Luxury convertibles are a special breed, taking all the things people love about premium cars and throwing in an open-air driving experience into the mix. Few do this better than Mercedes-Benz, as the facelifted-for-2021 E 450 (formerly known as the E 400) Cabriolet proves boasting a fresh front fascia and lightly-electrified engine.
The vehicle adopts the “A-shape” diamond radiator grille, as seen on some other models within the lineup that adopts several 3-D dots surrounding a single blade radiating out from a large Mercedes star logo. The full LED headlamps take on a slimmer design, and the air intakes below are slightly reshaped.
Four paint colours are being introduced: Graphite Grey Metallic, Mojave Silver Metallic and designo Patagonia Red Metallic and the particularly striking Cirrus Silver Metallic with navy fabric top. In addition, a new intelligent steering wheel is available featuring racy D-shape providing a touch of unexpected sportiness to the interior.
It, and the rest of the cabin in the media loaner was draped in a gorgeous, if slightly impractical, Macchiato Beige/Yacht Blue Nappa leather upholstery named appropriately as I felt as though I were sitting in a fancy boat on wheels. Technology-wise, the E 450 gains the latest Mercedes-Benz User eXperience (MBUX) infotainment system, powering two side-by-side 12.3-inch displays, allowing users to control many onboard functions via voice.
The downside of piloting a drop top of course is the cold, noisy breeze accompanying a spirited drive. AIRCAP and AIRSCARF solve the problem — turning on the former raises an electronic wind blocker behind the rear seats and, something I hadn’t seen before, a sort of windshield spoiler to guide airflow up and away. The latter is a series of vents found beneath each headrest designed to blow warm air on the necks of occupants.
For the first time, the E-Class cab receives the mild-hybrid 3.0-litre turbocharged inline-six engine that is also utilized in the CLS 450, among others. Though base output is the same as the outgoing 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6, 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, the EQ Boost 48-volt electrical system is capable of unlocking a temporary extra 21 horsepower and 184-lb-ft of torque gives the gasoline motor a break by helping run the air conditioning compressor.
Like its predecessor, the vehicle is smooth, quiet and comfortable on the road and offers just enough stiffness to put a grin on your face when you want to lay into the accelerator a little heavier on the twisty bits.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E 450 Cabriolet is built at the brand’s plant in Sindelfingen, Germany, first opened in 1915, where the flagship S-Class is produced as well.