What's the used Mercedes E-Class sports like?
If what you want is a four-seat convertible of rare elegance and subtle suavity you should certainly have this generation of Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet at the top of your shortlist.
Not surprisingly, it shares a lot of its underpinnings with the closed-top Coupe version, which in turn leans heavily on the E-Class executive saloon for its mechanical inspiration. It’s plush and solidly constructed and sits between the firm’s C-Class Cabriolet and the huge S-Class Cabrio. It is also a large car, this E-Class, with a noticeable increase in size over the car it replaced.
On paper, the 191bhp 220 d looks a little underpowered, but in fact it gets by very well. Indeed the relaxed pace of the diesel engine feels suitable in a top-down cruiser. The E300 doesn’t feel a whole lot slower than the range-topping E400, to be honest, and nor does the 350 d. Mash your right foot into the carpet and it completes the run from 0-62mph in just 6.4sec, and with Sport Plus mode selected, throttle response is sharp, gearshifts are slick and you’re even treated to the odd artificial parp when changing up. It is rather a gruff-sounding engine, though, and it doesn’t have the low-down shove of the 220 d. The E400 is quick, but it doesn’t particularly feel it. It delivers its big hit of power and torque in a more subtle and less overt manner, picking up its skirts and heading for the horizon with very little fuss.
There were two types of suspension available from new: a standard steel-sprung system and the optional air suspension system. The air option gives a beautifully floaty ride that’s only ever troubled by the roughest of road surfaces, even when fitted with large wheels.
One of the advantages of this system is that you can stiffen up the suspension and adjust the steering, throttle and gearbox response at the touch of a button. You get to choose between four pre-set modes, but can also mix and match settings with an Individual mode.