Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet full 9 point review
The entry-level E200 petrol provides adequate performance, while the range-topping twin-turbo E400 is properly quick. However, the majority of buyers will be choosing between one of two diesels: the E220 CDI or the six-cylinder E350 Bluetec. The smaller diesel is strong enough, but the E350 is effortlessly flexible, pulling smoothly from low revs.
Ride & Handling
The soft suspension fitted to SE models suits the E-Class Cabrio's relaxed nature, allowing you to waft around in comfort. AMG Sport versions aren't so impressive; they have firmer suspension, which spoils the ride and does little to tighten up the wallowy and imprecise handling. There is at least plenty of grip, though, and the steering weights up nicely through corners.
Sitting in the back of a drop-top is often as enjoyable as going for a stroll in a hurricane, but things are different in the E-Class thanks to a clever contraption called Aircap. It's essentially a combination of a small flap on top of the windscreen and a deflector between the rear seats, which both raise to direct air over the cabin (rather than into it). Aside from the E220 CDI, the engine line-up is smooth and hushed, and wind noise isn't too bad with the hood up, either.
Buying & Owning
The E-Class isn't cheap and suffers from heavier depreciation than some other four-seat convertibles (such as the Audi A5) but it's far from a money pit. The diesel engines are pretty frugal by the standards of the class, and CO2 emissions are also competitive. Even the range-topping E400 twin-turbo petrol can average more than 35mpg – in the official government tests, at least.
Quality & Reliability
The E-Class is supposed to be a premium product, but its interior doesn't quite give that impression. Everything is solid and there are some nice touches, but too many surfaces are disappointingly unappealing. That said, the E-Class Coupe (on which the Cabriolet is based) received above-average marks for mechanical reliability in the most recent JD Power ownership satisfaction survey.
Safety & Security
This is the first Mercedes cabriolet with headbags to improve protection in a side impact. The car also comes with roll-over protection, and a reinforced windscreen and central pillars to add stiffness to the structure. There's also a driver drowsiness detection system and a pop-up bonnet to protect pedestrians. An 'intelligent drive' system uses a camera mounted behind the windscreen to view up to 50 metres ahead, scanning the road for obstructions.
Behind The Wheel
As always with a Mercedes, the seats and wheel have an enormous amount of adjustment. The seats are comfortable, and you can order them with Airscarf neck-warmers. Even roof-up visibility isn't bad by cabrio standards. The niggles concern the dash layout; it's orderly, but things aren't always logically arranged, and both the lights and wipers are controlled by one column stalk.
Space & Practicality
The Cabrio is listed as a member of the E-Class family, but the wheelbase is actually the same as that of a C-Class, so things are a little snug in the back. Four adults will fit, but there isn't a huge amount of space. The boot isn't great, either; it's not that big and is awkwardly shaped.
Entry-level SE trims gets you an online sat-nav system as standard, along with a DAB radio and an Active Parking Assist system. AMG Sport trim adds a sportier bodykit, larger alloys, stiffer suspension, leather seats and partial LED headlights. The range-topping AMG Sport Plus model gets even bigger wheels, AMG sports seats, an upgraded stereo and keyless start.