Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Mercedes E-class Cabriolet: Test Drive Review
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Mercedes E-class Cabriolet: Test Drive Review

Date: 15 July 2010   |   Author:

Category: Sports
P11D price: £37,280
Key rival: BMW 3-series coupe

Mercedes is eyeing an opportunity with its new E-class cabrio range, which essentially replaces the CLK in the prestige brand's line-up.

Competing directly in pricing terms with the BMW 3-series Convertible and Audi A5 Cabriolet, despite the E-class name and styling coming from a sector above its rivals, it's the first Merc drop-top to have diesel power. And like buses, it's not just one that's come along, as in this case there are E220, E250 and E350 CDI alternatives.

The convertible is prettier than its coupe sibling, and carries off the rare trick of looking good roof up or down, although down is the preferred look. The three-layer roof, claims Mercedes, is the most advanced fabric roof ever fitted to one of its cars, and will drop in 20 seconds and at speeds of up to 25mph.

The E250 CDI Convertible continues Mercedes' efforts to close the gap to its rivals in both price and efficiency terms, and it is both cheaper and cleaner than the A5 Cabriolet and 3-series Convertible.

Rear passenger space at least matches both prestige German rivals, with two adults fitting reasonably comfortable, although headroom is an issue if the roof's up. Rear visibility is also not great roof up, but refinement is impressive. In the front, it's not breezy with the roof down, and the optional £350 airscarf neck-level heaters add a nice burst of warm air to take the nip off colder summer mornings.

The 204hp 2.1-litre diesel is a strong yet frugal unit that doesn't clatter enough to intrude upon topless motoring, but the manual gearbox is a letdown compared with the smooth-shifting automatics Merc has a history of producing. Although there's an efficiency and tax penalty attached to the more expensive automatic, it's a price worth paying across the Mercedes range because the manual is notchy and more difficult than its rivals to get a smooth gearshift, especially in the lower gears.

Kwik Carcost predicts an impressive 44.4% retained residual value after three years and 60,000 miles, which leads to a 74.4p per mile running cost figure.

Mercedes has again proved it is back on the pace in the corporate marketplace. The E-class Cabriolet is arguably prettier than its prestige rivals, and in this incarnation it's both cheaper and more efficient. It's tempting, especially with the sun making its presence felt in recent weeks.

Mercedes-Benz E250 CDI Sport Cabriolet manual
P11D price£37,280
Model price range£33,345-£54,435
Fuel consumption50.4mpg
CO2 (tax) 153g/km (22%)
BIK 20/40% per month£137/£273
Service intervalmls
Insurance (1-50)group 37
Warranty3yrs/unlimited mls
Boot space450 litres
Engine size/power2143cc/204hp
Top speed/0-62mph155mph/7.8secs
On sale Spring 2010
VerdictPretty convertible is the
most sensible route to
the sun yet from Mercedes


Pretty convertible is the most sensible route to the sun yet from Mercedes