What is it?
When we This, then, the E 350 CDI Cabriolet, with its 3.0-litre diesel engine mated to Mercedes’ seven-speed 7G-Tronic auto ’box (the standard accompaniment to the V6 oil-burner) comprehensively addresses our earlier concerns.
What’s it like?
Taken on its own merit, the E 350 CDI Convertible is a fine example of the breed. Dynamically, it suffers little for the removal of its roof, with only minor chassis protestations detectable when pushed over rough surfaces. And compared to the E 250 CGI, it’s a big improvement.
The E 350 only offers an extra 27bhp over the E 250 (228bhp to 201bhp), but the 3.0-litre diesel delivers a whopping 398lb ft to the 2.0-litre petrol’s 229lb ft. And this linear surge of torque is far better suited to the E-class’s nature, making for easy, relaxed cruising with ample shove for overtaking and more spirited driving when the mood takes.
The seven-speed ’box is superior too, with barley detectable shifts both up and down. Its only drawback is the now familiar hesitation to respond to throttle movement at low speed and under certain conditions. It’s hard to define exactly when this may or may not happen, and it’s this inconsistency of behaviour that makes the trait most annoying.
We’re already familiar with the rest of the latest E-class’s attributes as a convertible. The cabin is roomy and comfortable and, with the optional leather upholstery and Memory Package electrically adjustable seats, almost luxuriously well appointed.
Mercedes’ wind-deflecting Aircap system helps keep turbulent air out of the cabin – and its occupants’ hair – at speed, while the Airscarf (a £320 option that should be fitted as standard) directs warm air out of the bottom of the front seats’ headrests and around the driver’s and passenger’s neck to further improve roof-down comfort in less than ideal conditions.
Should I buy one?
If you’re in the market for a quality convertible with a premium badge then the E 350 CDI should be on your shopping list. Certainly in 3.0-litre V6 diesel guise, and relative to the E 250 CGI, it feels like a more complete car, with performance to match, rather than feel belittled by, its dynamic capabilities.