It’s a feature-rich technological feast, and a dramatic improvement over the previous-generation model if our first drive is anything to go by.
There’s lots to cover, so let’s dive in to some of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet’s more noteworthy features.
- This is technically only the second true E-Class convertible. The previous model was actually based on C-Class underpinnings and was substantially smaller, while prior to that model your biggest option for a Mercedes four-seat drop top was the CLK Cabriolet – again, based on the C-Class. The first real E-Class convertible was the W124-generation 300CE of 1991.
- Mercedes really, really doesn’t want you to mess up your hair when driving roof-down, and has expended great effort in equipping the new E-Class Cabriolet with a system designed to keep your follicles undisturbed. Dubbed “Aircap”, it pairs a movable spoiler above the windshield with a retractable wind blocker behind the rear seats to help raise the turbulent airflow above the passenger cabin. It works, and has the most profound effect for rear seat passengers – but it’s at its best when all four windows are raised too.
- Top-down comfort also benefits from the available heated/ventilated seats, while a set of heated fans in the front headrests can also blow warm air onto the back of your neck. Perfect for cold-weather cruising.
- While some convertibles use a folding metal hard top (like BMW’s 4 Series Convertible), Mercedes-Benz’s designers deliberately chose a fabric soft top for its tighter packaging potential, light weight and greater flexibility in terms of shape. Viewed side-on with the roof raised, the Cabriolet sports a very similar silhouette to the E-Class Coupe.
- Compared to the outgoing E-Class Cabriolet, the new model is 38 percent more torsionally rigid. Thank more modern modular architecture underneath, and a reinforcing frame that ties the rear suspension together with the roof mechanism and chassis.
- It may weigh almost 2000kg in E400 4Matic form, but there’s plenty of lightweight features in the new E-Class Cabriolet. Die-cast alloy components help shave mass from the car’s structure, and the front quarter panels, bonnet and bootlid are constructed from sheet aluminium. The use of a fabric roof also saves 50kg compared to a folding hard top.
- Even something as mundane as the windscreen wipers have come in for a rethink, with the wiper washers designed to squirt liquid directly into the path of the blades – and only in the right volume to clear the glass. If the roof is down, you shouldn’t be splashed by any stray dribbles of water. Oh – the whole wiper system is also heated in low temperatures to help clear frost or snow.