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CLASSY CABRIO (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
In its latest form, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet has an exotic feel, thinks Jonathan Crouch
Ten Second Reviewword count: 55
Mercedes' E-Class Cabriolet brings an extra touch of class to the executive drop-top sector, a very cultured convertible that aims to set new standards for comfort and refinement in its segment. With the impressive built quality, slippery aerodynamics and high-tech engines, it's a tempting package for those wanting a drop-top to use all year round.
Backgroundword count: 140
On paper, a Mercedes might directly compete against products of other premium brands. Traditionally in the metal though, the aim has always been for the Three-Pointed Star to feel a class above. It isn't always the case, but one good example that springs to mind is this car, the Stuttgart brand's E-Class Cabriolet. It's primarily based on the striking Coupe variant and shares much the same engineering and drive characteristics. On paper, it's a direct rival for more expensive versions of drop-top BMW 4 Series or Audi A5 models. But live with one and the feeling you get is more of something that's an acceptable halfway house between cars like these and the kind of Bentley you'd really rather have. This time round, the appeal is strengthened by a more sophisticated 9-speed auto gearbox and the option of full-air suspension.
Driving Experienceword count: 240
As you'd expect, this E-Class Convertible shares its engineware with the E-Class Coupe, which means that all models get 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission and there's a 194hp 2.0-litre diesel engine in the entry-level E220d variant. There are five other engine options - a 340hp E400d diesel and four petrol choices, the 245hp four cylinder E300 and the 299hp E350 (both 2.0-litres and four cylinders in size), then the two 6 cylinder 3.0-litre options, the 367hp E450 4MATIC and the Mercedes-AMG E 53 4MATIC which uses a biturbo 435hp unit. All variants are equipped as standard with the DYNAMIC SELECT system that allows you to tweak steering feel, throttle response, gearshift timings and stability control thresholds to suit the way you want to drive. If you opt to replace the standard DIRECT CONTROL suspension (lowered by 15mm over the saloon model) with optional adaptive damping or DYNAMIC BODY CONTROL air suspension, the DYNAMIC SELECT system's modes will alter ride quality too. There are "Comfort", "ECO", "Sport", "Sport +" and "Individual" settings to choose from. Mercedes claims that handling response has improved this time round, thanks to this generation model's lighter weight and wider track. This isn't the kind of Executive segment convertible designed for a driving enthusiast though. Instead, the emphasis is on comfort and high-tech, with innovations including high-resolution MULTIBEAM LED headlamps and a DRIVE PILOT system that can virtually supply autonomous driving - depending on how you use it.
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