Mercedes E450 4Matic Cabriolet

The Mercedes E450 4Matic Cabriolet’s cornering ability on tight mountain roads is first-class.

The E-Series is a popular model in the Mercedes lineup. And we recently tested its E450 4Matic Cabriolet convertible, which brings fun in the sun driving to a smaller, personal-size vehicle.

Like most German luxury machines, the base price is low, though that climbs when the options list is tacked on. This one starts at $69,800. Then, how about adding adjustable air suspension for $1,900? A leather package is $4,200 with another $2,550 for safety gear. For long trips, $950 for massage seats is money well-spent. That eye-catching metallic maroon paint job also looks nice and only costs $720. In all, 14 option packages added a hefty $20,855 to our total, bringing us to $90,645. For this financial damage, we expected an excellent street machine — and we got it.

Under the hood is a potent, 3.0-liter, V-6 turbo engine that cranks 362 horsepower and is hooked to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Steering wheel paddle shifters allow the driver to choose gears manually if needed. The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive provides excellent traction to the pavement. Fuel economy is listed at 19/26 mpg. This motor is a pleasure to use and is very strong, smooth and quiet.

This car has one of the better soft tops we have used. First, the operation is simple. Just press a button and it lowers or rises quickly. More importantly, the fabric build quality is superb and has a very thick construction. It is obvious performance took priority over cost. At freeway speed, wind noise around this raised soft top is just as quiet as most hard-top cars.

With the expensive beige leather trim, the cabin is very luxurious. No fast food or drinks were allowed inside on my watch. There are more switches and buttons than a 747 airliner, and a learning curve is required to master them. A more useful switch gives settings for eco, comfort, sport, sport+ or individual driving modes. To make room for when the top is retracted, the trunk is very small and no spare tire is provided. A set of golf clubs will fit, but it’s not much bigger.

We put more than 600 miles on this car and have no complaints. The performance is excellent, with strong acceleration, fantastic cornering ability and brisk cruising speeds. The cornering ability on tight mountain roads is first-class. This is a great car to use for a long interstate trip, limited only by cargo capacity. But that’s no big deal if you ship your luggage ahead via UPS.