Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet review
"The Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet is now a true four-seater with a decent boot, along with a stylish interior and superb comfort"
- Four-seat comfort
- Stylish interior
- Practical boot
- Pricey optional extras
- Not the most economical
- Lack of driver involvement
The Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet finds itself in an interesting spot, sitting above the smaller Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet, yet costing far less than the sumptuous and exclusive Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet. Four-seat convertibles are relatively few and far between, but rivals include the Audi A5 Cabriolet, BMW 6 Series Cabriolet and even the Range Rover Evoque Convertible if you fancy a different approach.
Mercedes seems particularly devoted to the drop-top, possibly because Germany is Europe's biggest buyer of convertibles, followed by the UK, despite our tumultuous weather. The latest addition uses a multi-layered fabric roof that has the handy ability to raise or lower in 20 seconds, even as you carry on driving around town.
An update in mid-2020 refreshed the Cabriolet's styling, bringing it closer in appearance to the latest models in Mercedes' range. It was given a new grille, headlights and bumpers, along with new rear lights, alloy wheel designs and paint options.
Longer, wider and taller than before, the E-Class Cabriolet is also honest about its four-seat potential, even if the back seats aren't quite as comfortable as those in the front. The boot is also spacious enough for a proper holiday and can swallow bulky items thanks to its folding rear seats, making this one of just a handful of convertibles that can double as a family car - though boot space is reduced when the roof is down.
The engine range for the Cabriolet kicks off with the E 220 d diesel, boasting an economy figure of 43.5mpg. It's the best version for company-car users but its 161g/km CO2 emissions still put it in a high Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band. The E 400 d diesel, meanwhile, has a 340bhp engine that gets the car from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds
Petrol engines start with the 2.0-litre E 300, which is capable of 39.2mpg. The E 450 4MATIC is a straight-six cylinder petrol engine with 362bhp, incorporating Mercedes' 'EQ Boost' mild-hybrid technology to help it deliver 29.1mpg and emit 208g/km of CO2, as well as getting the car from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds. A range-topping Mercedes-AMG E 53 model was introduced in mid-2018 for those looking for the ultimate in performance thanks to its 429bhp 3.0-litre petrol engine.
On the road it’s quickly apparent the regular E-Class Cabriolet isn’t all about speed, with its suspension, engines and standard automatic gearbox instead favouring a relaxed, unflustered approach. If you want to attack a country lane, the BMW 6 Series Cabriolet will feel much more precise, but the E-Class is impressively smooth, especially when air suspension and smaller wheels are fitted.
This relaxing feel goes hand-in-hand with the interior ambience, which favours wooden trim and plush leather over faux carbon-fibre or Alcantara. The quality on display is excellent, and even at higher speeds with the roof down, passengers can talk without shouting.
While specific crash tests haven’t been carried out by Euro NCAP for the convertible, the E-Class saloon scored the maximum five stars with a superb 95% for adult occupant protection, and we’d expect the drop-top to perform just as well. Choose the Driving Assistance Plus Package and not only is the E-Class even safer, but it can practically drive itself along the motorway autonomously.