We drove the Mercedes 220d Cabriolet: beauty from Bremen…

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At the Geneva show last year, Mercedes launched the cabriolet version for its present C Class, and this harmonious looking open air four seater is produced at the Bremen plant, rounding off the Bremen-made C-Class family, so far including Saloon, Estate and Coupé. We drove the very efficient and quite powerful 4-cylinder diesel version, marrying frugality and economy with the opulent panache of open air driving, combined with the aura of luxury the brand for which the three-pointed star has become so famous for…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Driving a cabriolet in autumn and winter might be a little – literally – over the top, but then you have not experienced the sophistication and comfort of a Mercedes cabrio. Indeed, the Mercedes engineers have taken things a bit further by introducing  AIRCAP and AIRSCARF. We drove this Mercedes indeed more than often open in sunny cold days, and enjoyed the clever system to the full.

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Inconspicuously integrated into the roof frame, the electric AIRCAP draught stop system is coupled to an electric draught stop behind the rear seats, which reduces the interior turbulence also for the rear passengers at the press of a button.

AIRCAP comes as part of the Cabriolet Comfort package, which also includes AIRSCARF neck-level heating for the driver and front passenger. (see photo above) We truly found it impressive. The attention to detail goes really very far: with the soft top down, the climate control system adapts by, for example, blowing warmer air onto the driver’s hands on the steering wheel and deactivating the air recirculation function.

Creature comfort

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Besides keeping you warm, Mercedes seats and ergonomics make you feel really at home. An ideal seating position is quickly found, thanks to the electric adjustment via the seat symbols at the seat base, an easy and logical solution which should be adopted in every car, we would think.

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The classic dials smile at you, and all the levers and knobs are easy at hand. The centre console houses the round selector for navigation and infotainment, and we certainly enjoyed the sound system. Mercedes installed a so-called “Frontbass” system, which uses the space within the cross-member and side member in the body structure as a resonance chamber for the bass speakers. The sound system has a centrally placed slot for your CD’s and yes, we loved that…

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The rear seats are in the form of individual seats. Their backrests offer a through-loading feature, can be split 50:50 for high everyday practicality and can be completely folded down.

The soft top is based on the S-Class Cabriolet, and meets the same high quality standards in terms of durability and function.

Moreover, it opens and closes in less than 20 seconds up to a speed of 50 km/h. In terms of its shape and colour, the cover of the soft-top compartment is an integral part of the interior and is made of the same material as the beltline.

Quite frankly, when closed, the level of (sound) comfort and insulation is the same as a fixed head coupé. Our test car came with the acoustic soft top option, by the way.

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Mercedes comfort is of course also coming from a well balanced suspension. This open tourer has it all. The suspension on the Cabriolet, which is 15 millimetres lower in comparison with the Saloon, comes as standard with steel springs with a selective damping system. This lets you choose for example a more dynamic setting… An optional sports suspension with firmer springing and damping, including the Sports Direct-Steer system, makes for even more agile handling.

Driveline perfection

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The mechanical refinement is also one of the hallmarks of every Mercedes, and this 220d is no exception. The well known 120 kW/163 HP four cylinder 2143 cc engine is powerful and frugal, and quite well refined. It is pulling quite well with 400 Nm of torque, and is ideally matched to the 9 G-Tronic auto box. Yes, you read it well, 9 speeds, and this makes the combination ideal in any driving circumstance. Constant speed consumption is very low indeed, in real life, a fuel consumption between 5 and 6 litres is quite feasible. The manufacturer quotes 4,8 litres as the average, with performance to match. 0 to 100 kmh is slightly more than 8 seconds, and top speed is in the region of 230 kmh.

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We are totally smitten by the excellent Distronic cruise control system, one of the best in the industry, making long distance driving as well as low speed crawls on city boulevards effortless and pleasant.

Conclusion

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If you want a stylish, (very) well made four seater open tourer to be your four wheeled companion for years to come, you are well advised to take the route towards one of the showrooms of the oldest car manufacturer of the world, and slide behind the wheel of this 220d. We bet that this will be the beginning of a very long love affair, which will take you to many beautiful parts of this wide world… We certainly regretted to part from this Mercedes!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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