Review 2011 Mercedes Benz E350 Cabriolet: a simple drive becomes an event


Perhaps one of the most refined convertibles in its class. The Mercedes
Benz E350 Cabriolet coddles its owner like no other.

Rarely are automobiles truly sensual. Sure, some have lines that are
downright sexy, but those cars tend to be testosterone pods with gobs of
power. Some luxury sedans ooze riding pleasure while looking staid or

The elegance in heart matches the beauty of skin with this lovely 2011
Mercedes Benz E350 Cabriolet. No, it will not usurp the beauty of the
Maserati GranTurismo Convertible, nor will the E350 Cabriolet cause the
BMW 3 Series convertible many sleepless nights regarding power.


What this vehicle does do is erase any inkling that other vehicles

Front end design is sharp and diamond-like in its language. This is a
look that improves with every Mercedes Benz I’ve seen. Indeed, this is
one of the best matchups of the new face with a sleek, yet,
uncomplicated body. Top up or down, only two character lines crease the
side panels. It is a restrained and elegant styling decision. In the
rear quarter section, a delectable curve accentuates the rear wheel-well
and finishes with a complimentary line by the taillight.

Let me put it another way. I’m a hard-rock, punk-rock, retro type of
fellow. Despite every instinct within my feeble mind to abuse the superb
sound system – I couldn’t. On long drives kissed by sunbeams, I played
(prepare yourself) Percy Faith, Bert Bacharach, Neil Diamond and others.
I’m so ashamed. Please understand that this car simply begs for mellow,
refreshing tunes. Listening to old man’s tunes on the Harmon/Kardon
LOGIC7 surround-sound system was an otherworldly experience.

When all was said and done, I recovered and will not lament the deed
based on how sweet this machine was to me.


The approximately $57,000 (base) Mercedes Benz E350 Cabriolet comes with
Mercedes Benz’s ubiquitous 268 258 lbs of torque DOHC 24-valve V-6 and a
7-speed automatic that’s smoother in operation than Al Green’s voice.
If you opt for Mercedes Benz’s long list of options and packages, the
price can easily exceed $70,000.

Comfort and convenience in a convertible – –

Now, the big deal about this vehicle is the unique features employed to
make the top-down experience as pleasurable as possible. The 7-layer
soft top (which is lighter and takes up less space than a trendy hard
top convertible) can fold up or down at speeds up to about 25 mph. It
takes slightly less time to go down than up and folds in the mid 20(ish)
second range.

Top up, the ride is nicely muted and even in hail (that’s Colorado for
you – hail comes 12 hours after a balmy May holiday) it was pleasantly
quiet – for a convertible. I think the top up look is better than many
would expect. The rear quarter blind spot is noticeable, but not as bad
as many competitors. The rear view camera mitigates a great portion of
the blind spots usually associated with parking a convertible with its
top up.


Top down, it’s like James Bond’s retirement ride.

I tested every single function as suggested by Mercedes Benz and
experimented with my own, foolhardy ideals to find the optimum settings.
You see: there’s so many goodies, gizmos and gadgets to accentuate the
riding experience, techno-geeks will coo in pleasure. Once the top is
down (all convertible controls reside in a side flipping panel hidden in
north of the arm rest) you have a few choices to improve cabin wind
noise/disturbance. Here’s a few goodies:

– Aircap – This is a flat section that hides at the top of the
windshield looking like an innocuous piece of trim. Once activated, it
extends over two inches above the windshield and shoves air over the
front passenger’s seats.

– Airscarf – Once activated, warm or cool air exits the lower section of
the headrests (for the driver and front passenger) coating the neck,
lower skull and upper back with soothing warmth. It works best on a
crisp day with the top down and windows up.

– Rear headrest/mesh wind deflector – Controlled from a dash mounted
button and on its own, this lifts the headrest with its mesh screen up a
few inches. If used with the Aircap and windows up, very little wind
noise enters.


This system works well. I was able to hold a conversation with my spouse
and kindergartener on the highway, without raising my voice. True, wind
definitely enters the rear passenger’s area, but it’s acceptable for
those who like a little wind in their face. The Aircap doesn’t do that
much if the windows are down.

At triple digit speeds, the wind begins to intrude no matter what – but
few folks in this country will drive this car that fast. I simply left
the top down with all of the gizmos off to enjoy the wind through my
(proverbial) hair feeling. Such a nice cruiser this, a simple drive
becomes an event.


Seating is typical Mercedes Benz comfortable with the rear seats being
fairly commodious. There was enough room for a baby seat and child’s
seat – although the child’s seat had to shift quite a bit to allow use
of the seatbelt. An averaged sized adult could fit back there, provided
an average size adult was in front of them. For an ape like me, there
was just enough room for me up front with my 5-year old behind me. It’s
tight, but it worked.

There’s 11 cubic feet with the top down and 14 cubic feet top up. A
small golf bag would easily fit. There’s a nifty pass-through that would
work great for skis or other long items too. The trunk is an excellent
size which more than makes up for the limited storage inside.

Part 2 of this review will have driving impressions. 

Automotive media, racing, vehicle evaluation, wrecking yards, and car
sales are just a part of Nathan Adlen’s vehicular past. He writes out
of high octane passion! To read more reviews by Nathan Adlen or just to
enjoy more of excellent writing please visit him on at his
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