A Mercedes-Benz cabriolet/convertible is a symbol of style and sophistication and the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 is just as stylish as any of the classic ‘drop tops’ of the past from the three-pointed star brand.
Some say Australia provides the perfect foil for open-air motoring, others say you get burnt to a crisp. Of course, a retractable roof lets you do both.
If you pockets permit, spending a few extra shekels scores not only a premium finish, cutting edge tech, and built-in kudos, but immense satisfaction too.
There is nothing subtle about the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet.
There are lashings of shiny bits, 20” AMG alloy wheels, and the ability to match, or contrast, your body and roof.
The slick design starts up front with an adaptive LED array which lights just the right amount of road without dazzling oncoming punters. LED tail lights literally glitter from within.
The beauty of rag tops is that they take less space in the boot. It makes for a slender rump and makes the silhouette as svelte as a super-model.
The fabric roof is fully automatic and can be operated from the key fob.
The multi-layer construction makes the cabin whisper quiet. Only the heaviest of rain makes a comforting patter overhead.
Chrome highlights extend to the door handles and auto fold mirrors. The indicator repeaters in the mirror look great and add an extra layer of visibility to other road users.
Once seated, the cabin can only be described as spectacular. Remember the time you had to wait for years for gear on the top Mercs to filter down the range? Not anymore.
Tech, convenience, and comfort, have been lavished on the impeccable interior.
Seats and steering wheel adjust at the touch of a button.
The wind diffuser at the top of the windscreen pairs with another between the rear seats, and can be deployed when the roof is down, with a button, of course.
Twin 12.3” LCD screens make the cockpit look like something from a Dreamliner (that’s a modern airliner for the uninitiated).
The screens have replaced driver and infotainment systems with a single seamless panel extending from driver right over to the centre console.
Controls are a combination of touch/sculling and buttons on the steering wheel, and the command system between the front seats.
It looks confronting at first, but the layout is both logical and sensible, once you’re used to it.
Sadly, neither LCD is a touch screen so the Apple CarPlay is a trifle awkward. You must use either voice or the command wheel on a system designed for a smartphone touch screen.
- 20-inch AMG multi-spoke alloy wheels
- Air Suspension
- Black Ash Open-Pore Wood Trim
- Digital radio
- Analogue clock
- Fully automated boot separator
- Driving Assistance package Plus comprising DRIVE PILOT, Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and also PRE-SAFE PLUS
- Traffic Sign Assist
- 360° camera with dynamic guidelines
- Head-up display
The features list reads like War and Peace but suffice to say every conceivable luxury and convenience is included.
It’s almost impossible to convey the ambiance but a few highlights are: infinitely variable coloured mood lighting, quilted leather, and the little breaths of warm air that warm your neck from behind your headrest.
The Burmester surround sound system with 13 speakers, 9-channel DSP amplifier & 590 watt output requires a special mention.
In a cabin that would embarrass a luxury yacht, the audio system is a thing to behold. The sound is so rich and deep that you feel you’ve received a personal invitation for a live performance
Drive and Engine
The AIR BODY CONTROL Air Suspension has a magic carpet ride feel. Even in the sportiest of the drive modes, the ride is superb.
The system is on guard and will assist with lane control, and speed control, and will try to avoid accidents that you don’t see coming.
Ultra-low profile tyres have a bit of a hum on some road surfaces and clunk over pot holes.
Steering is very light most of the time, which is just the way I like it.
We took some challenging roads with tight rutted corners in very wet weather, but the E 400 was not bothered. Wind noise was almost undetectable roof-up, and as expected roof-down.
The Mercedes-Benz E400 is claimed to have a 5.2 second 0-100 time, and it certainly feels every bit of it.
Although this is one of Mercedes’ older engines, it still feels lusty and urgent, even in “gentlemen” mode.
It was at home on country roads, highways, and city lanes, but I was in no hurry to get anywhere.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet comes with a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Extensive active and passive safety including: AEB front and rear, 9 airbags, active lane control, 360 camera, ASR, ASSYST, crash response lighting, ABS, BAS, roll-over protection, ESP, run-flat tyres.
- Extensive safety both active and passive
- Clever folding remote-controlled roof
- Top notch comfort
- Crammed with tech
No So Good Bits
- Awkward Apple CarPlay interface
- Ride can wallow
The soft ride was right up my alley, and the silky 9 speed auto was so smooth that changes were imperceptible most of the time.
You probably won’t use most of the tech in this Mercedes-Benz offering, but that dash board will take some beating.
It is a grand touring, boulevard cruiser, and that is fine by me.
It looks great, is very comfortable, and feels properly luxurious.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet
- Engine: 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 producing 245kW/480Nm
- Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
- Safety: Five stars
- Warranty: Three years
- Origin: Germany
- Price: from $157,500