The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet brings some real glamour to all the technology and autonomy of its E-Class saloon and coupe relations. It’s the feel-good E-Class, yet it’ll seat four in comfort, and all the autonomous technology is very appealing if you’re enjoying the E-Class as intended – with the roof-down with the sun up. A four-engine range encompasses two diesels and two petrol options, a single nine-speed automatic gearbox, and the option of rear- or 4Matic four-wheel drive, making for plenty of choice.
Did you know? The leather finishes on the E-Class Cabriolet’s seats reflect sunlight to keep them cool.
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Mercedes-Benz already offers a wide choice of open-topped cars, from its roadsters to the C-Class and S-Class Cabriolets. This E-Class Cabriolet slots between the C and S, gaining space in the process over its predecessor. The ease of the E-Class’s drive suits the Cabriolet well, and the autonomous features that are offered optionally enhance that even further.
The E’s interior is beautifully finished and technologically advanced, particularly if you option the Comand Online system and additional widescreen on the lesser models. Of the four model choices the E 220 d makes the most sense, as it mixes ample performance and good refinement with palatable running costs. If you’re after a bit of an indulgent, satisfying drop-top there’s a lot to like (love even) about the E-Class; it’s a supremely executed all-rounder that’s classy and very satisfying indeed.
Design & Exterior
Interior & Comfort
Technology & Connectivity
Performance & Handling
Spec & Trim Levels
Running Costs & Fuel Economy
Elegant style, fine refinement
A genuine four-seater, with a decent boot, too
Optional autonomous tech adds even more effortlessness to the drive.
We Don’t Like
It’s not cheap compared to its nearest rivals
No AMG version as yet…
A little bit of shimmy through the structure
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Design & Exterior: (9/10)
Losing a roof doesn’t necessarily mean instant glamour and head-turning looks, but with the E-Class Cabriolet it’s unquestionably a good thing. Roof up, or down, it’s elegant and unfussy in its style, the lines neatly proportioned, the flourishes limited to the jewel-like quality of the grille and headlights and the brushed metal trim that delineates the top of the bodywork where it transitions to the fabric folding roof. The flanks have some subtle structure that softens their expansiveness thanks to the way light reflects off them, too.
The retention of a fabric roof here over a folding hardtop was an important consideration for Mercedes-Benz. It says that customers want to be seen to be driving a drop-top whether the roof is up or down, and a folding hardtop makes it less obvious.
Roof up, the lines remain just as attractive and the availability of a choice of colours for the hood ensures there’s never any doubt you’ve made a conscious choice to buy an open-topped car. Against its Audi A5 Cabriolet and BMW 4 Series Convertible rivals it’s a bit less extrovert and a bit bigger, too, as it’s longer and wider than both, which benefits its presence, and also interior space.
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Interior & Comfort: (9/10)
Get in and the dashboard is all familiar E-Class, so there’s an expansive swathe of trim material across the dashboard in a choice of finishes from wood to carbon fibre.
Within that dashboard nestle the most sculptural air vents we’ve ever experienced, situated in the centre and complemented by larger individual ones further up and nearer the doors. Above that are the digitally rendered instruments.
The standard set up is smart, but for the full IMAX-like experience you need to option Comand Online and the extra widescreen binnacle, which allows plenty of personalisation, much like the standard ambient lighting system, which offers 64 different interior lighting colours.
Keeping you comfortable are heat reflective leather seats with plenty of adjustment, while the steering column too gives plenty of range.
The stretch in wheelbase over its predecessor means it’s a genuine four-seater, while the Aircap system features a mesh behind the rear seats to reduce buffeting inside with the roof down, plus a spoiler above the windscreen to divert the air and make the interior civilised when it’s being used as intended.
That’s possible even in colder weather, as Airscarf neck level heating is standard for the Cabriolet. Two-zone climate control is also standard across the range, while there’s even the option of heated armrests and door panels, to complement the (yup, standard) heated seats.
Roof up, there’s very little increase in noise over its coupe relation, while refinement is good across all the engine choices.
No convertible buyer is looking for practicality; if that’s your bag then might we direct you to the E-Class Estate? That said, the E-Class Cabriolet is a useable four-seater, while the boot is a decent size – 310-385 litres, depending on whether the roof is up or down.
That’s just 40 litres (or a small overnight case) less than the coupe carries. Usefully, there’s a 50/50 split on the rear seats, allowing the E-Class Cabriolet to carry longer loads when necessary, so it’s not entirely impractical.
It is worth nothing that part of the boot space has been kept by having a smaller 8.5-litre AdBlue tank (diesel additive) than the coupe’s 25-litre one.
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Technology & Connectivity: (9/10)
Mercedes-Benz S-Class aside, the E-Class is the firm’s technology flagship, so there’s more electronics on offer here than an Amazon Black Friday sales event.
Much of it is, admittedly, optional, but the standard specification includes an integrated media interface for iPod and iPhones, Bluetooth connectivity, USB ports, DAB digital radio, Garmin Map Pilot navigation via an 8.4-inch display, and Mercedes me connect, which includes an emergency call system, accident recovery, breakdown, and maintenance management.
To that you can add Comand Online (standard on E 350 d and E 400 models), which means HD navigation with 3D views, a wifi hotspot with connection for up to three devices, and full smartphone integration via either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. It includes Car-to-X communication, too, which exchanges traffic information between similarly equipped vehicles.
There’s the possibility to use your phone as a ‘smartkey’, as well, which comes with the wireless charging option.
If you’re adding all that, then it’s worth going for the large screen choice and head-up display, which integrate better with the huge array of active driver aid and safety equipment that’s also offered in the E-Class.
Premium audio is also available, with Burmester surround optionally coming as a stand-alone extra or part of the Premium Plus package.
You could spend days poring over the options with everything from scented air to servo-assisted soft-closing doors, under which you can have the three-pointed star projected at night.
If you like technology, then there’s plenty on offer here, Mercedes-Benz seemingly thinking of everything, even the Magic Vision Control (yes, really) heated wipers only wash on the down stroke if the roof’s down to prevent you from getting wet inside. Clever.
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Performance & Handling: (7/10)
More of a boulevardier with GT ability than its more focused coupe relation, the E-Class Cabriolet does its job very convincingly. The four-engine line-up encompasses everything from the four-cylinder units in the E 220 d and E 300 petrol to the V6s of the E 350 d and E 400 petrol.
Those two bigger engines come as standard with 4Matic four-wheel drive, while the smaller engines make do with rear-wheel drive.
The E 400 or E 350 d might offer the promise of more ultimate pace, but the gains aren’t such that you’ll genuinely require them.
The E 220 d is, arguably, the most complete of the engine choices, with easy performance thanks to a combination of its sizeable 295lb-ft of torque and standard fitment of the nine-speed automatic transmission. It’s not slow, either, the 7.7-second 0-62mph time underlining that, though a wide spread of ratios and the transmission’s unerring ability to pick the right one, means the in-gear performance is never lacking, either.
Inevitably there’s some loss of rigidity over its coupe relation thanks to the removal of a hard roof, and the odd shimmy is evident in the rear-view mirror. The suspension has been specifically tuned to suit the body, however. The standard set-up for the two four-cylinder models is Agility Control, which features selective damping.
You’ll rarely, if ever, find cause to have it in anything Comfort, where the ride quality is composed and the body control respectable. The E 350 d and E 400 gain Air Body Control air suspension as standard, but again you’ll find little cause to upset the ride quality by selecting any of the more focused Sport or Sport+ settings.
Avoid them and the E-Class Cabriolet is an adept, comfortable and relaxing cruiser, while the many-layered driving aids that can be added optionally enhance that serenity and ease. It’ll virtually drive you down the motorway as you enjoy the view, though there’s enjoyment to be had from driving it, too. The steering is accurate, that gearbox smooth and quick, while refinement in all is good, as well.
Find a more interesting road and the E-Class isn’t short of agility and ability, but here its scale works against it. It’s wider than its predecessor, to the point now where it feels like a big car. That, rather than any lack in its dynamic make-up, will limit your enthusiasm to drive it quickly. The trade-off for the increase in size is greater space inside, which ultimately is more relevant to most buyers.
Recommended engine: E 220 d
7.7 seconds (est)
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Safety Features: (9/10)
The standard safety equipment list is an Alphabetti Spaghetti of Active this, Assist that, and Automatic and Electronic everything.
Take a deep breath, then, as models come with Active Bonnet, Active Brake Assist, Adaptive Brake Lights, Adaptive Brakes, anti-lock brakes, airbags (driver, passenger, knee, window, combined thorax and pelvis), Attention Assist, Automatic Child Seat recognition, ISOFIX child seat fixings, brake wear warning, emergency opening locks, cruise control with variable speed limiter, Electronic Stability Programme, a first aid kit and emergency triangle, Pre-Safe anticipatory system, and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
Optionally you can add to that with the Lane Tracking package, which includes Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist. Bundle that up with Drive Pilot, as part of the Driving Assistance Package, and you gain Pre-Safe Plus, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Brake Assist, and more. With all that, the E-Class can virtually drive itself.
There’s also the option of Multibeam LED Intelligent lighting, which features Adaptive Highbeam Assist. Being a drop-top, there’s pop-up rollover protection behind the rear seats, too, as standard.
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Specs and Trim Levels: (8/10)
Polar White or Black are the standard, no-cost paint choices. Metallic paint is extra and the options read like characters from Game of Thrones, Mercedes-Benz offering seven standard hues, including Obsidian Black, Cavansite Blue, Aragonite Silver, Emerald Green, Rubellite Red, Selenite Grey, and Iridium Silver.
Range-topping Diamond White and Hyacinth Red are the Designo metallic options, and we reckon the Cabriolet looks particularly striking in that Hyacinth Red.
The roof is offered in four colours: Black, Dark Blue, Dark Brown, and Dark Red.
AMG Line is the standard specification, but equipment varies depending on the model designation. Smaller engined E 220 d and E 300s get Agility Control suspension rather than the Air Body Control of the E 350d and E 400; likewise, they do without the Comand Online system and high-resolution 12.3-inch multimedia display that comes with it.
Otherwise they’re largely the same standard specification, with plenty of packages and individual items to option your car to exactly how you want it.
Size and Dimensions
2,065mm (including mirrors)
Max towing weight without brake
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Running Costs & Fuel Economy: (7/10)
A premium cabriolet is always going to be relatively expensive to own, but choosing the E 220 d will keep the running costs a bit more palatable than its petrol relations’. The official combined economy figure for the E 220 d is 57.7mpg, with CO2 emissions of 126g/km.
Choose the bigger 350 d and that worsens to 41.5mpg and 179g/km, while the E 300 petrol is 39.2mpg and 167g/km and the E 400 returns 32.8mpg and 194g/km. Financing rates are very competitive, given the likely high retained value the E-Class Cabriolet promises.
Reliability and servicing
Reliability should be good, while servicing costs can be paid for up front for a time period, or incorporated into a monthly payment of lb37. The schedule is dictated by the car itself, and dependant on how it’s driven.
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Pricing starts at just under lb45,000 and rises to lb56,715 currently. To that you’re likely to add anywhere between lb3,000-lb10,000 worth of extras depending on how extravagant you are with it.
We’d recommend the full Comand Online system, the head-up display and the Driving Assistance Package, which brings near autonomous driving into the mix.
It’s not cheap, especially compared to a BMW 4 Series Cabriolet or Audi A5, but it’s arguably in a size category above both.
The E 400 is appealing, but wait a while as we expect an E 43 AMG version soon.
Any model with the full Comand Online system specified, the additional widescreen, head-up display, and wireless charging for your phone.
An E 220 d Cabriolet will be significantly cheaper to buy and run than its bigger engined and petrol relations.
Audi A5 Cabriolet
A safe choice that’s cheaper and equally as good looking, but they’re omnipresent in comparison to the E-Class Cabriolet.
BMW 4 Series Convertible
A fine-driving alternative from BMW that’s cheaper, but smaller too.
Range Rover Evoque Convertible
Left-field, admittedly, but for open-top enthusiasts wanting something different the Evoque is similar money, though nowhere near as luxurious.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet
The smaller sibling might suit, particularly if you want to save a bit of money and don’t need the E-Class’s more generous space.
What others say
“Imposing new Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet drop-top blends style and refinement beautifully.”
“It seems big, graceful convertibles are ten-a-penny these days, but few do it quite like the Mercedes-Benz E–Class Cabriolet.”