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  • 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic Cabriolet

    Posted on January 25th, 2018 ninarussin

    Four-season drop top

    By Nina Russin

    2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

    2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

    It wasn’t that long ago that convertibles were considered summer cars because cloth tops weren’t well enough insulated to keep the interiors warm in cold weather. The new Mercedes-Benz E400 changes that with an acoustic top that is not only weather-resistant but renders the interior as quiet as a sedan. When the top is deployed, an electronic windscreen manages airflow through the cabin for a more pleasant open-air experience.

    Available 4Matic all-wheel drive gives the E400 Cabriolet sure-footed performance in rain, ice and snow.

    Power comes from a three-liter V-6 bi-turbo engine and nine-speed automatic transmission, delivering 329-horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. The newest E-Class cabriolet is longer, wider and has a longer wheelbase than the outgoing model, increasing passenger space, especially in the back seats. Second-row seats also fold flat for some additional cargo space.

    2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

    2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

    Base price is $68,800 excluding the $995 destination charge. Options on the test car include AMG alloy rims with high-performance tires, multi-contoured heated and ventilated front seats, air suspension and a premium package including park assist, wireless charging, satellite radio, premium surround-sound audio, intelligent lighting, adaptive high beams, steering assist, autonomous braking, blind spot monitoring and a heads-up display. Final MSRP is $89,735.

    Test drive in Southern Arizona

    2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

    2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

    For those with the means to afford it, Mercedes-Benz’s newest cabrio is an irresistible package: it’s gorgeous, fast and user-friendly. The top deploys with a push of a button on the center console that also lowers the windows. Buttons on either side control the windscreen and enable the driver to reposition windows for additional protection.

    The V-6 bi-turbo engine provides exceptional power off the line thanks to its abundant torque, accelerating from zero-to-sixty in about five seconds. The nine-speed automatic transmission is evidence of how well these units can work if engineered properly: smooth progression through the gears with no hunting and no shift shock under normal driving conditions.

    The car is heavy, about 4200 pounds, and that affects fuel economy: about 22 miles-per-gallon on average according-to the EPA. On the flip side, if the unthinkable should occur, a little extra mass can be a benefit, as is the car’s rigid body structure.

    2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

    2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

    Optional air suspension on the test car delivers a supple ride. The suspension uses multiple chambers of different size in the spring struts so drivers can modify firmness according-to road conditions and their driving styles.

    Those familiar with Mercedes-Benz steering systems might find this one on the soft side, but on-center response remains positive. There is plenty of assist at lower speeds for maneuverability in and out of parking slots.

    All-wheel drive automatically sends torque to the wheels with the best traction, making the cabrio a logical choice for buyers in four-season climates who want the option of driving open-air in the summer. Four-wheel disc brakes stop the convertible in firm, linear fashion.

    Visibility around the perimeter is surprisingly good for a cabriolet with the top in place. The rear window is relatively large and glass, which unlike plastic won’t fog over time. Rearview and optional surround-view cameras enable the driver to see the entire perimeter when moving at slow speeds, both forward and in reverse.

    2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

    2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

    Since the coupe has no B-pillar, over-the-shoulder visibility is good. Blind spot monitoring illuminates LED signals in the side mirrors when vehicles in adjacent lanes pass through the driver’s blind spots.

    At night LED headlamps provide long beams of light that are close to daylight without draining the battery. Adaptive headlamps illuminate the corners of the road when the driver turns, making it easier to see pedestrians who might be waiting to cross at intersections. LED daytime running lamps make the car easier for other drivers to see in low light conditions.

    The three-layer insulated soft top creates a quiet interior rivaling the automaker’s coupes and sedans, so occupants can easily converse or enjoy the premium audio system on the highway.

    Upscale interior

    2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

    2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet

    Its larger dimensions give the newest E-Class convertible more interior space, most noticeable for second-row occupants. While there isn’t an overabundance of legroom, adults can sit in the second row for short trips around town without feeling uncomfortable.

    The automaker’s COMAND infotainment system that was at one time rather cumbersome is now user-friendly. I had no problems locating the audio controls and programing my channels.

    Both the center stack screen and gauge cluster are easy to see in bright sunlight and after dark.

    Tech-savvy customers will appreciate wireless phone charging, as well as standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

    At night, ambient lighting surrounds occupants and creates a gorgeous blue line that extends across the length of the instrument panel, adding another dimension to the interior design.

    Standard safety

    The Mercedes-Benz E400 comes with six airbags, antilock brakes, LED lighting, rearview camera, roll bars, active brake assist, tire pressure monitoring and 24-hour roadside assistance.

    Mercedes-Benz builds the E400 cabriolet at its Bremen, Germany assembly plant

    Like: A beautiful cabriolet with excellent performance, a spacious, well-designed interior and high level of safety technology. All-wheel drive gives the cabriolet better traction on rain and snow-covered roads.

    Dislike: Poor fuel economy. Expensive option packages significantly increase the cost of the vehicle.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Mercedes-Benz
    Model: E400 4Matic Cabriolet
    Year: 2018
    Base price: $68,800
    As tested: $89,735
    Horsepower: 329 HP @ 6000 rpm
    Torque: 354 lbs.-ft. @ 1600 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: About five seconds
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: No
    Off-road: No
    Towing: No
    Fuel economy: 20/25 mpg city/highway

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