The Mercedes-Benz E300 cabriolet offers breezy driving with Mercedes-Benz luxury. Picture: Phuti Mpyane
The Mercedes-Benz E300 cabriolet offers breezy driving with Mercedes-Benz luxury. Picture: Phuti Mpyane

I’ve always liked the Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupé from the days when they were badged 300 CE. Those curves, the huge headlights and the elegant lines were the clinchers. But there was not much wrong with the cabriolet version.

Quite anxious to find out how the newly facelifted modern range stacks up, I got introduced to the E300 cabriolet AMG Line.

It certainly delivers on a sense of occasion with its frontal styling given flair by an AMG grille filled with sparkly accents and rectangular shaped rear lights that differ from the teardrop outline of its sedan brethren. The rear also avoids the hump-like disproportions that usually afflict cabrios.

My Polar White test unit that has design elements similar to both the old S-Class convertible and the AMG GT was tastefully specified with 20-inch double-spoke AMG alloys and a petite boot-lid spoiler.

The multilayered fabric roof is peeled off with a press of a button and stored in the boot, which doesn’t leave much room for luggage or a golf bag.

But it shelters a quality cabin with a 2+2 seating arrangement on beautifully trimmed black on white leather covered seats with sun-repelling technology. Space for rear passengers is quite generous too, roof open or closed.

True, it looks like most of new Mercs inside with its turbine vents but the devil's in the detail. They've fiddled with out-of-sight enhancements like noise suppression through wheels that are padded with foam materials and other scientific solutions to create a higher air of luxury.

In ensuring comfortable and continuous roofless driving through the looming winter season there’s an Aircap on the A-pillar that pops up and filters the approaching draft from the cabin, Airscarf that blows hot air at neck level, and a heavy duty cabin heater.

The rest of the luxury features are Mercedes fare with the latest MBUX multimedia system running through an optional pair of 31.2cm screens. The standard fitment screens are 26cm a piece.

But you must experience the new steering wheel with its capacitive buttons where you now simply slide a thumb to raise the volume. If this sounds like an annoyance there are still tactile buttons, though few, and voice control which is much improved.

There are many options to style the interior, including this dual-tone seat colour scheme. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE
There are many options to style the interior, including this dual-tone seat colour scheme. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE

It's apparent from the get-go that the E300 is a smooth glider. The ride is exceptional and encourages a laid-back driving style that is bolstered by optional active cruise control with autonomous brake and throttle.

It also doesn’t feel bulky and it’s an effortless steer everywhere that’s aided by sensors and front and rear facing cameras.

It’s motivated by a 2.0l four-cylinder motor that outputs 190kW and 370Nm, through a nine-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels. It takes a peppy 6.6sec to scuttle from 0-100km/h and makes a charming enough exhaust woofle when you bury the throttle. Top speed is 250km/h.

It also feels controlled at speed and does not frighten the driver or profligate fuel budgets. It returned a fair 8.4l/100km during its five-day stay driven in urban areas and a long-ish interprovincial dash driven mostly with the top down.

It’s actually best enjoyed in a gentle ride while you inhale the aromas of the world. Those who want something with a bit more effervescence and a rowdier tail pipe can go for the E53 AMG 4Matic+ with a V6 under the bonnet.

All in all, the E300 cabriolet is a practical and elegant road yacht. Weather permitting the cloth roof must be constantly stacked away. It ruins the spectacle.


Tech Specs

ENGINE

Type: Four-cylinder petrol turbo

Capacity: 2.0l

Power: 190kW

Torque: 370Nm

TRANSMISSION

Type: Nine-speed Auto

DRIVETRAIN

Type: Rear-wheel drive

PERFORMANCE 

Top speed: 250km/h

0-100km/h: 6.6 seconds

Fuel Consumption: 7.4l/100km (claimed), 8.4l/100km (as tested)

Emissions: 167g/km

STANDARD FEATURES

Touch Control Buttons, LED daytime driving running lights, rain sensor wipers, climate control, three USB ports, MBUX infotainment system, park distance control rear, Bluetooth telephone and voice control, cruise control, partial suede-cloth artificial leather and heated seats, seven airbags, stability control, ABS

COST OF OWNERSHIP

Warranty: Two years/unlimited km

Maintenance: Five years/100,000km

Price: R1,276,640

Lease*: R27,219 per month

* at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit

Mercedes-Benz E300 cabriolet AMG Line

WE LIKE: Comfortable drive, good looks, roofless driving aids

WE DISLIKE: It’s sparse in standard fitment luxuries

VERDICT: A graceful and approachable indulgence

Motor News star rating

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Competition

BMW M440i xDrive Convertible, 285kW/500Nm — R1,366,234

Mercedes-AMG C43 cabriolet, 287kW/520Nm — R1,357,480

Mercedes-AMG E53 cabriolet, 320kW/520Nm — R1,768,960

Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, 283kW/450Nm — R1,918,000

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