The convertible segment is dwindling, but a complete makeover and a more driver-friendly chassis could make the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet an unexpected hit.
The star of the Mercedes-Benz booth at next week’s Geneva Auto Show will be the brand-new 2018 E-Class Cabriolet.
The drop-top is the final body style to join the E-Class family, and it’s all but identical to the Coupe that debuted in Detroit earlier this year, from the rocker panels up to the belt line. Above that, it boasts a power-operated cloth soft top that opens or closes in 20 seconds at up to 30 mph.
The new Cabriolet stands out from its predecessor with a more fluid design that has fewer angles. It’s also longer, wider, and a little bit taller than the outgoing model, and it boasts sportier proportions. Standard 18-inch alloy wheels fill the flared wheel arches, while the list of optional features includes an LED Intelligent Light System that puts on a light show as the driver approaches or leaves the vehicle. Clearly, the E-Class Cabriolet was developed to make an entrance.
It’s more of a driver’s car, too. Until Mercedes introduces its new straight-six engine, power for the E-Class Cabriolet is provided by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine rated at 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. The six spins the rear wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission, though Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive system is available at an extra cost for the first time ever.
Vents integrated into the seatbacks keep the front occupants warm, so they can leave the top down even if 4Matic takes them to Vail, Colorado, in the middle of January. The optional, segment-exclusive Warmth and Comfort package brings heating to the door armrests, center console, steering wheel, and rapid-heating front seats.
The Cabriolet offers leather-upholstered seating for four passengers, and like all E-Classes, it benefits from the latest tech, comfort, and luxury features. These include a 12.3-inch display for the infotainment system, touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel, car-to-x communication, and Pre-Safe Sound, which protects the occupants ears in the event of a crash.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet will arrive in showrooms before the end of the year. Look for a pricing announcement before then.