What is it?
Since the demise of the BMW 6 Series Cabriolet, roofless versions of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class have enjoyed something of a monopoly in the posh, four-seat convertible marketplace. An Audi S5 Cabriolet is smaller, and not quite as plush; while Munich’s latest 8 Series drop-top is considerably pricier, a bit more focused in its dynamic character, and more or a natural rival for the likes of Mercedes’ own S-Class Cabriolet anyway.
This absence of any bonafide competitors has given the E-Class a healthy dose of breathing room, then. And while Mercedes-Benz will no doubt appreciate that space, it hasn’t afforded the men and women of Stuttgart an opportunity to sit back and let this fifth-generation, ‘W213’ series model tick over unchanged until the end of its lifespan.
For 2020, the E-Class range has been facelifted, and in the case of this range-topping E450 Cabriolet (AMG’s E53 models firmly to one side), that facelift is a fairly significant one. In addition to that snoutier, more visually aggressive looking front end and lightly updated interior that’s common to all new E-Class models, Mercedes has also seen fit to swap the previous E450’s twin-turbocharged V6 out for its new 3.0-litre, single-turbo in-line six.
Codenamed ‘M256’, it’s the same motor that has already appeared in the likes of the latest CLS, S-Class and GLE models; and features the same 48v integrated starter-generator technology - which Mercedes has dubbed EQ Boost - to provide a degree of extra punch and help fill any accelerative flat spots. In E450 guise, the engine alone kicks out a meaty 362bhp and 369lb ft, while the EQ Boost system can dish out an additional 22bhp and 184lb ft at a moments notice. As was the case in the old E450, this is all directed to the road via a nine-speed automatic transmission and Merc’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.