Is the Mercedes-Benz E400 cabriolet the best way to enjoy the top-down experience?
Taking the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 cabriolet on the evening commute, everything felt right with the world. There’s something cathartic about driving a convertible, it seems. At the push of a button, you’re exposed to the surrounding world, and experience the sights and sounds from which you’re normally disconnected driving an ordinary car. Sure, they’re not terribly practical – but you just don’t care. You see all the other motorists cruising around in their cages and you just feel better off, somehow.
Once the original euphoria of driving a convertible wears off, however, is the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 cabriolet all the convertible you’d ever need? With a base price of $68,800, the E-Class cabriolet isn’t exactly cheap. However, it is only half the price of an S-Class convertible. At that rate, it may well be an affordable alternative to the extravagant S-Class.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 cabriolet shares its powertrain with the E-Class coupe, as you may expect. That means you get a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with 329 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. Having north of 300 horsepower at your disposal is nice, and the company’s familiar nine-speed automatic transmission is even better. The transmission snaps off nearly imperceptible shifts, but it can be a bit clunky at slower speeds. It’s reasonably quick, but it’s no AMG model. As it stands, the E400 is currently the only available cabriolet model.
The 4MATIC all-wheel drive version we tested held on competently on twisting back roads. It was taut, but its two-ton weight was better suiting to insulating the car’s ride on long, straight stretches of road. The steering was remarkably responsive, but it didn’t quite provide enough feedback over rougher roads for our liking. There are four selectable drive modes: Eco, Sport, Sport + and Individual. Each adjusts the engine response, transmission shift points and suspension setup accordingly. Although, I didn’t exactly see the point in a car like this.
While fuel economy is pegged at 20 City/25 Highway/22 Combined MPG – not terrible for a 4,300 pound convertible, we didn’t manage to crack 19 MPG in mixed driving during our test.
Comfort and Convenience Features
Those who buy this sort of car don’t necessarily want the last word in sharp, precise performance. The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 cabriolet gets up well enough when you prod it. However, AMG models are more suitable to driving vigorously. Every time we took the Mercedes out, the temptation to just settle down, put it in comfort mode and just cruise overtook the need to hoon around.
When you do want to settle down, however, the features are where the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 cabriolet shines. The 12.3-inch infotainment display comes standard, while you can also fit a 12.3-inch instrument cluster display as part of the Premium package. Mercedes-Benz also supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Mercedes’ infotainment system, while certainly feature-rich, isn’t the most intuitive to navigate. The displays are crystal sharp, though, and the instrument cluster is configurable between three pre-determined settings.
For $1,370, the Macchiato Beige Nappa leather seats were remarkably comfortable, while the $1,300 designo flowing wood trim offered a more upscale appearance to the E-Class cabriolet. Other options included inductive charging, intelligent LED lights with Adaptive High Beam Assist, lane change assist, emergency braking, and a Head-Up display. Those features are available in the Premium package, which is available in three tiers ranging from $3,250 to $9,350, depending on the features you want.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 cabriolet offers many of the same features as its S-Class big brother, for a much lower price. It’s a reasonably agile four-seater convertible, but comfort and features are where this E-Class really shines. In the summertime, it’s a great option for the well heeled customer to soak up some sun while sinking into rich Nappa leather.
Other optional equipment for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 cabriolet we tested includes $500, 19-inch AMG wheels and the $2,500 “AMG Line”, which includes AMG styling cues. Illuminated door sills are $350, while massaging, multi-contour front seats are $950. Heated and ventilated seats cost $450, and the optional air suspension costs $1,900.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 cabriolet
|Price as Tested:||$89,735|
|Engine:||3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6|
|Drivetrain (Layout):||Front-engine, all-wheel drive|
|Horsepower:||329 hp @ 5,250 – 6,000 RPM|
|Torque:||354 lb-ft @ 1,600 – 4,000 RPM|
|Suspension:||Four-corner air suspension (AIR BODY CONTROL)|
|Tires:||Goodyear Eagle Sport All-Season P245/40 R19 98V|
|Fuel capacity:||17.4 gallons|
|Fuel economy (EPA):||20 City/25 Highway/22 Combined MPG|
|Turning Circle:||37.5 feet|
|Curb Weight:||4,332 pounds|