Top-down cruising is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and now that it is summer and the weather is nice, we can’t help but dream of the convertible life. While plenty of options for convertible sports cars exist, the number of 4-seat luxury convertible cruisers is quickly dwindling. One of the best remaining though is the Mercedes-Benz C300 Cabriolet, which takes the already luxurious C300 luxury compact and removes the roof. The result is a car that’s perfect for simply taking advantage of 93-million miles of headroom available on a beautiful day.
The C300 Cabriolet starts at almost $53K and comes equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. This engine produces a respectable 255 hp and 273-lb-ft of torque, which is enough to whisk it to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. While that isn’t necessarily fast, it’s more than capable of making quick passes and providing an entertaining drive on winding back roads. Mercedes also includes adaptable driving modes for the C300 including Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual, but we recommend leaving it in Comfort as it best matches the character of the vehicle.
Like the standard C-Class, the C300 Cabriolet is incredibly well appointed. It comes standard with a beautiful interior trimmed with several options of MB Tex leatherette and wood trims, as well as luxuries like dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats with memory for the driver, and a 7-inch infotainment screen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. That is, of course, in addition to the main event: a power-folding soft top that folds up and down in 20 seconds at speeds less than 31 mph.
The best features offered with the C300 Cabriolet take the convertible experience to the next level. While top-down fun is usually reserved for the summer months, you often won’t get much use from a folding top during the winter months. Mercedes has sought to remedy that with the C300 Cabriolet by giving it standard heated seats and their AIRSCARF heating system that puts heaters in the front seats to blow warm air around your neck. Additionally, the optional AIRCAP feature allows you to tone down the wind in the cabin while driving with the top down, keeping things quiet and calm even on the highway. Together, these two features allow for comfortable driving in less-than-ideal temperatures, making sure you get your money’s worth for your convertible investment.
However, that’s just the beginning. The technology and luxury available for the C300 is limited only by your wallet, with a seemingly endless list of packages and options. Some of the more notable options include two leather seating packages, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, ambient LED lighting with 64 color choices, an upgraded Burmester sound system, a heads up display, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. You also have the ability to add a Parking Assist Package, a 360-degree camera, and rear cross traffic alert, as well as a Driver Assistance Package with a number of advanced features like adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go traffic functionality.
All in all, the Mercedes C300 Cabriolet is one of the most comfortable convertibles you can buy today. Even though it’s quite pricey, it’s only outmatched in refinement and comfort by its larger and more expensive E-Class and S-Class Cabriolet stablemates. That said, it genuinely feels like the only thing that separates the C300 Cabriolet from the E450 Cabriolet is its larger engine and bigger size, which mostly manifests in rear leg room. If you don’t need rear seats capable of comfortably fitting adults, the C300 Cabriolet looks like a real bargain.
It also doesn’t face much direct competition from its primary rivals. The BMW 430i Convertible and Audi A5 Cabriolet are supposed to be “sporty” but are still only equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces similar power and acceleration numbers to the C300 Cabriolet. This means the BMW and Audi are as quick as the Mercedes, but because they’ve emphasized vehicle dynamics, they aren’t nearly as comfortable. That’s what some people want, but Mercedes is the only company offering a comfort convertible at that price point and they’re doing it spectacularly.
Overall, there are few cars we would choose over the C300 Cabriolet for long distance top-down driving. If we lived somewhere that remained sunny for most of the year, we’d use it almost everyday. The C300 Cabriolet is a great convertible through and through, and in a world that sees manufacturers trying to constantly up the performance ante, it’s nice to see Mercedes offering an option that’s willing to sit back and smell the roses.