New E-Class range is completed by the Cabriolet – does it work best as a 2.0-litre diesel?
The fourth and final piece in the new E-Class range (after the saloon, coupé and estate) is this Cabriolet. There aren’t than many rivals in this luxury four-seat drop-top niche, but the ones that do exist – principally the Audi A5 Cabriolet and BMW 4 Series Convertible – represent tough opposition.
The E220d Cabriolet has a four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel engine and a nine-speed automatic gearbox. We like this engine as it proves you don’t need a six-cylinder motor to power a large and weighty car like this. Low-rev urge is strong, and you’ll be whisked up to motorway speeds with deceptive ease, at which point you’ll be hardly hearing a thing and 40mpg is very much on the cards.
Mercedes E220d AMG Line Cabriolet
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, diesel
Torque: 295lb ft
Gearbox: 9-spd automatic
Top speed: 147mph
CO2, tax band: 126g/km, 27%
You wouldn’t buy a Cabriolet for winding roads. It’s a lover not a fighter, displaying more body flex and less coherent steering than the coupé, a fair chunk of body roll, and a degree of jiggling on broken roads that will be familiar to owners of the A5 Cabriolet and 4 Series Convertible. Our test Cabriolet was further hampered by its standard steel springs. Although things do smooth out on faster roads, we’d still advise investigating the optional (£1495) air suspension that works so well on the E350d and E400 models.
When the roof is in place, the outside world is kept well at bay. Drop it – an operation that takes 20 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph – and buffeting from the wind is minimal. You will hear a few cabin squeaks and rattles, but the overall noise level is rather lower in the E-Class Cabriolet than it is in the A5, and a pervading sense of classiness is lent to the Mercedes by its attractive wood and chrome trim. Space is plentiful in the front and in the boot, but the rear seats aren’t going to be enjoyed on long trips by most adults.
Mercedes’ Comand infotainment system is intuitive enough, but buyers might want to consider moving up to the £495-extra 12.3in widescreen. The Airscarf system that is provided free of charge is effective at keeping passengers’ upper bodies and heads warm in top-down driving by blowing heated air through vents in the front seats.
Overall, the E-Class Cabriolet is a commendably luxurious open-top and we’d nominate this E220d variant as the best model to choose if a combination of elegance, low running costs, comfortable cruising and cabin opulence is considered to be worth having.
Our only caveat is the fidgety ride on bad roads, but given that this characteristic is also present in the E-Class Cabriolet’s rivals, the Mercedes retains its position at the top of the class pile.