roof helps refinement. There’s an impressive level of standard kit, too. 

Commended

Audi A3 Cabriolet

Audi A3 Cabriolet - front

Audi offers a desirable alternative to the C-Class Cabriolet in the shape of its latest A5 drop-top, but it’s the smaller A3 that takes a commendation in our rundown of 2017’s top convertibles. It’s spacious, refined and well built, while its fun and frugal engines means it should be cheap to run as well.

MINI Convertible

MINI Convertible - front

Last year’s winner gets a commendation here, losing out to the top-notch Mercedes by the smallest of margins. The MINI Convertible is a great-value soft-top that matches driver fun with wind-in-the-hair thrills. It looks great, is infinitely customisable and there’s even room for four at a push.

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