Four-seat executive drop-top gets a new engine and design update, but to what effect?

The current W213-generation Mercedes E-Class was, by its maker’s own claims, the most technologically advanced car it had ever built when it came along in 2016. This week, we check in on how it’s ageing, how adaptable its platform is and how wisely that five-year-old trailblazer has been kept up to date both under the bonnet and inside the cabin.

These things matter, especially in Stuttgart, because the E-Class is the best-selling car that Mercedes has ever made and it remains one of its most globally important.

Exterior colour choices are few. There are really only a few shades of red, blue or green – assuming you want a car in an actual colour, rather than monotone. Who’d buy a grey convertible?

Mercedes led with cutting-edge driver assistance technology and top-level luxury ambience when this car first appeared five years ago. It was one of the first models on the road with a ‘piloted driving’, semi-autonomous lane keeping assist system, and Mercedes imbued it with traditional interior richness and refinement on a tack along which few rivals would dare to follow it. Last year, the E-Class had a major mid-life facelift, the contents of which we’ll detail shortly.

And now that facelift has had enough time to work its way through to the slightly more obscure corners of the model range, it has brought renewed interest to one of Europe’s few remaining attainable four-seat boulevardier-style luxury cruiser convertibles: the E-Class Cabriolet.

The E-Class line-up at a glance

Mercedes has reduced the range of trim levels for its latest E-Class Coupé and Cabriolet, but a slightly broadened line-up of engines now includes a six-cylinder petrol 450 model.

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All six-cylinder models have four-wheel drive as a matter of course and all but the Mercedes-AMG 53 get Night Edition equipment and styling augmentations as standard.