Instant celeb status
Cabrios make the best entrance
THE Mercedes E-Coupe cabriolet and BMW 2-Series convertible are designed to show off drop-dead gorgeous looks for their owners, but what more do they offer?
We tested both in E220d and M240i spec respectively. These two are not direct rivals but as the old Merc ad said, cars like this still represent the most exciting way to blowdry your hair.
The E-Cabriolet is the newer of the two in terms of design and it stuns wherever you drive it.
In AMG line exterior spec, chrome strip running along the shoulder line, five-spoke 19-inch wheels, diamond grille, power domes on the bonnet and multi-beam LED headlights with double-line LED daytime lights, it looks absolutely stunning.
Wherever this car goes, thumbs up, waves and x-rated smiles are the norm from people.
Drop the top and it’s just too much for anyone this side of a celebrity, made worse by the ability to open/ close the top on the move.
The inside is spacious, carrying five adults in relative comfort — something not many cabriolets can achieve. The HD wide screens for the infotainment and instrument cluster drew the most attention from passengers and onlookers.
The optional Cabriolet Comfort package is a must as it allows noticeably less wind inside the cabin with the top down whilst it endows the leather seats with neck warmers in case you feel the need to drop in chilly weather.
The M240i doesn’t draw as many envious glances due to it being on the market for a while now even though it received a mild update last year. With M-Performance parts (19inch wheels, side sills extensions), the 2-Series transforms into a wannabee full-M look.
The 2-Series convertible can drop its top on the move but due to its compact size, rear seat passengers need to be forewarned when doing so as the soft top touches their heads.
The 2-Series is a strict four-seater with rear passengers limited in leg room but compared to its rival, A3 cabrio, it’s above average.
The interior layout is classy with a quality fit and finish but it’s starting to show its age especially when you take into account latest space age interior offerings from BMW (5, 6 & 7). The 143 kW/400 Nm two-litre turbo-diesel in the E220d is refined and excels on fuel efficiency, achieving an excellent 5,7l/100 km during our test week.
Mated to a nine-speed automatic, it’s an effortless cruiser but the gearbox can be lethargic when pushed, often changing down gears too late.
Surprisingly, the refined diesel engine is well matched to the drop-top character of the E-Cabrio.
The damping of the suspension is class leading in our books, with the E-Cabrio soaking up bumps with minimal body shake. In dynamic driving it brings a fun factor most people would expect from the blue propeller rival, without compromising ride comfort. Noise insulation is the best I have experienced in a soft top.
The 250 kW/500 Nm 3.0-litre sixcylinder turbo in the M240i is a classic performance engine with deep bass sound, melodic engine sound when pushed hard. Linked to the brilliant eight-speed automatic, shift times are dual-clutch like quick when in Sport mode. Shift changes are accompanied by a “Vrrr Phhaa” with bursts of sound on the overrun … this engine is just EPIC, its 11,6l/100 km less so but worth every fuel drop.
The ride is a bit too hard, worsening body shake over bumps but give it beans on your favourite twisty road and you will smile for days.
These cars are for people who consider style, making an entrance at social gatherings as priority in their car purchase. The pricing of R920 000 for the E220d is misleading as you will have to spend over R1 million to fully enjoy ownership. Worth every penny spent on our current favourite convertible.
The M240i Convertible at R785 000 needs more randellas to spec it to levels where it’s a pocket M-junior 2-Series. Add the M-Performance design bits and you are sure to be the talk of your social circles.
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E220d and M240i spec cabriolets will both get you thumbs up, waves and x-rated smiles from the people you pass.
The 2-Series is a strict four-seater with rear passengers limited in leg room but compared to its rival A3 cabrio, it’s above average.