Oh Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz

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Isn’t that old Janis Joplin song so apt? Well let me tell you more about the Mercedes-Benz E500 Cabriolet and put into context the reason and reference for the above mentioned song.

 

Mercedes-Benz are renowned for their engineering prowess. They are very well build, technologically advanced in many respects and encase their drivers with a real sense of apparent safety when driving them.

 

The E500 Cabriolet is no exception. It is a true grand cruiser. From the outside things have changed since its initial launch in 2009. 2013 saw a sharper and bolder entrance for the E-Class. Gone are the double lights for a singular unit, highlighted with aggressive LED’s. The grill and new bumper are purposeful, making the E-Class a menacing machine. The rear of the car now features red taillights and double sculptural exhaust pipes that are linked with a singular chrome highlight line. The look takes what was a magnificent design and highlights focal features. Think Angelina Jolie, now image her with a light dust of classical make-up, beautiful right? Now picture her ready for a night on the town with a few cosmetic enhancements via some additional make-up - a smoky eye and a fierce red lip, sexy right? I hope I have metaphorically given you a better idea of what some of the visual upgrades look like in the flesh.

 

 

The interior features structured and very sporty seats, both upfront and in the rear. They are firm and have more electrical adjustments than Lufthansa’s first class chair. Do you recall in the late 90’s the Reebok Pump? The inflatable sneaker. You would press and release the miniature basketball pump on the tongue of the shoe and it caused the shoe to engulf your foot with additional support using air. Well the driver and front passenger seats feature a similar technology, making them playful and comfortable via electronic pumps that inflate sections of the chair. Being a coupe, the rear is for two people only and preferably of the compact variety if comfort is a priority.

 

 

The special thing about a high-end vehicle such as the E500 is that you are bathed in the newest gizmos. As a kid at heart, this plethora of switch gears is a visceral experience. One such feature is Mercedes-Benz cruise control called Distronic. It works like a standard cruise control but better. It uses the breaks and has sensors that monitor the traffic around it. This monitored state keeps the E-Class in what is virtually the best spot on the road. I confidently drove in rush hour traffic on the M1 every day for a week while the car autonomously managed the start and stop part of the journey while I looked after the steering. Having tested this feature in other high-end vehicles, I can confidently say that combined with the Lane Change Assist system, it is the best I have reviewed.

 

 

The E500 has a big engine. This means lots of power, perhaps a tad too much. Imagine 4.7 litres, a gloriously sounding V8 mixed with two turbos? Sounds like the might of Thor after being stung by a bee. Plant your foot flat from a standstill and you will see a 100km/h come and go in just 4.9 seconds. Now who would want to ruin a perfectly lovely drive in a luxuriously supple car that is very well insulated from the rat-race by basting you into a world of unnecessary adrenalin? Not me, that is for certain. You see the E500 is designed to coast, float, waft and be seen. You don’t want to charge up and down and around corners. Don’t get me wrong, the E500 can do it, quickly and safely. Picture Nigella Lawson running around the kitchen whipping up something very quickly, yes she can do it, but it’s much better watching her prepare something delectable done slowly and sensually. Much like driving this special car.

 

 

The facts

Highlights

  • Striking to look at
  • Solid chassis, with no rattles or creaks
  • Glorious engine
  • Nifty electronics

Lowlights

  • The new look is less classical, some of the extra chrome detailing has Americanised the car somewhat
  • Gas Guzzler
  • Interior though a nice place to be, feels a less upmarket to the BMW 650i
  • Outdated foot operated handbreak

 

The figures

 

 

The extra stuff

All Mercedes-Benz products come standard with class leading 6 year/100 000 km maintenance plan. The E-Class also stored five stars in the EuroNCAP crash test.

 

 

The verdict

If you are a Merc fan you will love this car. If you are not, you will be pleasantly surprised by many aspects of this special car. Now, if you had just over one million rand to spend on a car would you buy the E500 Cabriolet? Our toilet paper currency does nothing to support the feeling that it’s expensive, which it isn’t really when compared to its competitors but there is no denying the fact that it is a large sum of cash.

If you enjoy power and speed, wrapped in top-of-the-line well-made luxury, buy the E400 Cabriolet. It is R150 000 less and only marginally slower, so it’s still quick, hitting 0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds.

But if you are like me, a person happy to enjoy my driving in a sensually slower kind of way, like Nigella making food, get an E250 Cabriolet. You will have R350 000 extra in the bank and you won’t be no tortoise either hitting 100km/h in 7.5 seconds.

The Audi and the BMW are less boulevard cruisers and more muscle bruisers, especially the Audi RS5, the BMW 650i sits somewhere in between but carries a premium.

 

Mercedes-Benz E-Class weblink

 

 

 

 

 

 

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