The Mercedes E-Class cabriolet is a stunner, writes Craig Duff
YOU know a Mercedes-Benz is special when other Merc owners steal a glance — then openly stare. Welcome to the E-Class cabriolet, a car capable of making a mug feel a million bucks. If you had that cash, the E250 CDI pictured would still leave you with $890,000 to splash out on life’s other luxuries.
My wife wants one, the kids were happy in one and you quickly gain the impression passing motorists — particularly the aforementioned Merc drivers — would readily dispose of you to get their hands on one.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and most who behold the latest cabrio think it’s a very sexy thing. It’s jut been voted the best-looking cabrio in the world by 21,000 fans of a European magazine and we’ve little reason to argue.
Stop admiring it and get behind the wheel and there’s even more reason to smile.
The suspension soaks up rough roads like chamois and a button-press shifts things from Comfort to Sport to let you wring it out through the back roads.
There’s little motivation to put the top down in Melbourne at the moment, but flicking the switch between showers discovers just how well thought-out the system is.
It takes just on 20 seconds to drop the soft-top lid, at which point the Aircap system— a louvre that extends above the front windscreen and a draught-blocker between the back seats — blocks in-cabin turbulence. Combine that with the optional headrest-mounted Airscarf neckwarmers ($1190) and heated seats ($950) and occupants can ignore the chill in the air for as long as the clouds only stay threatening.
Access to the two rear pews is achieved by pulling a lever on the back of the fronts seats, at which point the electric motors power the seat fully forward.
It’s then possible to make a dignified entry and exit from the vehicle, something that can’t be said for some of its competitors.
The entertainment package is a hefty $7400 option, but adds satnav, a Harmon Kardon sound system and a digital TV tuner.
Performance from the 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine is as good as the looks. There’s a momentary hesitation before 500Nm lofts the car to the legal limit, irrespective of whether that’s 60, 80 or 100km/h.
It’s not supercar quick with a 0-100km/h time of just under eight seconds, but it certainly won’t disgrace itself at the lights should you lower yourself to traffic-light tyro status.
The best part is the fuel consumption. Mercedes claims 5.6 litres/100km from the BlueEfficiency diesel and it only managed marginally worse on the carsGuide test, meaning your six-figure investment is a very frugal machine to run.
The other three cars in the range are all petrol-powered, starting at the $105,950 250 CGI with a 1.8-litre turbo motor and 150kW/ 310Nm. Step up to the $139,950 V6-powered E350 and there’s 200kW/300Nm on tap, and the range-topping E500 has a 5.5-litre V8 with 285kW and 530Nm for $186,950.