2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet first drive review: a true E at last Page 3


Mercedes added a few more all-season and utilitarian features for 2018 to make the car 365-day viable. The 4Matic all-wheel-drive system is offered for the first time on an E-Class Cabriolet, the leather has heat-reflecting properties to not scald bare legs on a hot day when wearing shorts or a skirt, and the rear seats now fold down in a 50/50 split to make the decent-sized trunk (no U.S. cargo measurement is available yet) more luggage-friendly. I also found the cooled seats to be a help on my trip through the mountains as the day grew hotter.

Inspired by yachts

Mercedes says the interior design was inspired by yachts—one of available interior colors is even called yacht blue. That’s appropriate in more ways than one. The driver’s seating position is notably low and boat-like. Perhaps bathtub-like is the better term. The high beltline makes it hard to see to the corners, especially for smaller drivers and that’s not helped by the driver’s seat, which could raise a bit higher.

Back seat passengers will be almost as comfortable as those up front. The E Cab accommodates two in the back and they have plenty of head room and leg room with the top up or down. In fact, The E Cab has more rear leg room than the larger S-Class Cabriolet.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

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2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

Enlarge Photo
2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

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Interior materials are of the highest quality and the design is stunning. The line the runs around the circumference of the cabin is reminiscent of high-end boats, the air vents look like miniature turbines, and the dash is slathered in leather, aluminum, and wood. Mercedes offers 64 colors of ambient lighting to highlight the details, and the dashboard comes with at least one if not two 12.3-inch screens. When two are ordered (the second is in place of the instrument panel), they come together as one mammoth digital interface.

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

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Somewhat incompatible with the mission of a convertible is Mercedes suite of autonomous driving functions. The E-Class Cabriolet can follow a vehicle ahead at speeds up to 130 mph, follow the road when the lane markings aren’t clear at speeds up to 81 mph, change lanes for the driver once the turn signal is activated, and apply the brakes and amplify steering inputs if it detects an impending crash. Thankfully for those who like to drive, the autonomous functions have to be turned on via the steering wheel, but the safety side of those features is always operational. I made use of none of these features in my trek through the Alps to Mont Blanc.

Then again, perhaps those autonomous driving functions aren’t anathema to the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet. This is the first true E Cab in a generation, after all, and it should have all the tech of the other E-Class body styles, along with the room of a mid-size car, the top-up isolation of a sedan, and the power and handling of its siblings—all while offering the pleasure of top-down driving.

For a price of roughly $68,000 ($71,000 with 4Matic), the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet delivers on these promises and more. It is a true E, and it is one fine way to drive through the French Alps in June.

Mercedes-Benz provided travel and lodging to Internet Brands Automotive to bring you this firsthand report.


 
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