by Seán Creedon
For the second week in-a-row I am in a sports car. Two weeks back it was the Renault Megane RS, which was powerful and got a lot of attention because of the Volcanic Orange coloured version I drove. But maybe a cold January was a bit early in the year for last week’s test car, the Mercedes C200 Cabriolet.
It’s great to be able to leave the roof down in summer, provided the sun is shining. But in January the sound of hailstones on the soft roof can be a bit disconcerting.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class cabriolet has been treated to the same mid-life updates as the coupé, saloon and estate, with new engines and improved technology. This is a two-door model, but when I arrived home with the car there were a very unhappy faces as there are now fans of two-door cars in our family.
However, that little inconvenience was soon forgotten when my wife tried out the luxurious seats, which were very easy to access. The car is set fairly low and you just need to watch your head when getting in and out. And the front two seats fold down very easily for access to the back seat.
I thought my test car was black, but the official colour was Graphite Grey Metallic. The cream leather seats were gorgeous, but might be difficult to keep clean if you are ferrying children or messy adults.
However, the C-Class is not as spacious as the E-Class and leg space in the back is certainly tight. No pointed star on the bonnet, just the Mercedes badge and that impressive front grille will leave you in no doubt about that you are driving a Merc.
Having driven several Mercedes cars in recent years I was very familiar with the controls on the dash and steering wheel. As usual on the first day I kept going for the gear lever when I thought I needed the indicator switch. But after a few hours driving everything is familiar once again.
Leaving down the roof takes approximately 20 seconds and can be operated at speeds of up to 50km/h, but of course safer to use when stopped. However, accommodating the folding roof means that the space in the boot is restricted. So no room for a spare wheel, just that dreaded repair kit.
Prices start at €51,930, but when it all the optional extras were added the price of my automatic test car came to €62,141. However, as I always say you don’t have to go for ALL of those extras. Road tax is €390.
My test model came in a 1.5-litre petrol with 184 brake horse power. I found the engine was frugal. Now this is not a ‘boy-racer,’ but a classy car that would suit a couple, who may or may not have two young children.
It’s a really solid motor and so comfortable to travel in. I cannot say I got a tan in January, but on the plus side the soft top definitely didn’t leak.
It was gorgeous and my thoughts went back to that old Marianne Faithful song, ‘The Ballad of Lucy Jordan.’
“At the age of 37 she realised she’d never ride through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in her hair.”
Ah well it will have to Howth or Bray again this year.