There is nothing subtle about the Mercedes Benz E400 Cabriolet. It screams “look at me, please”.
There are lashings of shiny bits, along with 20” AMG alloys, and the ability to match or contrast your body and roof. It adds a touch of verisimilitude to a road experience from the halcyon days of motoring
The stylish 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 ragtops is that they take less space in the boot. It allows for a slender rump and makes the silhouette as svelte as a super-model. Loving metal folding roofs as I do, they give rear ends a matronly make over, and not in a good way.
The fabric roof is fully automatic and can be operated from the fob. Its multi-layer construction makes the cabin whisper quiet. Only the heaviest of rain makes more than a comforting patter overhead.
The Roof REMOTE operation here
The interior and instruments explained here
Fully automated parking here
- 20-inch AMG multi-spoke alloy wheels
- AIR BODY CONTROL Air Suspension
- AIRCAP & AIRSCARF
- Black Ash Open-Pore Wood Trim
- DAB+ 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
- Roll-over protection developed specifically for the Cabriolet design
The Burmester® surround sound system with 13 speakers, 9-channel DSP amplifier & 590watt output rates 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
Engine: 3.0L, Bi-turbo, V6, direct injection, ECO Start/Stop
Transmission: 9 speed G-tronic
Drive Wheels: 4MATIC AWD
Fuel: 95 RON
AIR BODY CONTROL Air Suspension provides a magic carpet ride. Even in the sportiest of the drive modes, the ride is superb. Ultra-low profile tyres have a bit of a hum on some road surfaces and clunk over pot holes, but who cares?
You lope along completely disconnected from the outside world, even when going topless.
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.
Steering is very light most of the time, which is just the way I like it. The notion that any modern car with electric steering has road feel is a nonsense. The system simulates road feel with good calibration, so you simply have to know the car will go where you point it.
Seating for 4 is promised but back seats, as always, might not be for the very tallest of us. There is plenty of leg and toe room as long as the seats are set higher up in front.
We took some challenging roads with tight rutted corners in very wet weather, but the E400 was not bothered. Wind noise was almost undetectable roof-up, and as expected roof-down. The wind deflectors helped somewhat, but if you don’t want drafts, where a coat.
The E400 is claimed to have a 5.2second 0-100, 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. Power is delivered smoothly right from down low.
It was at home on suspect country roads, smooth straight highways, and charismatic city lanes, but I was in no hurry to get anywhere. The Mercedes asks you politely before it does anything untoward. The lane control system seems to have improved over the years, but does wander in the lane from time to time.
The system will disengage without warning too. We are not yet at the stage where any driver willingly turns over control fully to a machine, but that time is very near.
The brakes have good gradual feel, without that dreadful face-to-windscreen feel that her AMG sisters have.
Hard edged sports cars are great for the occasional thrash, but it is so wearing on the nearves.
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, Aircap and Airscarf
No So Good Bits
Awkward Apple CarPlay interface, ride can wallow, price
The supple ride was right up my alley, and the silky 9 speed auto was as silky as a Bublé ballad. You probably won’t use most of the tech, but that dash board will take some beating. I’d like to be able to tailor it further though.
It is a grand touring, boulevard cruiser, and that is fine by me. As quick as AMG models are, they cost many more farthings, and ruin your ride, and probably your back as well. You could cover huge distances as easily as going to the sops.
Buyers of cars like these will no doubt have one of those fangled SUV things for heavier duty work like towing the horses to polo. I’d more happily meet them there in the convertible thanks very much.
You get to a stage in life where getting there is more important that going around corners at warp 10. Smelling the fresh air and hearing whip birds calling might sound corny, until you try it. The aloof drive is for those who like to arrive refreshed and relaxed.
Competitors like the BMW 6 series, and Audi A5 are also worthy of a mention.
I wouldn’t want to have to pick between them, but I’ll admit to having quite a fancy for the air suspension and the road feel of the E400, and it would be my pick.
I’ll always go for the drop-top. It looks great, is very comfortable, and feels properly luxurious.
Engine: 3.0L, Bi-turbo, V6, direct injection, ECO Start/Stop, 4MATIC AWD
Transmission: 9 speed G-tronic