2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Convertible and AMG C 43 Convertible Unveiled Ahead of Geneva Auto Show
By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel
GENEVA - February 29, 2016: It is night in the Swiss town along Lac Leman, but quite some people are still busy. For many car manufacturers it is ‘media night’, the opportunity to present one or more cars or concepts to invited guests from the media before they will make their official world debut at the Geneva Auto Show tomorrow.
This time, I joined Mercedes-Benz, that took the wraps of the 2016 C-Class Cabriolet and AMG C 43 Cabrio models. Both convertibles were joined on stage by Tobias Moers, Mercedes-AMG’s Chairman of the Management Board. The sympathetic boss of the high-performance division talked about the technology of the youngest AMG-model and was happy to be able to look back to a very successful 2015 with nearly 69,000 units sold.
It is the first time the C-Class gets a convertible and with the AMG C 43, Mercedes hopes to attract the younger buyers who are looking at open air fun. As the topless model seats four, they can share the experience. And you may well expect a drive or a ride with the open C43 to be quite an experience. Under the hood sits the 3.0-liter V6 biturbo AMG engine, producing 270 kW/367 hp and 520 Nm/384 lb-ft. of torque. The power plant is teamed to the 9G-Tronic automatic transmission and the new model comes standard with AMG Performance 4Matic all-wheel drive. The regular C-Class Cabriolet comes standard with the ZF 6-speed manual and can be equipped with the 9G-Tronic as an option. There is a choice between two-wheel and four-wheel drive depending on the motorization.
After the official part of the evening, I spoke with Christian Früh, the C-Class’s development director. He said that the usual measures have been taken to strengthen the structure and the front axle for the roofless model. As the former C-class has no convertible, Mr. Früh can only compare the new model with the CLK: “this structure is some 8-10 per cent stiffer.”
But also with regard to aerodynamics, a lot of work has been accomplished, which resulted in a low Cd-value of 0.28. The chrome list topping the body all around the cabin, an integrated rear deflector are details, just like the new type of pyrotechnical rollover bars.
“The are similar to those of the new SL,” Mr. Früh said.
The convertible has new seats and, of course, the air scarves are integrated into the head rests for optimal comfort when needed. The latter have been improved for better heating energy and have 3 levels, so it is easy to get the right amount of warm air around the neck and head.
The Convertible comes standard with a black soft top that consists of 3 layers. Customers can order the so-called acoustic roof that reduces noises in the cabin when the top is closed. It also comes in different colors, also in black. According to mr. Früh the option will be reasonably priced at some 250 euro, “and it can also be executed in black.” The soft top can be opened in 18 seconds and closed in just one count more and while driving up to 50 km/h, or 31 mph.
The C-Class Cabriolet does not offer only seating for four, there is also reasonable trunk space to carry goods. Luggage space is efficiently laid out and measures 360 liter/12.7 cu.ft., which is 10 per cent less than in the Coupe. With the soft top folded there is still a volume of 280 liter/9.89 cu-ft.
It will not be long until we go to a sunny region for the first test drives in May. “But before that event, you will love the other model that we are going to present at the New York International Auto Show,” Mr. Moers said with a broad smile. He means the AMG C 63 Convertible with the V8 engine. Please stay tuned!