Competes with: BMW 6 Series convertible, Audi A7, Lexus GS
Looks like: An E-Class coupe with a soft-top and giant C-pillars
Drivetrain: 329-horsepower, twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6; 354 pounds-feet of torque; nine-speed automatic transmission; rear- or all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Late 2017
Mercedes has certainly taken its time rolling out the 10th generation of the mid-size E-Class. The redesigned sedan and wagon were released in 2016, followed by the coupe as a 2018 model. The new cabriolet completes the lineup with the same updates seen on the other body styles that expand the convertible’s technology and safety features.
The E-Class cabriolet has a very similar silhouette to the coupe but is easily distinguishable thanks to that giant soft-top and a larger C-pillar. The cabriolet’s swept-back profile accentuates the length of the hood and gives it a sleek profile. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard, as are LED headlights, daytime running lights and taillights.
The soft-top is available in four different colors: dark brown, dark blue, red or black, which offers the potential for a lot of customization. The top can be raised or lowered in 20 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph.
This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the first E-Class cabriolet and Mercedes is celebrating by launching a special edition that comes with the red soft-top and a new red paint color, along with 19-inch 10-spoke wheels.
A giant 12.3-inch widescreen display is standard along with the Comand multimedia system and navigation. In addition to the touchpad and controller in the center console, there are also touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel that can accept swiping inputs so the driver’s hands can stay on the wheel. Another 12.3-inch display, which replaces the instrument panel, is optional; if this second screen is added, both displays sit behind one piece of glass that runs along the dashboard and gives the cabin a futuristic look. Other available features include massaging seats and wireless device charging.
For those who want to put the top down even when it’s cold outside, Mercedes’ Aircap and Airscarf systems are optional. Aircap combines a wind deflector located on the roof frame above the windshield and a wind blocker behind the rear seats. Airscarf adds heaters to the seats that circulate hot air around the neck area (like a scarf) to keep occupants warm.
Our editors were surprised at the coupe version’s roomy backseat; we are hopeful that the cabriolet will offer ample leg- and headroom for passengers back there as well. Those seats also fold in a 50/50 configuration for carrying longer cargo.
25th Anniversary models add beige and red upholstery, light brown elm wood trim pieces, velour floormats with “25th Anniversary” embroidery, and illuminated door sill panels.
Under the Hood
At launch, the E-Class cabriolet will only be offered as an E400 model, which means there is one available engine and transmission combination: A 329-hp, twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 that makes 354 pounds-feet of torque joins a nine-speed automatic transmission. The E400 will be rear-wheel drive, but for the first time, the cabriolet will be offered with all-wheel drive on the E400 4Matic. Fuel economy figures are not yet available for the cabriolet.
An air suspension is optional, which comes with three settings that adjust stiffness for greater ride comfort or sharper handling.
When Mercedes redesigned this latest generation of E-Class, the biggest advances were in safety technology, and all of those innovations make it into the cabriolet version as well. Standard safety features include automatic forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection and a Pre-Safe Sound system. The latter can detect when an accident will occur and then emit a burst of “pink noise” that triggers the ear’s natural defense against loud noises and helps reduce hearing loss after a collision.
Several semi-autonomous features are optional, including adaptive cruise control with speed limit adjustments, active lane change assist — which automatically changes lanes for you if you leave the signal on and no car is detected in the next lane — and evasive steering assist.
Pricing is not yet available for the 2018 E-Class cabriolet and will be announced loser to its on sale date in late 2017.