I got in touch with the team at Mercedes-Benz Australia late last year in the anticipation of the release of the CLA 45 AMG which was one of the most popular articles we’ve ever published. Unsurprisingly the CLA was in high demand, to the point that Mercedes had sold some of the media cars, so I was offered a 2014 E400 Cabriolet to soften the disappointment until there was a CLA available to feature. And that it did, in fact it was bloody good!
The E-Class has long been Mercedes most understated and unassuming class of cars, that all changed in 2010 when they released the E63 AMG. Since 2010 the E-Class has been at the forefront of Mercedes’ radical modern day design boasting new angles and masculine lines, building the foundation for the cars we see today.
The E400 features updated headlights, a new grill and rear end but in my opinion the overall styling of the Cabriolet hasn’t changed too much since 2010, which means Mercedes were obviously confident in its appearance then (and still are). What the refined Cabriolet range did receive in the 2014 range was a new engine to replace not only the existing E350 but also the E500. 2013’s 3.5L V6 and 4.7L Turbocharged V8 were both replaced with an impressive and extremely capable 3.0L Twin Turbo V6.
The new top of the range E400 Cabriolet is a composed and extremely enjoyable car. I’ve never owned a convertible, and hadn’t planned on buying one, but after living with it for a week I can certainly see the appeal. When the traffic light hits red the fabric roof folds away quickly, and with the touch of one button, all four windows retracted to make the top down process painless. I’m sure it’s something you get used to, but I’d recommend against taking it down Crown St with four men, top down, listening to the latest Katy Perry song on a Saturday night at 8pm.
Like all the cars we test drive at TVG we put the E400 through its paces on McCarrs Creek Road that runs from Terry Hills down to Church Point. As a gentleman’s cruiser I was surprised by the balanced chassis and the accessibility of torque coming out of tight corners. The gearbox is responsive enough to satisfy a quick flurry in your own personal ‘sport’ mode, although let’s be honest that’s not what this car was made for. It is however, nice to know the E400 has the ability.
As a cruiser should, the E400 shines on the open road. The ride is smooth and there’s certainly a relaxed nature about the car but Mercedes-Benz have added more than enough power to throw you back into the sporty but comfortable seat. Press your foot to the floor and the E400 will have you going speeds that are going to get you in trouble, and that’s before you’ve had time to look down at the speedometer.
The E400 is impressive in many ways, most notably its engine and its price (when compared to its previous models). There’s no arguing that the new engine had big shoes to fill, having to find its place between two models, and I think its done a great job. There were a few minor things I didn’t like, the engine shut off when the car is stationary, I switched it off every time I got in the car. And the clock on the dash was obviously a massive afterthought, nice idea executed poorly, but all in all it’s a very solid car.
At the end of the day it’s the consumer who’s come out on top with the introduction of the E400. The former E350 owner/buyer can now buy the top of the range Cabriolet for less than he would have spent on the E350 and the E500 buyer pockets around $50,000 and gets a more fuel efficient twin turbo. Quite a refreshing move from Mercedes Benz but I can’t help feeling a tad sorry for anyone that picked up a 2013 model.
Test car price: $142,525