Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet - Engines, drive & performance
The Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet majors on smooth responses, so if you’re after a sharp drive, the BMW 6 Series Cabriolet is more involving
Sitting within a wider range of convertibles, which is itself set apart from the German brand’s sports-car range, the drop-top E-Class has been able to target a very specific audience. These are drivers who like luxury and comfort as much as they appreciate cornering ability, need a big boot for golf clubs and holidays, and want to share the roofless experience with friends and family.
Viewing the Merc in this context, it’s probably no surprise the BMW 6 Series Cabriolet is the sharper and more focused drive, and likewise the Audi A5 Cabriolet’s suspension is stiffer, particularly in S line guise. Instead, the E-Class has excellent road manners, accelerating smoothly and cruising in comfort until you need a break. Even with the roof down, the entry-level E 220 d is quiet enough that there’s no rattly diesel noise reflected back at you.
Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet diesel engines
The E 220 d uses the brand’s latest 2.0-litre diesel with 191bhp, which is far smoother than the old 2.1-litre engine. This has vastly improved every car it has been fitted to, but the change is particularly apparent in the E-Class Cabriolet with the roof down, where diesel clatter has been virtually eradicated. With 0-62mph taking 7.7 seconds, this is no sports car, but the E 220 d never feels overworked and makes for relaxed progress and effortless motorway driving.
With two extra cylinders, the 3.0-litre straight-six E 400 d 4MATIC also gets four-wheel drive as standard, making for a very different proposition. The 0-62mph benchmark drops to 5.3 seconds and its top speed is limited to 155mph, but the E 400 d is also costlier in every respect.
Petrol buyers have a choice of the E 300, E 450 4MATIC and the twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight-six Mercedes-AMG E 53. With 255bhp, the E 300 goes head-to-head with Audi’s 2.0-litre TFSI models and takes 6.6 seconds to reach 62mph from rest. Stepping up the E 450 reduces the 0-62mph time to 5.2 seconds, while top speed remains an electronically limited 155mph.
The AMG E 53 has 429bhp, a nine-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive, so despite weighing over two tonnes, it can still get from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds. There are chassis changes but the formula remains fundamentally the same; the E 53 is a great long-distance cruiser. It's too big and heavy to feel particularly agile but there's plentiful grip and it feels secure in corners.