MERCEDES E 250 CGI REVIEW
The E-Class Cabriolet is Mercedes-Benz's most stylish drop-top yet, and is packed with enough technology to make roof-down driving both comfortable and entertaining.
Our tester was equipped with the optional AMG Sports package, which adds extra aesthetic appeal and a sportier feel.
- Quality: All interior surfaces are finished to a very high standard, with high-quality soft touch plastics complemented by supple leather.
- Comfort: The AMG package brings fully-electric front seats with pneumatic bolster and backrest adjustment, which offer superb comfort. In the back, it’s also comfortable and reasonably roomy for a four-seat convertible.
- Equipment: The cabrio's standard equipment includes cruise control, auto-on xenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, electrically-adjustable seats, mirrors and steering column, the COMAND APS infotainment system, Bluetooth integration, and iPod-compatible stereo system.
Along with heated front seats, our car was also equipped with the optional Airscarf system, which blows warm air on the back of the front occupant's necks when the roof is lowered.
- Storage: Boot space measures 300 litres with the roof lowered, or 390 litres roof raised.
ON THE ROAD
- Driveability: With plentiful low-down torque and beautifully balanced at high revs, the E 250 CGI's 1.8 litre turbocharged engine is a pearler. Unfortunately, its outdated five-speed automatic is slow to shift and could use another ratio to get the best from the engine.
That said, the operation of the transmission is fine for urban motoring.
- Refinement: The cabin is relatively quiet with the roof raised, with the insulated cloth roof providing an ambience not unlike a regular hardtop coupe.
Roof down, the Aircap system diverts air over the cabin, reducing wind buffet. However, the front seats remain perfectly habitable even with the Aircap retracted.
Everything else is typically Benz: the body feels rigid with minimal scuttle shake and there were no wayward rattles.
- Suspension: The ride is comfortable but controlled, thanks to the AMG Sport package's 18-inch alloys and lower, stiffer suspension.
Our car was also equipped with the Dynamic Handling package, which adds electronically adjustable dampers. Whether on a twisting road or a urban boulevard, the E 250 CGI's chassis is superbly controlled.
- Braking: The AMG Sport package brings perforated front brake discs, which enhance the performance of the already sizable stoppers. Braking performance is exceptional.
- ANCAP rating: The E-Class Cabriolet has not been tested by ANCAP
- Safety features: The E 250 CGI Cabrio is equipped with three-point belts for all seats, front side and head airbags for front seats, side airbags for the rear, driver's knee airbag, anti-whiplash headrests for the front seats, ABS, EBD, brake assist, traction control and stability control.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: All new Mercedes-Benz cars have a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
- Service costs: Service costs are not provided by Mercedes-Benz Australia. Before purchase, check with your dealer.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
- BMW 325i Convertible ($99,400): BMW's petrol convertible has the extra security of a folding hardtop roof, however its design is starting to date in comparision to the E-Class Cabrio. (see 3 Series reviews)
- Lexus IS250 C Sports Luxury ($94,900): Lexus' convertible version of the IS sedan is awkwardly styled, but is good value compared to the Benz and BMW. (see IS reviews)
- Audi A5 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI quattro ($95,900): The Audi boasts a sophisticated seven-speed twin clutch automatic, all-wheel drive, and a slightly more muscular 2.0 litre turbo-charged engine.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Its price and the outdated five-speed auto are the only blots on the E 250 CGI’s ledger. Look past both and you’ll be wowed by the sexy styling and wooed by the superb 1.8 litre turbo engine.
There are cheaper, and arguably more mechanically sophisticated convertibles in this segment, but they aren’t as appealing nor as fresh as the Benz.