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Driven: Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet touches down

E-asy does it: The new E-Class Cabriolet is the first to be based on an E-Class chassis in 20 years, after previously using the C-Class as a platform.

Two-variant Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet range arrives, with possibly more to come


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17 Oct 2017

MERCEDES-BENZ has launched its all-new E-Class Cabriolet range Down Under with two variants on offer, but the German car-maker has not ruled out the possibility of more to come further down the track.

Speaking to GoAuto at the new model’s media launch event in Melbourne last week, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific public relations and product communications manager Jerry Stamoulis said that there was a chance additional variants could join the E-Class Cabriolet range.

“Most likely, but nothing confirmed just yet. No timing confirmed,” he said.

“There may be an opportunity in the future, but nothing to confirm just yet.”

Possible new variants could include the diesel-powered 220d, which was deleted from the outgoing range but still exists in coupe form, or a spicier AMG-tuned version.

The E-Class Cabriolet is unfamiliar territory for the spanner-turners at AMG, however the platform underpinning the new model has made the possibility of a go-fast version a reality.

Speaking to GoAuto in July, Mercedes-Benz head of vehicle testing for E-Class Peter Kolb said the car-maker had the capability to create an AMG E-Class Cabriolet if it desired.

“The E-Class Cabrio’s platform is certainly strong enough for AMG,” he said, although a full-fat twin-turbo V8 63 version has been all but ruled out.

The Cabriolet would be more likely to receive a slightly softer 43 version, which at the moment uses a 295kW/520Nm 3.0-litre V6 found in the E43 AMG sedan.

Another option is to take the same route as the CLS, which is set to debut a new AMG 53 designation for a hybrid six-cylinder powertrain capable of roughly 370kW of power and more than 550Nm of torque.

The range will launch in Australia with two petrol-powered variants, the four-cylinder, rear-wheel-drive E300 from $123,500 plus on-roads, and the V6, all-wheel-drive E400 4Matic from $157,500.

Prices have jumped by $11,600 and $12,600 for the E300 and E400 respectively over the previous drop-top E-Class, while the sole diesel variant from the old range, the E220d, has not made it into the updated line-up.

The new model is considered the first full-sized E-Class Cabriolet in 20 years, with Mercedes basing previous drop-top E-Classes on the more compact C-Class platform.

Based on the Modular Rear-drive Architecture that was first used on the C-Class in 2013, the new E-Class Cab has grown by 123mm in length, 74mm in width, and 30mm in height, with the majority of the extra space helping rear occupants.

The Cabriolet adds 150kg of weight over its Coupe sibling, with about 50kg of extra weight due to structural reinforcements, and the rest made up of the rear-subframe cradle, soft-top and its motors, rollover mechanism and other additions specific to the convertible.

Designed to cope with temperatures ranging from minus 40 degrees Celsius to more than 80 degrees Celsius, the soft-top has undergone testing in Germany and Sweden for cold weather, while Arizona and Spain were chosen to test for heat.

The roof is rated at roughly 20,000 operation cycles, and can be raised or lowered up to 50km/h.

Adding the foldable roof has sacrificed 40 litres of boot space, to 385L, which drops to 310L with the roof down.

The Cabriolet adds a unique 50:50 split-fold rear seat function that allows for loading longer items through to the cabin.

Under the bonnet of the E300 is a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine producing 180kW of power and 370Nm of torque, sending power to the rear wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The sprint from zero to 100km/h takes 6.6 seconds, on to an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h. Official combined cycle fuel consumption is rated at 6.8 litres per 100km.

Specification closely mirrors the hard-top E-Class Coupe, and includes leather upholstery with front seat heaters, Comand Online widescreen infotainment system, LED headlights, air suspension, Airscarf neck warmers, Aircap draught excluder, sports exhaust, AMG bodykit and 20-inch AMG alloy wheels.

Powering the all-paw E400 is a 3.0-litre turbo-petrol V6 developing 245kW/480Nm, which also employs a nine-speed auto.

Mr Stamoulis was not willing to divulge sales expectations, but said that the Cabriolet was expected to make up about eight per cent of the E-Class Coupe’s volume.

To the end of September, Mercedes has found homes for 522 examples of the E-Class Coupe, which would translate to roughly 42 sales of the Cabriolet over the same period.

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet pricing*
E300 (a)$123,500
E400 4matic (a)$157,500
*Excludes on-road costs

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