Our fleeting summer may be over, but there’s never a bad time of year to enjoy the delights of a cabriolet. Whether driving roof down through autumnal forests of gold or enjoying the crisp fresh air of a winter or spring morning by the coast, being open to the elements, yet cosy inside stirs the senses and makes any journey a real treat.
It helps of course if the cabriolet is a particularly gorgeous one, and happens to be beautifully built, luxuriously appointed and great to drive. One model that immediately springs to mind is the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet.
Sleek and sporty looking with artful flashes of chrome, this model is what many of us would think of visually when imagining our dream drop-top car. Surprisingly practical too though, this cabrio offers spaciousness and comfort on long journeys for up to four people. And does so all year round thanks to neat features such the AIRCAP electric draught-stop system and AIRSCARF neck-level heating.
Unrestricted usability all year round is similarly ensured by the acoustic soft top, a standard feature that helps to optimise the level of noise experienced in the interior. Its multi-layered structure with sophisticated insulation also ensures a comfortable environment, whatever the season, and reduces wind and driving noise. On test we discovered we were able to actually hold a conversation in the vehicle, even whilst bowling along at higher speeds, without having to shout to be heard by passengers in the rear seats.
Next level refinement and luxury
Viewed in the metal, this really is an eye-catchingly stylish car. The latest E-Class models have been recently enhanced, inside and out, to bring even higher levels of refinement and luxury.
There are new flatter headlamps which, even in the entry-level models, feature all-LED technology. The inner workings of these LED High Performance headlamps are quite exceptional. Among the hallmark Mercedes-Benz design features are the torch-flame effect and two unlit pins. With the optionally available MULTIBEAM LED headlamps, the latter are lit.
The A-shape design of the new diamond radiator grille, which is likewise standard on all versions, adds a particularly dynamic touch. The grille also features chrome-plated dots, a single louvre and the Mercedes star in the centre.
A new highlight of the muscular rear section is the completely redesigned inner workings of the two-piece tail lights, featuring LED technology. The star module with integrated reversing camera is inset into the boot lid.
There are four paint colours newly available for the E-Class Cabriolet and they go by the names high-tech silver, graphite grey metallic, mojave silver and patagonia red (designo). Our E 300 AMG Line Night Edition Cabriolet Premium Plus model came in the stunning designo diamond white metallic, set off beautifully with red and black leather upholstery.
The wheel line-up has also been expanded and now includes aero wheels, as they are called, the special design features of which help contribute to saving fuel and thus to sustainability.
As was already previously the case, the interiors of the Cabriolet combine contemporary style with sporty luxury. The essential lines of the interior are clearly defined. The upper section of the dashboard appears to hover; it rests on generously proportioned trim elements that flow through into the doors.
The exceptionally high-quality materials selected, together with the quality of craftsmanship employed, serve to emphasise the car’s sporty, stylish character and exude outstandingly high-class appeal. New-look trim options – open-pore grey ash wood and aluminium with light carbon-fibre grain – serve to enhance the interior.
The seats combine hallmark Mercedes-Benz practicality over long distances with avant-garde styling to meet expectations in terms of comfort, but at the same time provide excellent support in dynamic driving situations.
The adaptive driver’s seat adjustment is a particularly intelligent feature: when the height of the body is entered on the media display or via Mercedes me, the seat automatically moves into a position generally suitable for someone of that height, which then only needs to be fine-tuned by the driver.
The integral-look sports seats feature prominent side bolsters and integrated head restraints. The seat contour follows the pronounced side bolsters and, depending on the specification, the centre section has sporty transverse or modern longitudinal seams. The colours of the centre sections of the seat backrest and cushion are coordinated with the overall sculpture of the seats.
Numerous material combinations ranging from fabric to ARTICO man-made leather, embossed leather, nappa leather with diamond quilting and even sun-reflecting leather are all possible.
A safe drive
E-Class Cabriolet enhancements continue in terms of the very latest driving assistance systems and tech too.This results in an especially high level of active safety meaning the car is able to react quickly and intelligently even if the driver is unable to do so.
The hands-off detection feature of the steering wheel now works on a capacitive basis, thereby enhancing user-friendliness when driving in semi-automated mode. That’s because to inform the assistance systems that the driver still has control of the E-Class, it is sufficient for the driver to hold the steering wheel.
Steering torque – that is to say a slight steering movement – was previously required as feedback in order for this to happen. The new steering wheel features a pad with the appropriate sensors in the rim. These register whether the driver is holding the wheel. If the system detects that the driver does not have their hands on the steering wheel for a certain time, a warning cascade is started, which finally activates Emergency Brake Assist if the driver continues to be inactive.
As standard, the E-Class comes with Active Brake Assist which, in many situations, is able to use autonomous braking to prevent a collision or mitigate its severity. The system is also able to brake for stationary vehicles and crossing pedestrians at typical city speeds and even to prevent collisions, depending on the situation. As part of the Driving Assistance Package, this is now also possible when turning off across the oncoming lane. A range of further Intelligent Drive functions can optionally be added to the Driving Assistance Package.
Luxurious state-of-the-art interior
Despite already having one of the more stunning interiors around, Mercedes-Benz has fitted the E-Class Cabriolet with a host of new equipment and features.
There’s an entirely new, intelligent steering wheel which is available in leather or as a super sports variant. The control surfaces are in a gorgeous high-gloss black, while the trim elements and surrounds have a silver shadow finish, and the new E-Class Cabrio is equipped with the latest generation of the MBUX multimedia system (Mercedes-Benz User Experience).
As standard, this includes two large 10.25-inch/26 cm screens arranged side by side for a sublime widescreen look. Two 12.3 inch/31.2 cm screens are optionally available. The information in the instrument cluster and on the media display is easily legible on the high-resolution screens. An emotive presentation with brilliant graphics underlines the comprehensibility of the intuitive control structure.
Our AMG Line Night Edition Cabriolet Premium Plus model came with a veritable raft of features including AMG body styling and had Designo diamond white metallic paint and Driving Assistance package as added options.
A cabrio with wellness in mind
This model features a host of systems to boost driver and passenger wellbeing. New to the E-Class Cabriolet is what’s called the Energising Coach – a function is based on an intelligent algorithm which detects and recommends a wellness enhancing programme depending on the situation and the individual concerned. If a Garmin wearable is integrated, personal values such as stress level or quality of sleep optimise the accuracy of the recommendation. The aim is to ensure the driver feels well and relaxed even during demanding or monotonous journeys.
Out on the road
On test this is a dynamic and fun cabriolet to drive. Our model on test featured a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an output of 258 hp and 370 Nm, delivering a 0-62 sprint in just 6.6 seconds and top speed of 155mph. Coupled with Mercedes’ excellent 9G-DCT 9-speed automatic transmission, out on the road the car proved super responsive, well balanced and refined. Driving systems on our car included Agility Control suspension with selective damping system and lowering by 15 mm, DYNAMIC SELECT: ECO, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual and cruise control with variable speed limiter.
To summarise, if you have ever thought of buying a cabriolet, this must be on your for consideration and test drive list. It simply ticks all the boxes for luxury, drivability, style, quality, comfort, practicality and wealth of safety, dynamic, infotainment and convenience features.