Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2015 Mercedes-Benz E400: A Stylish And Fuel-Efficient German-Engineered Drop Top

Highlight: The E400 is available as a soft top cloth convertible only.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $72,930 (base price $62,275)

Seating Capacity: 4

Standard Safety Features: airbags; LED headlights; LED tail lights; ABS; an electronic tire pressure system; an electronic stability program; and an automatic hold braking system; pop up roll bars; a rain sensing windshield wiper system; and an adaptive braking technology

Standard Equipment (base model): 18-inch wheels; a gas saving stop/start engine cut off system; a 7-speed automatic transmission; a dual zone climate control system; auto dimming rearview and side mirrors; heated front seats; leather seats; and power front seats with memory settings

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: AMG wheels; a soft top convertible; a sport steering wheel; heated and ventilated front seats; a keyless remote door opener and trunk system; high performance tires; a navigation system; a Harmon/Kardon surround audio system; a rear view camera; ventilated headrests; power folding side mirrors; adaptive high beam head lights; LED headlamps with curve control; sport pedals; multi contour front seats;  blind spot; lane changing keeping assist system; parking assist system; and a surround view camera system

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: AM/FM/HD with a CD

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes with audio streaming

iPod connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 mile warranty

Powertrain Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 mile warranty

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.0-liter turbo 6-cylinder/329-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 20-city/29-hwy

What’s New: The only new news for the cabriolet is the addition of the E400 model to the line up. The E400 offers a brand-new twin turbo with a six-cylinder engine. During the 2014 model year, the entire E-series line received a major styling update.

Pros: The stylish E-class is available with two engine choices: a 6-cylinder or an 8-cylinder engine. New for this year is the E400 model, with its all-new, fuel-efficient, twin turbo six-cylinder engine. Those seeking the 402-horsepower, 8-cylinder will have to step up, shelling out close to $7,000. And buyers who are fans of the E-Class design can also opt for a coupe, a sedan or a station wagon.

The stylish E400 we reviewed, with its easy-to-use power operated convertible switch to control the well-insulated soft cloth top, is designed for both warm and cold weather climates. In order to make sure this German engineered vehicle is attending to the needs of their front seat occupants, the car has been accessorized with the optional heated and cooled seats for the front occupants. The design engineers also have integrated optional blower vents into front seat headrests of the vehicle we reviewed.

Added to that, the E cabriolet we reviewed was outfitted with the brand’s gas saving stop-start engine. This feature quietly shuts off the vehicle when the brakes are applied, and then restarts the engine, when the brakes are released. This feature is designed to save fuel, when the vehicle isn’t in motion.

Our E cabriolet was also outfitted with a variety of driving aids, too, pushing the vehicle to be more self-autonomous. Some of those driver aids included a back up camera, a lane changing keep assist system, an electronic blind spot system and a radar-activated cruise control system. An optional automatic parallel parking system, which was not a part of the packing on our test vehicle, is also available from Mercedes-Benz.

Lastly, the suspension of our German-engineered drop top could be easily adjusted with the mere push of a button to offer either a sporty or a comfortable riding (driving) experience.

Cons: The downside of reviewing this vehicle in the dead of winter is that we didn’t have an opportunity to experience driving this vehicle with the top down. However, we realize that this is an all-weather vehicle.
Moreover, we found the flat bottom seats in this well-engineered vehicle to be extremely uncomfortable, lacking support. For this price point, the engineers should add more padding to the seat bottoms along with padding for the front center armrest, reminding us that this is a luxury vehicle.
Furthermore, we found the rear power sunscreen connected between the rear bucket-like seats to be quite distracting. The sunscreen should be able to completely disappear out of the view of the driver’s sight. Lastly, we were expecting more from the brand’s puny speakers. Again, this is a Mercedes-Benz, so our expectations are significantly higher than most brands just because this is supposed to be the standard for the industry.

Verdict: While convertible sales dropped significantly during the most recent recession, a few automakers like Mercedes-Benz are still committed to providing that fun in the sun experience to those yearning to take on an America’s open roads in a well-engineered German vehicle. The brand’s new E400 effortlessly soaks up the road, while being surrounded with all of the luxury accoutrements one expects of a car of this caliber.

Competition: Audi A5 cabriolet, Infiniti Q37 convertible and BMW 6-series convertible

No comments: