What is it: The Mercedes E400 Cabriolet is a rock-solid, sporty-ish convertible with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 and nine-speed automatic transmission. All E-Class convertibles use that powertrain, so really the only decision is whether you want rear- or all-wheel drive. Launched last July, the convertible was the last E-Class family member redone, with the sedan, wagon and coupe revamped over the previous 12 months.
Key Competitors: BMW 440i xDrive convertible, Audi S5 Cabriolet
Base Price: $69,795 As-Tested Price: $87,415
Highlights: The twin-turbo V6 is good for 329 hp, enough for a 5.3-second 0-60 sprint (not that potential customers are going to care). The nine-speed gearbox is smooth like butter and works well with this engine. Our example was loaded to the hilt, thus the near-19 grand difference between the base and as-tested price.
Full review: 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Our Opinion: Mercedes-Benz’s E400 Cabriolet is a smooth, quiet, lovely midsize convertible. It’s perfect for top-down motoring — for taking the long way home.
The whole E-Class range has been redone over the last couple years. Like the rest of the line, the convertible is slightly longer and wider than the outgoing model. The new shape is handsome with the top up or down, adding some style to the E lineup.
And the interior! My goodness it’s gorgeous, with excellent materials and build quality to match. There’s also a bit more room in there now, including more rear-seat room. Yup, you can actually fit two adult humans back there, if that matters to you.
The twin-turbo V6 and nine-speed automatic trans combine for some real oomph when you leg it, and it’s sufficient, steady and smooth when you’re just cruising along. The chassis is solid and the ride smooth, so comfortably covering great distances is a cinch. In fact, that could well be the car’s best trait. The steering is accurate with good feel, but it might not matter: This example has Benz’s optional Drive Pilot, part of the $9,350 Premium 3 package. I just set the speed and off I go with no steering or pedal input for short periods. On city streets the car stays in its lane, adjusting speed as needed depending on what’s happening ahead.
If you insist on spicing things up some, the optional adjustable air suspension’s sport and sport-plus modes make things more interesting on winding roads, and the paddle shifters can also add a little fun.
If the sticker price frightens you, consider our tester is loaded to the gunnels with stuff. Besides Premium 3, it also has AMG wheels and a body kit, plus heated and cooled seats, wireless phone charging, widescreen digital instruments, so on and so forth.
Overall this is a car for cruising along the lake on a gorgeous summer night or a longer road trip with no particular destination in mind. Its combination of comfort, smoothness and refinement makes it terrific for either.
Options: Premium 3 package including keyless-go, active emergency stop assist, active parking assist, rear cross-traffic alert, active blind spot assist, hands-free access, Burmester surround sound system, SiriusXM radio with six-month trial, near-field communication (NFC) technology, inductive wireless charging with NFC pairing, adaptive highbeam assist, LED intelligent light system headlamps, air balance cabin fragrance system, air balance cabin-air purification system, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, active distance assist DISTRONIC, active steering assist, evasive steering assist, active lane keeping assist, active lane change assist, active speed limit assist, surround view system, head-up display ($9,350), AMG line including AMG body styling, sport steering wheel, brushed aluminum pedals, and black headliner ($2,500), air body control air suspension ($1,900), designo Magnolia “Flowing Lines” wood ($1,300), lunar blue metallic ($720), soft close doors ($550), 19-inch AMG twin five-spoke wheels ($500), heated and ventilated front seats ($450), illuminated door sills with Mercedes-Benz lettering ($350)