Chic new Cabri­o­let will have plenty of ap­peal

Irish Examiner - - Motoring - De­clan Colley

You don’t have to be a big fan of the rag-top genre to find the Mercedes E-Class Cabrio a very ap­peal­ing ma­chine.

This week we test the cabrio ver­sion of the E-class and while a rag-top is not nec­es­sar­ily ev­ery­one’s cup of tea — es­pe­cially those who truly like a car with a dy­namic chas­sis — this one is not bad at all, and you don’t nec­es­sar­ily have to live on the Cote d’Azur to feel the need for some­thing of this nature.

What you have here is a ter­ri­bly well ap­pointed — even in en­try level guise — car which is also a spa­cious, raff­ish and prac­ti­cal four seater.

It might not be much cop as a speed­ster or even as some­thing which will get you pumped ev­ery time you drive it, but it is sim­ply ter­ri­bly nice al­to­gether.

Mercedes, for some rea­son best known to it­self, has al­ways had a fond­ness for roof­less mo­tor­ing and rag-tops have been a fea­ture of com­pany’s pro­duc­tion for many, many years.

What is un­usual in this case, is that the car pretty much has the field to it­self, as such as the A5 Cabri­o­let or the 4 Se­ries Con­vert­ible are much smaller, while the likes of the 6 Se­ries Con­vert­ible is vastly more ex­pen­sive.

That be­ing so, Mercedes has done plenty enough with this de­sign to frighten off the com­pe­ti­tion any­way by pro­duc­ing a car which is very so­phis­ti­cated and very chic. The fact the mar­ket for cabrios is shrink­ing glob­ally, seems not to have mat­tered much to them. The two rear seat pas­sen­gers — there are only two seats — will not be dis­com­moded un­duly by the pack­ag­ing of the roof as it does not im­pinge much on them and they will en­joy the amount of room af­forded them.

There are few is­sues with the boot ei­ther as the roof does not ap­pear to take up too much stowage ca­pac­ity when folded and the space avail­able for lug­gage is im­pres­sive.

The roof it­self opens and closes in just 20 sec­onds and the op­er­a­tion can be achieved at speeds of up to nearly 50km/h.

With the roof down, the look is spoiled some­what with the ‘Air­cap’ spoiler which pops up at the top of the wind­screen and the de­flec­tor which emerges be­hind the rear seats, but even if they are ugly, they do the job of keep­ing the air­flow at bay.

While there are plenty of en­gine op­tions, the tester was fit­ted with the ba­sic two litre 220d tur­bod­iesel with which we are so fa­mil­iar these days and a fine choice it is too, what with a 194 bhp out­put, a 0-100km/h time of 7.7 sec­onds, a top speed of 237 kph and a con­sump­tion re­turn of around 4.5 l/100 km (62.2 mpg). That it emits just 126 g/km of CO2, makes for a €270 an­nual tax bill.

On the road the car is not one for thrash­ing as it has a se­date and un­fussy char­ac­ter. Although the ride height is lower than the saloon, the han­dling is not what you’d call nim­ble. But it’s not ter­ri­ble ei­ther and the changes wrung here over the pre­vi­ous one have killed off at least some of the dy­namic void that was there.

Beau­ti­fully made and built with pre­ci­sion and at­ten­tion to de­tail (for ex­am­ple, the wishy-wash­ers on the wind­screen squirt down, rather than up to avoid show­er­ing the oc­cu­pants) the E-Class Cabrio is ev­ery­thing it should be: com­fort­able, roomy and lux­u­ri­ous.

It might not be cheap at just over €63,000 for the tester, but then the ma­jor­ity of po­ten­tial buy­ers don’t nec­es­sar­ily want cheap.

The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabri­o­let.

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