2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet: Who Could Ask for Anything More?

Strong points
  • Powerful engine
  • Excellent nine-speed gearbox
  • Impressive handling
  • Beautiful style
  • 4MATIC all-wheel drive
Weak points
  • High fuel consumption
  • Throttle response in Comfort mode
Full report

We talk a lot about the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and rightfully so. This car comes in four variants, including sedan, wagon, coupe and cabriolet, not to mention the world-rocking AMG versions. It’s no wonder that the company has become the number-one luxury brand in the United States.

The E-Class Cabriolet arrived on the market at a time when convertibles were becoming less and less popular. Decidedly un-sporty, it did little else but recreate childhood memories of riding in a big car with the wind blowing through your hair.

Times have changed, however, and nowadays, even cars that are not meant to be sporty per se feature improved performance. The E-Class Cabriolet has evolved. It now continues to offer comfort and refinement, but without sacrificing the sporty side sought by luxury car buyers. For 2018, the E-Class Cabriolet has been treated to an impressive update, becoming the car by which all others are judged in the luxury cabriolet segment.

What style!

Mercedes-Benz is guilty of making products that look alike. Automobile journalists joke that even though the vehicles’ sizes vary, their lines are so similar that from a distance, it’s hard to tell the difference between the C-, E- and S-Class coupes.

Photo: Marc-André Gauthier

Fortunately, the E-Class Cabriolet is nothing if not original. The extended taillights, when you look closely, seem to be sprinkled with stardust. Gone are the boxy, aggressive lines on the flanks, replaced by an organic and rounded design with a shape that is at once complex and simple. The front end features the brand’s trademark style, and we can’t help but admire the twin projector headlights adorned with little blue LEDs.

Inside, it’s even better. The new dashboard is a work of art, combining the retro one-piece wooden dashboard with a futuristic large screen that begins in the centre and extends right to the driver’s side. It’s both an infotainment system and a dashboard at the same time.

With their beautiful graphics and endless functions, these screens can be hard to operate for neophytes. Menus and sub-menus abound, but once you understand how it all works, you’ll recognize its true mastery.

The design of the seats and door panels is also breathtaking. It’s as though each square inch was carefully crafted and made beautiful. Regardless of the colour combination you choose, you’ll get a masterpiece.

It will come as no surprise that the big front seats are highly comfortable, with optional ventilation and AIRSCARF, a series of fans that surround your neck with a flow of warm air should you decide to put the top down in cold weather. The real shocker is in back, where the seats are now wider and can accommodate two full-grown adults.

Photo: Marc-André Gauthier

To reduce turbulence when driving with the top down, you can put the windows up or even activate a shield that consists of a front deflector above the windshield and another in back behind the two seats, which quite frankly does a nice job. With the top up, the experience is not as quiet as in the E-Class sedan, but it’s surprisingly good for a convertible just the same.

Sports car handling

The E-Class Cabriolet was never meant to be a sports car but, as mentioned in the introduction, the industry left it little choice but to step up its game.

For 2018, Canadians will only get the E 400 4MATIC. In other words, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet coming to our country is equipped with a 329-horsepower, twin-turbo V6 with all-wheel drive and a new-generation nine-speed automatic gearbox. The all-wheel drive system has already earned its stripes, and I must say that this transmission works like a charm. The only drawback is that, while the engine performs well in acceleration, it’s a gas-guzzler. Our moderate test drive required 12.5 L/100 km of super. The E 300 sedan’s four-cylinder could have done the job instead, with decent performance and better fuel economy. But hey, people in the market for a luxury cabriolet aren’t going to start pinching pennies for a few litres of gas.

This engine’s performance varies enormously depending on the driving mode you select. While it seems sluggish in Eco and Comfort modes, Sport and Sport+ modes are surprisingly fast.

No complaints here about the suspension, but the optional dynamic and air suspensions seem unnecessary, since the basic settings are comfortable and able to hold the road with panache.

This brings us to handling. The E-Class Cabriolet won’t incite you to drive recklessly. It’s very comfortable and encourages you to go for nice, relaxed drives on scenic roads. However, should you find yourself on a winding road, this car is up to task. The E-Class’ rigid chassis and precise steering make you feel invincible and when pushed, the 4MATIC system sends the torque where it’s needed, which helps you take corners surprisingly quickly.

What’s more, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet boasts the same safety technology as the other configurations of the car—optionally. This is a technologically advanced convertible that’s comfortable, refined, luxurious and, when necessary, impressively sporty. Who could ask for anything more?

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