Everything you see here is, at least on paper, wrong. It was a rainy day, which is not ideal for a track day, and it was a diesel car, which is not great. Also, the car is a convertible, which means it wasn’t dynamically and structurally ideal for a track day and also also, this is the C-Class Mercedes which means that this wasn’t even designed as a convertible from the start, it’s an adaption, which makes even less dynamic sense on a racetrack. Also also also, it wasn’t even a very powerful diesel, it’s the 220 BlueTEC with 168 hp coupled with the 9G-Tronic gearbox. Yet another element that didn’t really match the requirements of this scenario.
The 9G-Tronic is a wonderful automatic gearbox, it really is, it’s made by Mercedes themselves and, as the name suggests, has 9 gears. It is great for emissions and fuel consumption, but it’s overkill on a racetrack where 9 gears are, if you ask me, at least two more than you need.
At Mugello, where this track day was held, there were several cars available. For the track, we could choose from the GLC Coupe, the GLE Coupe, the E-Class and this C-Class Convertible, which is the one I picked specifically because it was a convertible. I actually wanted to put the top down but they wouldn’t let me for safety reasons.
Like most Mercedes models, the C-Class is available with about a trillion different options across the board. You can buy the saloon, the SW, the coupe or the convertible. You can have a diesel version, or petrol, or hybrid. Hold on because this might take some time: it’s available with 154, 168, 181, 201, 208 hp. Or 228, 241, 275, 328. Or 362. Or even 469 and 503 hp. It goes on but the list is so long and I don’t want to bore you. Obviously, just like ordering wine at in a restaurant, I had the second worst, the 168 hp model.
Driving a convertible diesel on a wet racetrack is a pointless experience, no surprise there, for several reasons. Mugello is a fast track and 168 hp is about half the power you actually need to enjoy it and nothing doing in the corners either because this is a just a big, slow cat.
These days, I feel like we’re overestimating the technical aspects of what we’re doing with cars while underestimating the recreational side. Just about any other Mercedes would’ve been a better choice in the rain but this, the big and slow C-Class Convertible, just felt… nice.
It was nice. We need to do -nice- more often.