The topless midsize Mercedes makes quite the offering if you’ve got $75,000 to burn

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In a world where SUVs have all but taken over the market, there are fewer sedans and coupes to choose from. That reality is even worse for those looking for something with a top that gracefully stows away in the rear for unlimited headroom on demand. In fact, if you want a decent convertible these days, you’re only good option is either going with a roadster – like the Mercedes SLC or Jaguar F-Type – or something more conventional like the Audi S5 Cabriolet or the car we have here: A Mercedes E450 4Matic Cabriolet. Naturally positioned between the C-Class and the S-Class, the E-Class starts out right around $71,000, making it perfect for anyone who doesn’t want a smaller C-Class but can’t afford the six-figure price of the larger S-Class. So, what’s it like to live with the E-Class Cabrio? Well, I’m glad you asked, because we just spent a week with it and this is our story.

Mercedes E450 Cabrio – Powertrain and Performance

2020 Mercedes E450 Cabriolet - Driven Drivetrain
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Mercedes offers more trim levels of the E-Class sedan than you can count, but like the coupe, the E-Class Cabrio is only available in E450 and AMG E53, that latter of which will give you an extra 68 horsepower and some AMG-specific bits for around $8,000. Both models lug around a 3.0-liter inline-six. The AMG model comes standard with 4Matic AWD while you’ll have the option of having the E450 with RWD or paying a small premium for that very same AWD system. Both versions of the E-Class Cabrio come standard with a nine-speed automatic transmission and require premium gasoline.

How Powerful is the Mercedes E450?

2020 Mercedes E450 Cabriolet - Driven Drivetrain
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The Mercedes E450 delivers 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque from its 3.0-liter inline-six that’s paired with Merc’s relatively new EQ Boost mild-hybrid system. In comparison, the E53 Cabriolet makes 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque from an “AMG-enhanced” form of the same engine. Other options in this segment include the two-seater Jaguar F-Type with a 3.0-liter V-6 that’s good for 380 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque or the Audi S5 Cabriolet with a 3.0-liter V-6 that delivers 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.

How Fast Is The Mercedes E450?

2020 Mercedes E450 Cabriolet - Driven Exterior
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The Mercedes E450 Cabrio does pretty good for a heavy convertible, making the sprint to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds on the way to a top speed of 130 mph. The E45 Cabrio, however, can make the same sprint in 4.4 seconds and tops out at and electronically limited 155 mph. Compared the F-Type, the E450 is a have second faster, taking 5.4 seconds to hit 60 mph and will win in the long run with a top speed of 155 mph. The Audi S5 Cabrio is the real winner here, needing just 4.7 seconds to get to 60 mph and topping out at 155 mph.

Mercedes E450 Cabriolet Fuel Economy

2020 Mercedes E450 Cabriolet - Driven Exterior
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The Mercedes E450 Cabriolet will get you 23 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined. This puts it well above the competition, with the Jaguar F-Type getting just 20,28, and 23, respectively. The Audi S5 Cabrio sits dead last, netting just 20 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. If you’re a fuel-economy hero, you’ll come out ahead with the E450, so that might be a good selling point for you.

Mercedes E450 Interior Design

2020 Mercedes E450 Cabriolet - Driven Interior
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Much like the coupe it is based on, the Mercedes E450 Cabriolet features a well-rounded and curvy interior, the finest materials you can get short of six figures, and some of the most comfortable seats in the segment. What’s of particular interest is the flat-bottom steering wheel, the glossy trim panels (on the center console, doors, and dash face), and the massive infotainment \ instrument cluster display that is, essentially two screens paired seamlessly together. On the downside, the E450 Cabrio is meant to be driven, not rode in, so the space for rear seat passengers is downright laughable at best.

How Much Interior Space Does The Mercedes E450 Cabrio Have?

2020 Mercedes E450 Cabriolet - Driven Interior
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The Mercedes E450 Cabrio has 38.7 inches of front headroom, 56.1 inches of front shoulder room, and 41.8 inches of front legroom. These numbers translate into, well, spaciousness. However, it should be noted that the Jaguar F-Type is a bit wider in the front and offers more than an inch of extra legroom. What’s really noteworthy here, and probably the opposite of a selling point, is the rear passenger space. With just 34.1 inches of maximum rear legroom, the rear passenger area of the E450 is downright small. It’s not quite as small as the S5 (the jaguar is a two-seater), but the E-450 is considerably longer.

Mercedes E450 Cabrio vs competition interior dimensions
Mercedes E450 Cabrio Jaguar F-Type Convertible Audi S5 Cabriolet
Front Headroom 38.7 37 40
Front Shoulder Room 56.1 56.5 55.3
Front Leg Room 41.8 43 41.3
Rear Headroom 36.4 NA 36.3
Rear Shoulder Room 48.4 NA 46.9
Rear Leg Room 34.1 NA 33.3

How Much Cargo Room Does the Mercedes E450 Have?

2020 Mercedes E450 Cabriolet - Driven Interior
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The Mercedes E450 Cabriolet can lug around 9.5 cubic-feet of cargo in its trunk. That’s 2.2 cubic-feet more than the Jaguar F-Type Convertible and Audi S5 Cabriolet. Even more impressive is the fact that it only falls short of the coupe it’s based on by 1 cubic-foot (10.5 vs 9.5), which is quite admirable given the size of the top.

Does The Mercedes E450 Have An Easy To Use Infotainment System?

2020 Mercedes E450 Cabriolet - Driven Interior
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For the 2021 model year, Mercedes fixed everything that was wrong with the E-Class’ interior – the infotainment system. Putting the E-Class in the top of its class as far as tech is concerned, the new infotainment system features easy-to-use controls, plenty of features, and phone connectivity that makes pairing with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay an absolute breeze. The voice control system works impressively as well. Overall, the MBUX infotainment system is regarded as one of the best in the business and, while it’s sheer size can be a little off-putting, it’s relatively easy to learn and get used to.

Mercedes E450 Cabriolet Exterior Design

2020 Mercedes E450 Cabriolet - Driven Exterior
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There’s no mistaking the E450 Cabriolet as anything but an E-Class that can go topless. Outside of the convertible roof, everything below the waistline is identical to the E-Class Coupe. This means you get the mildly aggressive front end that’s somehow mixed perfectly with the toned down more luxurious rear end.

How Big Is The Mercedes E450 Cabriolet?

2020 Mercedes E450 Cabriolet - Driven Exterior
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Nestled firmly in the midsized luxury segment, you’ll be surprised to know that the E450 is quite a bit longer than both the Jaguar F-Type and the Audi S5 Cabriolet at 190.4 inches. That length puts it some 14-inches longer than the F-Type and some seven inches longer than the S4. The F-Type and S5 are remarkably wider but fall shorter in terms of height. You can check out the comparative dimensions in the table below, but if you’re curious about garaging, the E-Class will fit nicely in most two-car garages. A 1.car garage is generally doable, but a smaller one-car will be a no-go.

Mercedes E450 Cabrio vs competition exterior dimensions
Mercedes E450 Cabrio Jaguar F-Type Convertible Audi S5 Cabriolet
Length 190.4 176 183
Width 73.1 74.2 79.9
Height 56.3 51.5 54.4
Wheelbase 113.1 103.2 108.8
Ground Clearance 3.9 4 4.5
Front Track 62.9 62.87 62.5
Rear Track 63.2 64.92 61.7
Curb Weight 4,332 3,684 4,310

How Fast Does The E-Class Top Open And Close?

2020 Mercedes E450 Cabriolet - Driven Exterior
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According to Mercedes, you can open and close the E-Class Cabriolet’s top in just 20 seconds at speeds of up to 50 km/h or about 31 mph.

How Much Does The Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet Cost?

2020 Mercedes E450 Cabriolet - Driven Exterior
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As of the time of this writing, the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet is available in two different trim levels: E450 and AMG E53. The E450 starts out at $71,950 but that model is RWD. If you want the E450 4Matic, you’ll be looing at an MSRP of $74,450 – $2,500. Moving up to the AMG E53 will set you back a minimum of $82,850, but it does come with quite a few AMG-specific niceties and it comes standard with 4MATIC AWD. In comparison the Jaguar F-Type Convertible (yes, the roadster) comes in at anywhere between $64,700 and $105,900 and the Audi S5 Cabriolet can be had for anywhere between $60,600 and $68,700 depending on the trim level.

Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet Competition

2020 Mercedes E450 Cabriolet - Driven Exterior
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With few convertibles on the market, in general, we’ve been forced to look outside of the normal channels to find a true competitor for the Mercedes E450 Cabriolet. The natural competitor is the Audi S5, which sits a little below the Merc in terms of pricing, while the wildcard here is the Jaguar F-Type roadster – a two-seater than can traverse into the six-figure range if you go for the best and fastest. It does, however, start out a little cheaper and there is a model that resides right within the sweet spot that the E450 fills – you just have to decide if you’re willing to give up the rear seats.

Is the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet Better Than the Audi S5 Cabriolet?

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The Audi S5 is a bit of an oddball here. It’s billed as a luxury cabriolet, just like the E-Class Cabriolet, but it starts out and maxes out cheaper that the E450. In fact, the S5 maxes out, before options, at $68,700 for the range-topping model. That makes the best one available a little over $3,000 cheaper than the stock, optionless, E450. All trim levels of the Audi S5 Cabrio comes with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that’s good for 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. That puts it a little short in terms of horsepower compared to the E450, however, it does come with AWD and it’s actually quicker to 60 mph, needing just 4.7 seconds compared to the 4.9 seconds you need in the Merc. It also tops out at 155 mph vs. the E450’s max rating of 130 mph.

It might be a little bit quicker, but beyond that, things start to turn toward the E450’s favor. The S5 is quite a bit shorter but does off a bit more headroom up front. The Merc wins in terms of front leg room and shoulder room, though. Because the S5 is significantly wider than the E-Class (by more than six inches) rear passengers do have a little more space, but legroom and headroom are more laughable than that of the E450. Fuel economy for the S5 is also bad, coming in at 20 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. This puts it well below that E450’s ratings of 23,30, and 25 respectively. On top of this, you’ll find that the E450 doesn’t only have a better infotainment system but also has slightly better materials. Not that the S5 is a bad vehicle or isn’t nice inside, but you definitely get what you pay for by going with the more expensive Mercedes E-Class.

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Mercedes E450 Cabrio vs Audi S5 Cabriolet
Mercedes E450 Cabrio Audi S5 Cabriolet
Engine 3.0L Inline-6 Turbo with EQ Boost 3.0-liter six-cylinder
Transmission 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic Eight-speed Tiptronic
Horsepower 362 @ 5,500-6,000 349 HP
Torque 369 @ 1,600-4,500 369 lb-ft
Driveline AWD AWD
Fuel Premium Premium
Fuel Economy 23/ 30 / 25 20/26/22
Suspension Independent multi-link suspension Five-link front independent steel spring suspension
Steering Speed-dependent, electro-mechanical rack-and-pinion Electromechanical speed-sensitive power steering
Turning Circle 38.1 feet 37.7
0-60 MPH 4.9 seconds 4.7 seconds
Top Speed 130 mph 155 mph
Price $71,950 $60,600

Read our full review on the Audi S5 Cabriolet

Is the Mercedes E450 Cabriolet Better Than the Jaguar F-Type?

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If the Mercedes E450 wasn’t such a sporty car, we wouldn’t really have a good reason to compare it to the Jaguar F-Type. However, instead of looking to the normal competition from BMW, we thought it would be fun to take a slightly different direction. What really sets the F-Type apart, and something that you’ll really have to think twice about, is the lack of a rear seat. The F-Type Convertible is a two-seat roadster, so it is handicapped, so to speak, in terms of space. It falls a little over an inch short in terms of interior headroom, but as a two seater, it does beat out the Mercedes in terms of front shoulder room and front legroom. So, if you’re a bigger person and won’t have a need for the rear seat, maybe it’s a viable option. You can also step into a competitive model from about $68,000, so you might save a few thousand by going with the Jag.

In terms of performance, we’re looking at the V-6 model, so you’ll have 380 horsepower (up 18 on the E450) and 339 pound-feet of torque (down by 30 poudn-feet). Despite the fact that the F-Type is some 600 pounds lighter, it’s still a bit slower to 60 mph, taking between 5.3 and 5.4 seconds on a good day. So, it will get put down by the Merc at every stop light. However, in the long run, the F-Type will come in first as it’s rated top speed is 155 mph vs. the E450’s 130 mph. Unfortunately, for those of you into getting the best fuel economy possible, you’ll find that the F-Type is the loser here as it only gets 20 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined. So the E450 trumps it my 3 mpg in the city and by 2 mpg in both highway and combined driving scenarios. Overall, it’s not a bad car, and it’s a fun little roadster to drive, but you’ll find the Mercedes a little more modern and with slightly nicer materials overall.

Mercedes E450 Cabrio vs Jaguar F-Type Convertible
Mercedes E450 Cabrio Jaguar F-Type Convertible
Engine 3.0L Inline-6 Turbo with EQ Boost 3.0-Liter V-6
Transmission 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic 8AT
Horsepower 362 @ 5,500-6,000 380 HP
Torque 369 @ 1,600-4,500 339 LB-FT
Driveline AWD AWD
Fuel Premium Premium
Fuel Economy 23/ 30 / 25 20/28/23
Suspension Independent multi-link suspension Four-Wheel Independent
Steering Speed-dependent, electro-mechanical rack-and-pinion Electric
Turning Circle 38.1 feet 37.0 Feet
Front Tire Size 245 / 45 R18 295/30R20
Rear Tire Size 245 / 40 R18 295/30R20
0-60 MPH 4.9 seconds 5.4 Seconds
Top Speed 130 mph 155 MPH
Price $71,950 $64,700
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Read our full review on the Jaguar F-Type

Final Thoughts

2020 Mercedes E450 Cabriolet - Driven Exterior
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Overall the Mercedes E450 Cabriolet isn’t only a fun car to drive, but it’s also comfortable and loaded with plenty of modern tech. And, since it sits nicely in the midsize category, it has decent interior space and doesn’t come with a price tag that’s too high or goes into the six-figure range, even if you want to go for the AMG E 53 with more power and stouter looks. Overall, you can’t go wrong with the E450, but there are some other convertibles out there that are cheaper with similar technology and luxury, so it’s best to look around before signing on the dotted line to make sure it’s the best choice for you.

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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