2018 Mercedes-Benz E 300 Cabriolet - Very Class-E
We often drive Euro converts when the climes are chilly, wet and windy, given most launch to coincide with the summer in the North (ern hemisphere). While Merc’s E-Class Cabriolet has been available here for a few months now, it was good to experience it during proper drop-top weather.
Still it managed to rain but this helped prove the insulating quality of the multilayer acoustic hood, muffling the outside world well. The E 300 is festooned with features to make motoring life pleasurable, including the fully auto hood which can operate on the move below 50km/h so you don’t have to spend that half minute waiting for it to close when you park up.
The E Class is one of the best looking cabriolets on the market, the extra length giving it better proportions than the C-Class cab, and more rear passenger room. While the seat backs are too upright to be truly comfy, adults do fit out the back, and the boot space is a little larger than the C’s.
Apart from the long, heavy doors and low seating position hindering entry and egress, this is an easy-to-live-with convertible. While the rearward view is compromised hood up, the excellent 360-degree parking camera compensates. Though big, the E convert has a decent turning circle, while variable steering lends quick and breezy turns between the stops and there’s a self-docking function.
The heated seats and AirScarf neck heater allow top-down motoring to continue when the temperature falls. Wind buffeting is minimal for those up front and is reduced further thanks to turbulence soothers front and rear, raising at the touch of a button. And there are the usual Merc driver aids, with active cruise and lane keeping, the latter probably the best system in use currently, to ease commuting both on the motorway and in queued traffic.
The 300 uses the 180kW/370Nm 2.0-litre turbo, and with the nine-speed auto in charge, this provides ample motivation for the typical buyer.
Think you’ll need more? There’s the $159,500 245kW/480Nm E 400 with AWD. With high-end sounds, a head-up display and metallic paint the only other extras, we think the $133,500 E 300 will suffice for most convertible buyers.
There’s good low end torque for town driving and, with variable drive modes, the turbo amps up in Sport, with even a crisp note from the pipes, while the auto also encourages the engine along. This doesn’t embarrass itself in the corners either. Sure there’s some weight involved but the variable air springs hunker the chassis down to defend against the forces of physics, and it’s well balanced and grippy on its sporting rubber.
Sure there’s some weight involved but the variable air springs hunker the chassis down to defend against the forces of physics, and it’s well balanced and grippy on its sporting rubber.
The body is properly reinforced with only a hint of scuttle shake over big bumps taken at speed. The ride is more supple in Comfort mode, which is where the drive select button is likely to stay for the majority of the E 300’s life.
With the standard fitment of the AMG bodystyling kit come big 20-inch hoops and accompanying low profile rubber.
They enhance the look but thanks to the standard air springs aren’t detrimental to the ride. They’ll be hard to keep looking clean, as will the lustrous black paint of this example but there are ten other hues to pick from, and three hood colours.
It’s extravagant for sure, but desirable and well conceived, if this is what you’re into.