With the summer season winding down, spending some time in a convertible is a must — the wind in your hair as your favorite songs boom from the radio is just something everyone should get to do at least once.
Of course, convertibles come with a unique set of issues, especially for those who drive them daily. However, hopping in, putting the top down and heading out is a quick reminder of the freedom reminiscent of when one first gets their driver’s license and a set of keys.
Few droptops offer such an indulgent experience as the 2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic Cabriolet. It’s a class-leading mixture of performance, comfort and technology that makes one want to run out buy one.
It’s a good-looking vehicle that stands out even in a sea of ragtops. A powerful V-6 engine only enhances that feeling of freedom and fun on the road … along with some additional “breeze” that insures you’ll need to redo your hair after some time in the car.
Sometimes the engineering team at an automaker takes a coupe and, it seems, simply chops off the B- and C-pillars, stands back and says, “Yup. It’s a convertible now!” That’s clearly not the approach taken at Mercedes. Yes, it does resemble the rest of the E450 family, but it’s much the way a family with four siblings does — definitely related but not an attempt at cloning.
And that look is simple and elegant with just enough flair, mostly the grille, to let you know it’s part of the aforementioned family. The car’s clean lines belie what hides underneath the hood, making it almost a sleeper when you’re sat at a light and something big and loud pulls up next you.
My tester came in emerald green metallic. The metal flake combined with the dark color of the vehicle got it mistaken as black, navy, dark blue and eventually, yes, green. It’s a beautiful color and depending upon the time of day, amount of sunlight and angle, the car is a new color daily.
As pleasant as the exterior is, it’s the interior where the E450 Cabrio really shines. As is the case with most current Mercedes models, it’s about those screens! The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster as well as the 12.3-inch multimedia touchscreen are stunningly bright and crystal clear — enough to elicit a “My god, look at those screens” from someone in the crowd during a drive through the recent Woodward Dream Cruise near Detroit.
However, Mercedes isn’t just about technology, the top-of-the-line leather and other materials make for a luxurious, opulent environment. The while it does feature two backseats, they’re fit only for the sub-5-foot set — or someone who’s desperate for a ride in a Mercedes convertible.
The car is small enough to feel sporty while seated, but large enough to not feel like front seat occupants are in each other’s laps. Again, the same can’t be said for the rear seats, but I never sat back there nor would I so I was less concerned.
After having been in a few AMG models in recent times, the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 with the EQ boost is stunningly good! It puts out an impressive 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to 9-speed “9Gtronic” automatic transmission and given is small stature, it will push you back in your seat after stomping on the vertical pedal — smoothly.
It’s a 4Matic having all-wheel drive all the time is a nice feeling and we put it to the test in terms how it helped with the vehicle’s performance and handling, which I’ll address a little further down — it doesn’t disappoint.
Safety and Technology
Naturally, technology is a massive part of the Mercedes experience. It’s central to the vehicle safety as well as its enjoyment. Unsurprisingly, the car’s loaded with all of the latest tech to make it stop sooner, avoid things faster and play nice with the rest of the world.
Specifically, it offers adaptive cruise control, stop-and-go assist, steering assist, emergency stop assist, lane-change assist, brake assist, blind-spot assist, lane-keeping assist as well as one of the more interesting technologies available: Pre-Safe Plus, which measures when a collision from behind is imminent. It also applies the brakes when the vehicle is at a standstill in order to prevent subsequent accidents. And you’ll get a very distinct noise to warn you it’s engaged.
The Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX, can be voice-activated, using the touchscreen or the touchpad in the center console and now using capacitive buttons mounted on the steering wheel. One of the best things about Mercedes is that there is always more than one way to do something, but you’re rarely required to leave the driver’s seat.
Mercedes has spent much of the last decade improving its styling, inside and out, performance as well as leading the way in the innovation of new safety and convenience technologies. The E450 cabrio most certainly has benefitted from all of those efforts.
While one of my colleagues likes to drive to Hell … Michigan (and I’ve done the route, it’s a good one), I’ve got my own special run that’s a bit shorter, but contains all of the elevation changes, curves and whatnot needed to put a vehicle through its paces. I drove it five times, including twice at night with the top down because the Cabriolet is such a wonderful mix of comfort and performance you feel like you’re missing out when it just sits in the driveway.
The E450 is simply a blast to drive. It’s not just that its fast and grounded or that you can use the ventilated seats while engaging the seat massaging feature (four different offerings!) it’s also so satisfying in the process.
2021 Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic Cabriolet specifications:
|Dimension||L: 190.4 inches/W: 80.9 inches/H: 56.3 inches/Wheelbase: 113.1 inches|
|Powertrain||3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 engine with EQ boost; 9-speed automatic transmission|
|Fuel Economy||23 mpg city/29 mpg highway/25 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $74,450; As tested: $87,509 including $1,050 destination and delivery fee|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
Not gonna lie: I want one. Don’t even need to the AMG model as this one’s plenty fast and my tires will last longer and my insurance should be less expensive because I’m certain the letters AMG is a German acronym for “Yes, officer, I was speeding” so I’ll have fewer tickets.
Not gonna lie: not gonna happen. The base price on this wonderful machine is $74,450. However, after adding all of the equipment, our model came in at $87,509. Basically, it’s the same price as three Mazda Miatas — I think it’s worth it. However, it’s a 1% car for, well, the 1% … at least for a few years. Maybe I’ll scour the used car lots, starting in 2024!