What is it?The new E-class Cabriolet. More specifically, this is the flagship E500 model, fitted with a 5.5-litre V8 that’s good for a 0-62mph time of 5.3sec and an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. It’ll set you back £53,890. Technical highlightsMercedes is most proud of a little invention it calls AirCap. It’s a small, motorised aerofoil that sits just above the windscreen and can be raised or lowered at the touch of a button. It’s supposed to stop wind buffeting and reduce noise in the cabin with the roof down, and it does… at least a little bit. What’s it like to drive?Not particularly thrilling, unfortunately. Mercedes’ engineers have clearly put the emphasis on comfort and it shows in the way you’re encouraged to drive – or not as the case may be. The seven-speed automatic gearbox works so well that you find yourself leaving it in D and not using the paddles, while computers will check your blind spots, dip your headlights and can even accelerate and brake for you. Try to engage in a bit of spirited driving and you find the steering is lacking in feel, even if you’ve pressed the Sport button. On the other hand, the huge amount of power on tap is handy for bringing the rear into play and when it comes to straight-line speed, the E500 is rather impressive. How does it compare?It all depends on what you’re looking for. As a luxury cruiser, the E-class Cabriolet is hard to beat, but for driving thrills you can do much better. An Audi S5 Cabriolet, for example, is almost as quick (0-62mph in 5.6sec), considerably cheaper (£43,160), and much, much more fun. Alternatively, a drop-top BMW M3 costs just over £56K… Anything else I need to know?The E500 Cabriolet costs £13,400 more than the E350 CGI version, which is only 1.5sec slower to 62mph. That’s a big price to pay for the extra pace, but the E500 does have one more trick up its sleeve: the V8’s beautifully bassy roar is addictive, and makes the best possible argument for spending all that extra cash.
|Max power||382bhp @ 6000rpm|
|Max torque||391lb ft @ 2800rpm|