9tro issue #5
Text by Cheryl Tay
I don’t mean to be rude, but the Mercedes-Benz E-class has always been stereotyped as old-fashioned. The CLK Cabriolet was then introduced to replace it and it sold very well, but it has since been removed.
In its place is the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet that is based on the more compact C-class platform instead of the chassis of the newest E-class. Fret not though, as space is not compromised in this open-top two-door model.
Most cabriolets often claim to be a four-seater but the rear seats end up being sufficiently comfortable for a child, much less an adult. The E350 Cabriolet test driven here however, is one of the few convertibles that truly seats four adults.
There are also passenger-friendly standard features like the manually operated entry and exit aid for the rear passengers where the front seats move out of the way with an easy flap, electronically returning to position after. Also, upon starting up the engine, the seatbelt is automatically extended for your convenience.
The soft top takes just 20 seconds to open or close, and can be operated up to speeds of 40km/h. This is very useful, unlike convertibles from before that require the gear lever to be in Park mode or the brake pedal to be depressed before the roof can function.
Within the boot is a retractable cover that separates the soft top compartment from the boot area. This cover must be closed otherwise the roof will not be able to unfold. When the roof is up, boot capacity is at 390 litres, no change from the old CLK cabriolet. When it’s down, boot space is reduced to 300 litres.
A new feature of the E350 Cabriolet is the Aircap automatic draught-stop system which reduces turbulence in the cabin at the push of a button. An aluminium and mesh diverter blade deploys above the windshield and prevents air from channeling into the cabin. It works with a mesh draft-stopper screen which is deployed between the two rear headrests.
The E350 Cabriolet is not as charming as its fellow coupe sibling. Tipping the scales more than the coupe version, it is no surprise that it takes longer to get from 0-100km/h time (taking 6.9 seconds compared to 6.6 seconds of the coupe) and a firmer ride.
Underneath the bonnet is a 3.5-litre 24-valve V6 engine that delivers performance through a seven-speed automatic with paddle shifts. Capable of a maximum 272bhp at 6,000rpm and 350Nm at 2,400-5,000rpm, the E350 Cabriolet’s steering is more precise than its CLK predecessor and has improved body control.
Though the design and styling of the new E-Class has helped reduce the stereotypical old-fashioned image, the mention of the name (without a visual) still inevitably brings about thoughts of a more senior driver behind the wheel. That said, the new E-Class coupe and cabriolet has given a whole new meaning to the range, possibly doing away with the whole stereotype one day.
Mercedes-Benz E350 Cabriolet
Engine: 3,498cc 24-valve V6
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic with paddle shift
Max Power: 272bhp at 6,000rpm
Max Torque: 350Nm at 2,400-5,000rpm
0-100 km/h: 6.9 secs
Top speed: 250 km/h (electronically limited)
Distributor: Cycle & Carriage