Review: Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet (2010 – 2017)
Elegant styling. Little top-down turbulence. Good selection of petrol and CDI diesel engines. Roof folds down (and up) on the move.
Not very exciting or involving to drive. Awkward shaped boot, Cramped rear seats. Springy manual gearchange. Four-cylinder diesels noisy with roof down.
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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet (2010 – 2017): At A Glance
You won't find a CLK Cabriolet in the Mercedes-Benz range any more. That's because it's been replaced with this - the E-Class Cabriolet. In many areas, it's business as usual. It's elegant, refined to drive and continues to have a quick-folding fabric roof. That means there's a reasonable amount of luggage space, unlike some alternatives with metal folding roofs.
But in other ways, it's totally different to the old CLK. It feels larger, for a start, and there's now room in the back for two adults to sit comfortably. The previous CLK was based on the old C-Class, but this new car shares much more with the latest E-Class and the name change reflects that. The dash and switchgear is all from the E-Class saloon, so looks good and is intuitive to use. Standard equipment levels are decent and all models come with a system called AirCap, which prevents buffetting at high speed when the roof is down. You also get to choose from some of Mercedes-Benz's best options, including AirScarf, which blows hot air out from the seatback around your neck.
Of course the main feature is the folding roof and the E-Class Cabriolet features the most advanced fabric roof ever fitted to a Mercedes-Benz. It's acoustically tuned and features impressive levels of noise reduction and temperature insulation to create one of the quietest and calmest roof-up cabins of any fabric convertible. Ideal for year round use.
One the move it feels very refined but the handling lacks the sparkle of other drop tops, like the BMW 3 Series Convertible, so it's not as enjoyable or engaging to drive. Elements like the springy manual gearchange and a lack of steering feel don't help. It's very quiet at speed though and is surprisingly quiet for a convertible. There's also a good engine line-up with a spread of petrols and diesels, although the smaller four-cylinder E220 CDI and E250 CDI diesel models don't really suit the cabriolet image as they're too noisy.
What does a Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet (2010 – 2017) cost?
Buy a used Mercedes-Benz E-Class from £26,999
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet (2010 – 2017): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 300–390 litres
Mercedes-Benz describes the E-Class Cabriolet as perfect for tackling all four of the UK's unpredictable seasons and the fabric hood is certainly an impressive one. It's incredibly well insulated which means you won't suffer when it's very cold (or indeed if you leave it parked in bright sunshine on a hot day) plus it's been 'acoustically optimised' which basically means it's very quiet on the motorway with hardly any wind or outside road noise. Dropping the roof down takes just 20 seconds and it's fully automatic so there are no catches or handles to release and it silently glides away to leave a neat metal cover and no ugly bits of mechanism exposed.
The roof can also be operated at speeds of up to 25mph which is very useful if you get stuck in a sudden downpour while sitting in traffic or if the lights change when you're halfway through dropping it down. The controls for operating the roof are just ahead of the arm rests in their own flip-top compartment but annoyingly you can often knock the top open when changing gear - having them on the other side would have made more sense. One neat feature is that the roof can be lowered or raised using the car's keyfob for the ultimate in posing.
Mercedes-Benz is making much of its new AirCap system. This isn't to be confused with the existing AirScarf system which blows warm air around your neck from vents in the seat backs (and is very useful if you want to have the top down on a less than sunny day) which is an optional extra. Instead AirCap comes as standard and is made up of two features - a wind deflector on top of the windscreen that can be extended by around six centimetres plus a draught-stop between the rear seats.
The wind deflector elevates the airflow above the passenger's heads, while the net raises the pressure level in the interior, reducing the backflow, which is curbed by the draught-stop. As a result, the cabin air movements are significantly reduced so there's less wind buffetting on the move and less noise too. It works very well and is one of the most impressive system when it comes to making convertibles more comfortable (especially for those in the back) at motorway speeds.
The cabin is well laid out with a neat design but some of the plastics feel a little hard too and there are switches shared with the much cheaper Mercedes-Benz A-Class, which isn't what you'd expect on a sleek convertible at this price. There's no denying the build quality and this is an area Mercedes-Benz has clearly focussed on. It feels robust and the finish is top notch. It's surprising that the E-Class Cabriolet still uses a foot-operated parking brake though - you'd expect an electric version on a car this modern.
Standard equipment from launch (March 2010):
SE modelscome with 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear Parktronic parking sensors with Advanced Parking Guidance, heated front seats partly electrically adjustable, a leather interior, automatic dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, a Nappa leather steering wheel and Aircap as standard. The list of standard-fit safety features includes Attention Assist, Pre-Safe, seven airbags, agility control suspension, ESP and ABS, active bonnet and Neck-Pro head restraints.
Sport features 18-inch AMG alloy wheels, AMG bodystyling, Intelligent Light System, a sports braking system, multi-contour front seats, Artico upholstery, stainless steel pedals, xenon Intelligent headlight system with LED daytime running lights and an AMG three-spoke steering wheel.
Child seats that fit a Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet (2010 – 2017)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet (2010 – 2017) like to drive?
The E-Class Cabriolet has more of an elegant and sleek look rather than a sporty edge and this is reflected in the driving experience. It's a very comfortable and easy car to drive, but isn't especially involving on the move. The steering has decent weight but lacks feel and so you don't feel especially encouraged to tackle more demanding roads with any enthusiasm. Instead it feels much happier at a more relaxed pace where you can enjoy having the roof down.
The ride is on the firm side, but this is only really noticeable on particularly poor road surfaces. Of course this is down to the fact the E-Class has a stiff bodyshell to compensate for the roofless design. It's actually 30 per cent stiffer than the CLK and features incredibly robust windscreen pillars to prevent vibration and flex when it's driven with the roof down. It certainly works because the E-Class Cabriolet feels as refined with the roof down as when it's up. There's no shaking or vibration when you go over potholes and in corners it's just as precise with well controlled body roll.
It's also impressive on the motorway where it's as quiet and smooth as an E-Class saloon. The insulated roof means that outside noise is well cut out and there's none of the wind rustling you usually associate with fabric hoods. The rear windscreen is a proper glass affair (rather than plastic) and it's a good size too so rear visibility isn't a problem on the move. The one issue is the AirCap system which includes a wind deflector between the rear headrests. It lowers down but is still a hindrance when looking in the rearview mirror.
When it comes to engines there's a wide range in the E-Class Cabriolet. The names are a little confusing though as the badges don't always reflect the size of the engine. So the entry-level engine is a turbocharged 1.8-litre which is available with two different power outputs - 184bhp in the E200 CGI and 204bhp in the E250 CGI.
Aside from the power outputs, a key difference between the two engines is that the E200 CGI has a standard six-speed manual gearbox, while the E250 CGI has a standard five-speed auto. Both turn-in decent performance figures, with the E200 CGI getting to 62mph in 8.8 seconds and the auto-only E250 CGI covering the same distance in 7.8 seconds. The manual gearbox that comes as standard on most models has quite a springy change and the high central stack gets in the way of your elbow, so changing gear quickly isn't very easy. It's a much happier gearbox when not rushed but driving at slow speed can be a pain too, not helped by the springy clutch.
The five-speed automatic that's standard on the E250 CGI isn't great either though, especially when you consider that top models get a more advanced seven-speed auto. It often needs to be provoked to kick down in order to get any decent pace and this means the engine spends a lot of its time at high revs, where it's noisy. For a high-end car this combination seems quite lacklustre unless you're happy just pottering around.
The V6 petrol comes in the shape of the smooth and refined 3.5-litre E350 CGI with 292bhp but the top version is the wonderful 5.5-litre E500 V8 which boasts 387bhp and bags of low-down pulling power. Both engines are refined and have a satisfying 'burble' - the E500 V8 especially so. Neither hang about, with the E350 CGI getting from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds and the E500 in just 5.3 seconds. Both engines are matched to Mercedes-Benz's excellent seven-speed automatic gearbox which delivers incredibly rapid but smooth changes.
Unlike the previous CLK Cabriolet, the E-Class Cabriolet is available with diesel power - and there's a wide choice too. The line-up starts with the E220 CDI and the E250 CDI, both of which use the same 2.2-litre diesel engine. In terms of performance, they are a match for the petrol-powered E200 CGI and E250 CGI, yet up to 52.3mpg is possible with the E220 CDI. And that's the great draw. Emissions are low too at 143g/km CO2 and 148g/km respectively.
Both have plenty of torque, especially the E250 CDI which delivers 500Nm at just 1600rpm along with maximum power of 204bhp. As a result it pulls very strongly in gear and makes for effortless overtaking and motorway driving, although again it's somewhat hampered by the manual gearbox which doesn't really allow you to make the most of exploiting that power, instead you tend to focus on making deliberate and gentle gear shifts. The other criticism of both four-cylinder diesel models is the sound. While they're fairly quiet from inside with the roof up, from the outside they're pretty noisy and it's not a nice note either. It's not quite agricultural, but with the roof down, it does tend to be all you can hear on the move.
The larger E350 CDI is much better suited to the convertible image. It's a 231bhp 3.0-litre V6 engine which is a real gem. Strong and muscularm it sounds exactly like a V6 diesel should and in everyday driving, the sheer acceleration from low revs is amazing. 0-62mph comes up in 6.9 seconds but what impresses more is the engines ability to effortlessly build speed from 40mph or 50mph. Like the E350 CGI and E500 models, this gets the seven-speed gearbox which does sometimes seem superfluous given the sheer amount of torque available - 540Nm in total, but it actually works very well and is rarely caught out if you ask it to quickly accelerate. What's even more impressive is fuel consumption of 40.4mpg.
|E200 Automatic||42–45 mpg||8.2 s||146–153 g/km|
|E200 CGI||39 mpg||8.8 s||168–173 g/km|
|E200 CGI Automatic||42 mpg||8.3 s||157–164 g/km|
|E220 CDI||54–58 mpg||8.8 s||127–142 g/km|
|E220 CDI Automatic||53–59 mpg||8.7 s||126–142 g/km|
|E220 d Automatic||57 mpg||8.5 s||129–133 g/km|
|E250 CDI||55–58 mpg||7.7–7.8 s||128–142 g/km|
|E250 CDI Automatic||53–58 mpg||7.7 s||128–142 g/km|
|E250 CGI||42 mpg||7.8 s||157–164 g/km|
|E350 CDI||47 mpg||6.4 s||159–162 g/km|
|E350 CDI Automatic||49 mpg||6.7 s||154 g/km|
|E350 CGI||39 mpg||6.4 s||168–175 g/km|
|E350 d Automatic||50 mpg||6.5 s||143–148 g/km|
|E400 Automatic||36–38 mpg||5.3 s||173–185 g/km|
|E500||31 mpg||5.2 s||213 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet (2010 – 2017)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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Faulty DAB on E-Class - Where do I stand legally?
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