Terrible news, Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet owners. Not only does the new E-Class Cabriolet look almost exactly like your car, but in many ways it’s very nearly as good.
Interior, engines and tech are per the E-Class Coupe. The new roof, meanwhile, is a multi-layer fabric job that can be stowed or erected electronically in 20 seconds at 50kph or less. Tech and know-how was borrowed from the S. As much is obvious from the moment you start moving. The acid test of a good convertible is if, after a hour spent driving around with the roof up, you forget it is one. And in the E-Class cabriolet you certainly do.
Not bad roof-down, either, although the “AirCap” system that claims to reduce bluster (with two wind deflectors that rise electronically from the windscreen rail and just behind the rear seats) isn’t as effective here as we remember it in the C-Class. It’s of most benefit to people sitting in the back – (the E’s rear seats are spacious enough for fully grown adults, though a bit upright) but for those in the front it just adds wind noise. And it looks odd enough that anyone style-obsessed enough to buy such a car in the first place will likely leave the button well alone.
Engines are limited to those available in the regular E – diesels and petrols of 2.0-litre in the E200 and E220d, E300 and V6 of 3.0-litre the E400. The last one gets 4Matic AWD. If you have R1 142 936 to spend on a big cabrio by all means go ahead and get a V6, but don’t feel hard done by if, like most, you end up in a R920 184 E220d. Its quietness and smoothness is testament to the many billions Mercedes spent developing it.
Like the C and S there’s little flex from the structure. Mercedes would never allow it in the new E-Class cabriolet. Some judder through the steering column, but nothing too bad. The cars we drove were on the optional air suspension, which behaves much the same as it does in other Es – great, until you hit something sharp. Weight gain is around 100kg, but besides the loss of rigidity, the Cab gives little away to the Coupe dynamically. At least, not at the kind of speeds you’ll be driving it. Slowly, in Comfort, with the massage seats pummelling your back. TOM HARRISON
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