Road Test: Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet
The E-Class Cabriolet is Mercedes' mid-range luxury convertible, sitting below the S-Class cabriolet and above the C-Class Cabriolet in the range. We try it in top-of-the-range E400 guise to see how it copes on UK roads.
What is it?
Even with the UK's constantly changing weather, convertibles are big business and Mercedes is one of the key contenders in this segment with its range of upmarket cabriolets that combine luxury with a good degree of performance.
This time we are trying the E400 Cabriolet – the range-topping E-Class Convertible – that comes with a silky-smooth 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine under the long, sloping bonnet.
The E-Class Cabriolet is only actually available in one trim – AMG Line. It benefits from a full AMG bodykit, which gives it immense presence, as well as air suspension and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, you get several comforts that help when you're driving with the roof down on cold British days, such as Airscarf as standard, which sends warm air through the headrests to help keep your neck warm and make the E-Class Cabriolet surprisingly useable even in the coldest of weather.
What's under the bonnet?
Our test car was the E400 4Matic. Its 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 is paired with four-wheel-drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission. It produces 328bhp and 480Nm of toque, allowing it to accelerate to 60mph in a brisk 5.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph. Its economy figures aren't too bad either – Mercedes claims the E400 will return 32.8mpg on the combined cycle and emit 194g/km of CO2, not too bad for a V6 petrol engine.
What's it like to drive?
Most convertible buyers want something that is quick and comfortable, but one that is also good to drive. The E400 hits most of these criteria well. The V6 has plenty of punch, even with light throttle touches. It's impressively smooth, too, and is fantastic to waft around in, helped by Mercedes' excellent nine-speed automatic gearbox.
The ride has a good balance to it as well, as it is supple when needed but firm enough for it not to roll around in corners. You can adjust the ride depending on your preferences, although we found it works best if you just leave it in comfort.
However, what lets the side down is the steering. It feels far too artificial and provides little feel, making it quite tricky to work out where to place it. It's fine once you're up to speed and cruising, or mooching around town, but push it hard and the steering really lets the side down.
How does it look?
Modern Mercedes largely look fantastic in our opinion, and the E-Class Cabriolet is no exception. The coupe version of the E-Class is already a brilliant looking car, and taking the roof off it only seems to have improved its appearance. While the look of a car is always objective, we really do love the Cabriolet's swooping lines.
The fabric hood can also be raised and lowered at speeds of up to 31mph and takes just 20 seconds to raise or lower - making it quite a useful tool in the UK's highly unpredictable weather.
What's it like inside?
The regular E-Class's interior is superb and the Cabriolet's is no exception. The cabin is largely filled with soft-touch plastics, although there are few harsh feeling plastics surfaces.
Our test car came with the optional 12.3-inch infotainment display, and while it feels a bit expensive at £495, it really helps to transform the cabin. The same turbine-style air vents that appear in the Coupe also feature in the Cabriolet, and feel like a good touch to separate it from the interior of the saloon.
What's the spec like?
Prices for the E400 convertible start at £55,715. As standard you get a full AMG bodykit, 19-inch alloy wheels and cruise control. On the inside there are heated front seats, wood interior trim and Mercedes' full infotainment display. Our test car cost £63,375, though, thanks to some generous box ticking including a 360-degree reversing camera and the premium plus package, which includes extras such as an uprated sound system and multibeam LED light technology.
If you want to keep the price of your E400 down as much as possible, it is best if you choose any optional extras very cautiously.
The E-Class Cabriolet does exactly what most buyers will expect from a premium convertible. It is luxurious, has plenty of in-car tech and looks superb. While the steering really does let down the overall package, as a fast convertible to waft around in, the E400 is hard to match.
Model: E400 Cabriolet
Price (as tested): £63,755
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 petrol
Top speed: 155mph
0-60mph: 5.2 seconds