2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet - Quick Drive
Is this the perfect cool-weather cruiser?by Mark McNabb, on
The Florida air finally fell below 70 degrees as November closed out. The crispness isn’t common in these parts, though convertibles are a dime a dozen. Perhaps just as rare as the cool breeze – at least until sales escalate to full-force – is the all-new 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet. This is Mercedes’ newest E-Class drop-top and it closely impersonates the new-for-2017 E-Class sedan. The car looks like a baby S-Class and drives like one, too. It’s also dead quiet inside with its thickly insulated soft top in place. But quiet isn’t fun; I held the switch up as the blue canvas quickly tucked itself away ahead of the trunk. Push another button and wind deflectors behind the rear seats and atop the windshield deploy to keep the wood-trimmed cabin a bit more serene. More buttons heat the leather-trimmed seats and even sends warm air across my neck from the vented headrest Mercedes calls its AirScarf. I welcomed the 55-degree night with open arms, an open top, and blast down the Interstate.
Aside from its exceptionally warm heated seats and lovely AirScarf system, the new E-Class Cabriolet makes an impressive cruiser. Its new chassis is rock-solid and the optional “Air Body Control” suspension are a well-made match. The same is true for the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 and the nine-speed automatic transmission. Smoothness and poise are major themes here. Sadly, I only had a few days with the E400. I could have easily spent the next few years smelling the fragranced HVAC system and cutting through the night with the wind through my hair.
Continue reading for more on the 2018 E400 Cabriolet.
2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet - Quick Drive
Horsepower @ RPM:329 @ 5250
Torque @ RPM:354 @ 3500
0-60 time:5.3 sec.
Top Speed:128 mph
- All new design for 2018
- Triple-layered Acoustic soft top
- Available AMG Line styling package
- Soft-close doors
- Power-deployable air deflectors
The new 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet is, by all accounts, a seductively attractive machine
The new 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet is, by all accounts, a seductively attractive machine. Especially when coated in the $720 Iridium Silver Metallic paint with the $500 AMG Line 19-inch wheels, the Benz looks as if it’s cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway and Rodeo Drive at the same time – even if it’s sitting still. Sharp creases juxtapose soft lines and rounded arches to compile a beautifully proportioned convertible, making the E400 looks stunning regardless of whether its soft top is retracted or latched tight.
Speaking of the top, my tester came with the blue option. Black, brown, and red are options. A dark blue top might not be a conventional color choice, but combined with the silver paint, the blue hue makes for a great statement piece. Chrome around the windowsills, the grille, and long the E400’s rear help brighten things up.
The E400’s aggressive stance is definitely aided by the $2,500 AMG Line package. Not only does it add those 19-inch wheels available for purchase at $500, it also adds the AMG-style front fascia with larger intakes, the chrome grille inserts, and the more aggressive rear valance with chrome-tipped dual exhaust tips and air diffuser. Without the AMG Line, the E400 looks too soft, in my opinion.
|Vehicle length (Inches)||190.0|
|Vehicle width (Inches)||73.2|
|Vehicle height (Inches)||56.2|
|Track width, front (Inches)||63.3|
|Track width, rear (Inches)||63.5|
- Styled after the S-Class
- Available nautical themed interior colors
- Heated, vented, & massaging front seats
- AirScarf system blows warm air at neck
- Twin 12.3-inch displays
- LED accent lighting with 64 color choices
The E400 hardly drives like a boat, but my tester’s exterior and interior color combination sure have a nautical theme
The E400 hardly drives like a boat, but my tester’s exterior and interior color combination sure have a nautical theme. The interior is draped in Macchiato Beige and Yacht Blue Leather accented by Natural Grain Light Brown Elm Wood trim. And by the names of those color options, it’s clear Mercedes planned the nautical theme.
Blue isn’t exactly the most popular color for automotive interiors, but after sitting in the E400 for 10 seconds, it’s a shame the color combination isn’t seen more. The light beige color of the seats mixes surprisingly well with the Elm Wood trim and chrome accents. Add in the blue, and the three-part theme comes together like a Holy Trinity of seafaring goodness.
Mercedes did a fantastic job with comfort, luxury, and convenience features
As usual, Mercedes did a fantastic job with comfort, luxury, and convenience features. The seats have more power-operated surfaces than the wing of a Boeing 777, while offering three-level heating and ventilation, customizable massaging, and that nifty AirScarf system that direct warm air at the neck. Combined with the intensely warm heated seats, the E400 makes for a great cool-weather cruiser. The only curiously absent feature is a heated steering wheel. It’s a stand-alone option.
Part of the 2018 E-Class Cabriolet’s newness is its longer wheelbase. This directly correlates to more space for rear-seat passengers. Most 2+2 convertibles have barely usable rear seats, but those in the E400 are impressively comfortable. Front seat passengers barely need to scoot forward to accommodate full-size adults. Rear passengers also enjoy their own air vents, heated seats, and window controls.
Of course, the front occupants are treated like royalty. The level of craftsmanship and attention to detail is extremely impressive. The S-Class-like dashboard holds two, 12.3-inch screens – one for the gauge cluster and the other for the Command infotainment system. Both screens allow for customized views of information. Several viewing options are integrated into the gauge cluster with differing layouts for ground and engine speed.
The Command infotainment system is controlled via Mercedes’ hand controller on the center console
The Command infotainment system is controlled via Mercedes’ hand controller on the center console. The rotary dial twists for scrolling, while pushing down confirms selections. Selections can also be made on the trackpad above the dial. The adjacent controls operate the drive modes, the raised suspension setting, camera system, and automatic start/stop defeat. The rotary and mouse-like controls have a small learning curve, but once mastered, they work logically and efficiently.
Mercedes makes opening the convertible top an eventful process. Separate metal buttons just behind the Command controls operate the top, wind deflectors, and one-touch window controls. The deflectors worked amazingly at routing air above the open cabin, regardless of speed, making an open-air ride far more tolerable for those with long hair. And on the topic of controls, Mercedes’ location of the power seat controls is spectacular. Not only is it logical and perfectly in view, the finely crafted controls look like a million bucks and compliment the Burmester speaker grills, along with the other chrome accents, perfectly.
The 550-watt system pumps rich, clear sound through nine channels, two digital amplifiers, and 13 speakers placed throughout the cabin
The speaker grills aren’t the only beautiful thing about the Burmester Surround Sound System. The 550-watt system pumps rich, clear sound through nine channels, two digital amplifiers, and 13 speakers placed throughout the cabin. Even with the top down and running at Interstate speeds, music comes through exceptionally well. Naturally, the Benz has every modern method for music connection. There’s AM, FM, and SiriusXM, along with Bluetooth an AUX input, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Other handy features include wireless phone charging, several USB ports, touch-sensitive steering wheel controls, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and Mercedes’ interesting Magic Vision Control, which involves special wiper blades lined with jets for the windshield wiper fluid to squirt directly ahead of the wipers’ path. This allows windshield cleaning without overspray into the cabin.
|Effective rear legroom (Inches)||34.09|
|Max. front/rear headroom (Inches)||40.70/36.41|
|Front/rear shoulder room (Inches)||56.06/48.34|
|Front/rear elbow room (Inches)||58.74/51.49|
- 3.0-liter biturbo V-6
- 329 horsepower & 354 pound-feet of torque
- Nine-speed automatic transmission
- 4Matic AWD
- Air Body Control air suspension
- 0-to-60 mph in 5.3 seconds
- Top speed governed at 128 mph
The 2018 E400 Cabriolet is powered by a 3.0-liter biturbo V-6 making 329 horsepower between 5,250 and 6,000 rpm and 354 pound-feet of torque
Mercedes only offers one engine and transmission choice with the 2018 E400 Cabriolet. Customers can choose between rear-wheel drive and the 4Matic all-wheel drive, however. That engine is a 3.0-liter biturbo V-6 making 329 horsepower between 5,250 and 6,000 rpm and 354 pound-feet of torque impressively spanning from 1,600 to 4,000 rpm.
Backing the all-aluminum, direct-injected V-6 is Mercedes’ nine-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox allows for manual control via the paddle shifters. Shifting between park, reverse, neutral, and drive is done via a stalk mounted on the right side of the steering column.
The E400 Cabriolet isn’t a lightweight car, tipping the scales at 4,300 pounds with a 55/45 percent weight distribution
The E400 Cabriolet isn’t a lightweight car, tipping the scales at 4,300 pounds with a 55/45 percent weight distribution, but it needs only 5.3 seconds to hit 60 mph. Opting for rear-wheel drive results in a slightly slower time of 5.5 seconds, according to Mercedes. Top speed is governed at 128 mph.
As a result of its weight, power, and number of drive wheels, the E400 Cabriolet 4Matic is EPA-estimated to get 20 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined. Of course, premium gasoline is required. While the mileage and octane requirements aren’t great, nobody buying an $80,000+ convertible is worried about fuel prices. Conversely, the Benz offers an impressive range of 500 miles thanks to its large tank.
|Horsepower||329 HP @ 5,250-6,000 RPM|
|Torque||354 LB-FT @ 3,500-5,250 RPM|
|Transmission||9G- TRONIC nine-speed automatic|
|Acceleration 0–60 mph||5.3 seconds|
|Top speed||128 mph|
|Fuel economy city/highway/combined||20/25/22|
Behind The Wheel
The E400 feels like a rolling mansion sliding across a sea of puffy clouds that’s floating across the sky of ostentatious overabundance
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet 4Matic isn’t basic transportation. It also doesn’t feel like “mid-size” coupe, as the EPA says it is. Rather, the E400 feels like a rolling mansion sliding across a sea of puffy clouds that’s floating across the sky of ostentatious overabundance. The richly detailed and comfortable cabin suggest the E400’s price tag is somehow undercharging. That feeling is exponentially increased when the sun goes down. LED interior accent lights allow for a nearly limitless range of color options and several levels of intensity. The in-dash fragrance atomizer pumps your choice of perfumes through the HVAC system from a backlit vile secured in the glove box. Mercedes offers several scents for its Air Balance system, as well.
Drop the top, rise the air deflectors and windows, and the E400 transforms from a quiet and ultra plush coupe to a topless expression of freedom that’s no less luxurious or comfortable. The car’s ambiance is indescribably classy.
When it comes down to driving, the E400 feels more like that mansion than a crisp performance machine – and that’s just fine
When it comes down to driving, the E400 feels more like that mansion than a crisp performance machine – and that’s just fine. The E400 isn’t designed as such. Mercedes-AMG has several options for those wanting lap times over luxury. Still, the E400 isn’t terrible by any means. The chassis is extremely solid, exhibiting zero noticeable body flex with the top down. The steering is properly weighted but is adjustable with the drive modes. The brakes and throttle do exactly what’s expected of them with no delay or hesitation.
Outward visibility is decently good with the top raised, though the side mirrors on somewhat small. Blind spot monitoring helps boost confidence with lane changes. Drop the top and the world opens up, leaving only the windshield structure between you and the outside world.
The 3.0-liter twin-turbo is adequately powerful with no real lack of kick. However, the car doesn’t feel exceptionally potent. Its 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque are just enough. Adding 70 horsepower and 50 pound-feet of torque would do wonders for the E400’s straight-line performance. Then again, this isn’t an AMG.
My tester came equipped with the Air Body Control suspension – an air ride system that adjusts to road conditions in real time. In practice, the system completely eliminated the rumble of a washboard section of road near my house. Very few of my test vehicles are able to do that.
Overall, the E400 provides an exceptionally rich driving experience
Overall, the E400 provides an exceptionally rich driving experience. Its large infotainment screens, brightly colored accent lights, and breadth of seat controls make for a ride I won’t soon forget.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet starts at $66,300. For that, you get a rear-drive convertible with the same 3.0-liter V-6 making the same 329 horsepower, but riding on dull-looking 18-inch wheels and with much fewer tech features than found on my loaded-out tester. Even the gauge cluster is analog at this level.
Move to the 4Matic version and the price moves to $68,800. Of course, the optional extras and packages are where the costs start adding up. My tester had over $18,000 worth of options. They ranged from extra-cost paint and larger wheels to the $9,350 Premium 3 Package, which adds most of the extra luxury features. Mercedes also charges $995 for the destination. That’s not a bad deal considering the E400 is built in Germany.
My tester’s grand total came to $87,215.
The 640i is BMW’s answer to the Mercedes E400. They both compete neck and neck, offering many similar features and luxury items. The BMW, however, is a bit more performance focused, especially with the available M Sport Edition. The 6 Series’ interior isn’t as swanky as the E-Class’ and rear-seat room is a bit less spacious.
BMW also offers two engine choices to match its two driveline choices. The 640i packs a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with 315 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard and xDrive all-wheel drive is optional. For those wanting more power, the 650i comes with a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 making 445 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. Likewise, it’s available in either sDrive or xDrive. An eight-speed automatic is the sole transmission choice.
Pricing for the 2018 BMW 640i sDrive starts at $86,700 – well above the E400’s starting price. Adding xDrive pushes the price to $89,700. Opting for the V-8 in the 650i sees the sticker rise to $98,300, while the xDrive version goes for 101,300. That’s a big increase over the Mercedes – and that’s before adding any of BMW’s notoriously pricey options.
Read our full review on the 2018 BMW 640i xDrive.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Cabriolet 4Matic proved to be a jaw-droppingly stunning machine, both day and night. Its nautical themed interior absolutely made the experience for me. Though it’s optional, I’d have to order my E400 that way. The triple-layer acoustic convertible top killed any outside noises and didn’t flap a millimeter regardless of speed. Roughly 18 seconds later, the soft top hides under the rear deck lid while compromising very little trunk space. Power-deployable air deflectors keep the cabin free of turbulent air and allow the full ambiance of the LED light-soaked leather to set a mood of sophistication and opulence.
The E400 Cabriolet is hardly Mercedes’ most luxurious, well-equipped, or expensive convertibles, but you’d never know it by sitting inside. The car is simply in its own league. Ask me what I’d want to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway late at night, and my answer would easily be the E400 Cabriolet.
Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet.
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