The coupe and cabriolet models E-Class Mercedes-Benz have been refreshed and enhanced and are now updated to match their sedan and station wagon brethren. The facelift includes new styling to both the front and rear of the body with a balanced and well-proportioned styling package.
M-B has bucked the four and V6 engine trends with an in-line six-cylinder engine, and this is coupled to a nine-speed automatic. A 48-volt integrated starter-generator system is integrated with this powertrain which provides an additional 21 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. With a luxurious cabin, comfortable seating, and array of driving assist systems, the E-Class provides exceptional driving characteristics which make travelling down the road a pleasant experience.
The car tested had the optional AMG package with larger wheels and tires, AMG styling cues, and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.
With 362 horsepower available, the 450 is not the quickest car on the road, but the in-line six provides unparalleled smoothness and enough power for almost all road conditions. The car uses the nine-speed auto to its best advantage and shifts both up and down at the right times. The convertible top is simple to operate, and its multi-layered composition provides excellent noise abatement. With its top up, the cabriolet is almost as quiet as a coupe or sedan when highway travelling. The front seats provide excellent support with a wide range of settings and the chunky steering wheel comes readily to the driver’s hands. The shifter is a modest stalk on the right side of the steering column and a pleasant change from a console-mounted unit.
The E450 provides smooth acceleration with torque that only an in-line six can offer. The cabriolet offers restrained dignity in styling with the roof either up or down. The styling blends a somewhat aggressive stance but is self-controlled. The interior and dashboard follows this trend with sumptuous materials and controls in the right places. The graphics on the large 12.3-inch central screen are outstanding. Soft-close doors and memory front seats are standard. The operation of the convertible roof will remind those who remember the drop-top Ford Skyliners of the late 1950s with opening body panels and a roof that tucks into the rear behind the back seat, but its functions are seamless and provide entertainment for friends and neighbors. And there is a decent amount of trunk space when the top is down.
Very little to mention here. Shod with 245/35R/20 Goodyear tires, the ride was harsher than expected with these rubber-band sized tires and the E450 would offer a more graceful ride with taller tires. The large array of controls and screen images can be daunting at first and the large doors are ponderous but feel well balanced and provide good entry and exit. The rear seating area would be tight for adults. The rear seat headrests should fold down when not in use as in other convertibles, and this would provide much more rear view with the top either up or down.
The E450 is a unique entry into the luxury class, pampering its occupants for top-down driving. The car is fairly heavy but provided good mileage and would also provide a smoother ride with 45-series tires. Obviously the E450 is not a track car. It is set up with a nod to performance, but its forte is comfortable and elegant long-distance travel.
Price as tested: Base, $88,900. As tested, $99,700 which includes AMG wheels, Premium, Technology, and Intelligent Drive packages.
Engine: In-line six cylinder, 2999-cc. Integrated starter/generator and 48-volt on-board electrical which offers an additional 21 hp.
Power/Torque: 362-hp/369 lb-ft
Fuel Mileage: 8-12 L per 100kms
Drivetrain: Fulltime 4MATIC AWD. Nine-speed automatic transmission, 2.87:1 final drive, rack and pinion steering, multi-link suspension with coils front and rear, 14.2-inch ventilated brake rotors, 245/35R/20 rims/tires, auto-ride control offering three settings.
Weight: 1964 kgs (approx.)
Fuel tank capacity: 65.86 liters
Passenger volume: N/A
Cargo volume: 385 liters
Trailer towing: N/A
Story and Photos by Tim Miller