The Daily Drivers: 2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 Cabriolet

Appearance: The whole design looks sportier than its predecessor, which looked a bit staid. The lines of the car now seem to flow better from front to rear. Up front, there's now a larger, aggressive grille with a more prominent three-star Mercedes logo. Below it sit large, air scoops that wouldn't be out of place on a sports car. The upswept headlights have been elongated and are divided by sharp LED, which look stunning at night. (Full LED is available as part of the $1,500 Lighting Package that also has curve and corner illumination.) Our tester had the 18-inch twin five-spoke AMG alloy wheels as part of the Sport Package ($x,xxx). The rear wheels are wider than the front for better handling.

Performance: Our tester came with the 3.5-liter, direct-injection V-6. Our first thought was that it might be underpowered. That's probably because we've been spoiled by the cars from Mercedes' AMG performance AMG division. But its 302 horsepower is powerful enough for this car. The gear selector is now on the column instead of the center (Lyra didn't like the change). The 7-speed automatic, as we've come to expect, ticks off shifts effortlessly; there are paddles on the column, but neither of us felt like we were missing anything by not using them. The car also has Mercedes' ECO start/stop system, which some may find annoying because the car doesn't have to be stopped long before it shuts the engine. Still, it starts back up quickly. The electro-mechanical power steering has good feel, with just the right amount of assist.

Interior: As you would expect, the fit and finish is first-rate, with details such as with polished metallic and wood trim, double-stitched upholstery and firm yet comfortable seats. We were surprised at how quiet the cabin is for convertible. The rear seats are actually functional for small passengers. There is now an analog clock on the dash, which may be the automaker's lone concession to traditional technology. That's because the E-Class is getting the moern safey features seen in the upper ranges of the Mercedes line. This translates into warnings, vibrations and alerts that will tell drivers when they are getting drowsy or drfiting into another lane. (But why is blind-spot warning not standard?) For some, these features may be intrusive. A big Florida caution about the Cabriolet's automatic soft top: It's slow to close, especially when you're caught in a sudden rain, as Lyra discovered. You have to be going slower than XX mph for it to operate. When the top is down,



The bottom line: The E350 Cabriolet has the right balance of luxury, style and performance. Too much tech? Maybe. Just be careful when you had the keys to the valet.

The Mercedes-Benz E350 Cabriolet is a car that can impress even the most jaded valet. It's elegant but understated. Classic yet modern. And did we mention it's a convertible? For 2014, Mercedes has given the midsize E-Class sleeker styling and significant technology upgrades. It adds up to luxury further refined.

Appearance: The whole design looks sportier than its predecessor, which looked a bit staid. The lines now seem to flow better from front to rear. Up front, there's now an aggressive black-mesh grille with a more prominent three-star Mercedes logo. Below it sit large air scoops that wouldn't be out of place on a sports car. The upswept headlights have been elongated and are divided by sharp LED lights, which look stunning at night. (Full LED headlights are available as part of the $1,500 Lighting Package that also has curve and corner illumination.) Our tester had the 18-inch twin five-spoke AMG alloy wheels as part of the Sport Package ($1,490). The rear wheels are wider than the front for better handling.

Performance: The E350 comes with the 3.5-liter, direct-injection V-6. Our first thought was that it might be underpowered. That's probably because we've been spoiled by the cars from Mercedes' AMG performance division. But the E350's 302 horsepower is powerful enough for some fun. The gear selector is now on the column instead of the center (Lyra didn't like the change). The 7-speed automatic, as we've come to expect, ticks off shifts effortlessly; there are paddles on the column, but neither of us felt we needed them. The car also has Mercedes' ECO start/stop system, which some may find annoying. Still, it starts back up quickly. The electro-mechanical power steering has good feel, with just the right amount of assist.

Interior: As you would expect, the fit and finish are first-rate, with details such as polished metallic and wood trim, double-stitched upholstery and firm yet comfortable seats. We were surprised at how quiet the cabin is for a convertible. The rear seats are actually functional for small passengers. There is now an analog clock on the dash, which may be the automaker's lone concession to traditional technology. That's because the E-Class is getting the modern safety features seen in the upper ranges of the Mercedes line. This translates into warnings, vibrations and alerts that will tell drivers when they are getting drowsy or drifting into another lane. (But why is blind-spot warning not a standard feature?) For some, these features may be intrusive. A big Florida caution about the automatic soft top: It's not the fastest to close, as Lyra discovered when she was caught in a sudden deluge.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Headlights: The LEDs look menacing at night.

Options: From suspension to safety to even a mobile hot spot, there are many.

Grille: I love the bold new look.

Lyra Solochek

Stereoscopic camera: The surround-view system is amazing. It shows the rear, bird's-eye and front views.

Airscarf: It warms up your neck. Great for cold days.

Safety features: One of the safest convertibles around.

The bottom line: The Mercedes-Benz E350 Cabriolet has the right balance of luxury, style and performance. Too much tech? Maybe. Just be careful when you hand the keys to the valet.

Our 3 favorites



Stereoscopic camera: The surround-view system is amazing. It shows the rear, bird's eye and front views.

Airscarf: It warms up your neck. Great for cold days. 

Safety features: One of the safest convertibles around.

Headlights: The LEDs look menacing at night.

Options: From suspension to safety to even a mobile hot spot, there are many.

Grille: I love the bold new look.

Peter Couture



Lyra Solochek

2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 Cabriolet

Price: $60,200 base start, $74,755 as tested

Powertrain:

3.5-liter V-6, 7-speed automatic, RWD

Horsepower: 302 at 6,500 rpm

Torque: 273 pound-feet at 3,500-5,250 rpm

Curb weight: 4,101 pounds

Dimensions

in inches:

Wheelbase, 108.7

Length, 185

Width, 79.3

Height, 55 (top up)

Seats: 4

Fuel economy:

20 miles per gallon city, 28 mpg highway

Safety features: electronic stability program, adaptive braking technology, ABS, brake assist, attention assist, airbags and curtains, popup roll bars, blind-spot assist, surround-view camera, Distronic Plus with Pre-Safe brake and steering assist, parking assist

Website: mbusa.com/mercedes/vehicles/model/class-E/model-E350A

The Daily Drivers: 2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 Cabriolet 09/26/13 [Last modified: Thursday, September 26, 2013 1:45pm]

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