2020 Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet vs. 2020 BMW 4 Series Convertible

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The C-Class Cabriolet’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The C-Class Cabriolet has standard front and rear seat side-impact airbags and head airbags, which act as a forgiving barrier between the passengers and the door. Combined with high-strength steel door beams this system increases protection from broadside collisions. The 4 Series Convertible doesn't offer rear-seat side-impact airbags, only ones for front seat occupants.

The C-Class Cabriolet’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the C-Class Cabriolet and the 4 Series Convertible have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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There are over 10 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are BMW dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the C-Class Cabriolet’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th.

Engine

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The C-Class Cabriolet’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 7 more horsepower (255 vs. 248) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 258) than the 430i Convertible’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The C-Class Cabriolet has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the 4 Series Convertible (17.4 vs. 15.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the 4 Series Convertible.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the C-Class Cabriolet’s brake rotors are larger than those standard on the 4 Series Convertible:

C-Class

4 Series

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.3 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction and acceleration, the C-Class Cabriolet has larger rear tires than the 4 Series Convertible (245/40R18 vs. 225/45R18).

The C-Class Cabriolet’s standard 245/40R18 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 4 Series Convertible’s standard 45 series tires.

The C-Class Cabriolet offers an optional space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 4 Series Convertible, it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The C-Class Cabriolet’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the C-Class Cabriolet’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the 4 Series Convertible (111.8 inches vs. 110.6 inches).

For better maneuverability, the C 300 Cabriolet’s turning circle is .3 feet tighter than the 4 Series Convertible’s (36.8 feet vs. 37.1 feet). The C 300 Cabriolet’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the 4 Series Convertible xDrive’s (36.8 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

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The design of the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet amounts to more than styling. The C-Class Cabriolet has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .3 Cd. That is lower than the 4 Series Convertible (.3 to .31) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the C-Class Cabriolet get better fuel mileage.

The front grille of the C-Class Cabriolet uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Cargo Capacity

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The C-Class Cabriolet’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The 4 Series Convertible’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

With its convertible body style, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the C-Class offers cargo security. The 4 Series Convertible’s non-lockable folding seat defeats cargo security.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 23% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.

Ergonomics

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The C-Class Cabriolet has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the 4 Series Convertible, the C-Class Cabriolet offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The C-Class Cabriolet’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The C-Class Cabriolet’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The 4 Series Convertible has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the C-Class Cabriolet has standard extendable sun visors. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the C-Class Cabriolet keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The C-Class Cabriolet’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, stopping and changing direction automatically. The 4 Series Convertible’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the C-Class Cabriolet owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the C-Class Cabriolet will cost $310 to $1745 less than the 4 Series Convertible over a five-year period.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/19

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the C-Class Cabriolet first among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The 4 Series Convertible isn’t in the top three.

The Mercedes C-Class outsold the BMW 4 Series by over two to one during the 2019 model year.

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