Do cars have personalities? We think so. Some are your buddy, that say “Hey let’s play”. Others are reliable workhorses. Trusted friends. Some even feel like movie characters. So, what to make of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E 450 Cabriolet? How about Batman’s loyal companion and butler, Alfred?
Bold and Sophisticated Design
Ok, this is one beautiful convertible. Mercedes design language is an interesting one, and we applaud the fact that you don’t think you’re looking at a BMW or Audi. Mercedes has its own brand of curvaceous, and we think it works better on some models than others.
The E450 is near perfect. Last year it got a facelift, with a new AMG-like grille, redesigned headlamps with a signature LED running light that gives a purposeful frown, and a lower black-out grille treatment that looks serious and sporty.
The profile is also a thing of beauty, with a high-shouldered line that gives the convertible top a low-slung coupe-like line. It also makes for an equally tasty look with the top down. While there is a small amount of chrome, there is little bling here. But it does have presence! Interestingly, you can get a convertible in C and E models, but we think the overall proportions of the E hits us as “just right”. Neither too small or big. Premium but not ostentatious.
There is some flare to the fender, but it’s tight, like a pro athlete wearing a custom-tailored suit. You know there’s capability there, but it’s well-heeled. Speaking of shoes – well metaphorically – our tester had the optional 20-inch AMG multi-spoke wheels with grey accents, and they really fill out the wheel wells.
The rear got a new look last year as well, and we love the slender LED taillights, the scooped-in trunk line and the lower fascia with a touch of chrome at the dual exhaust outlets. The switch for the trunk is cleverly hidden in the three-pointed star logo – which also serves home to the reversing camera – with tasteful badging that says “E450” and 4MATIC. Again the high belt line gives the convertible top a snug, sports-car like look.
Another thing we loved – the Spectral Blue Metallic paint. In a world of too often silver, gray, white and black Mercedes (and other luxury cars), the blue is rich and bold. And hey, with a design like this, you don’t mind calling attention to it.
A Thing of Beauty
While the exterior is good looking, the E’s interior is jaw-dropping stunning.
The color palette strikes you first, a combination of Macchiato Beige and Magma Grey with black on the upper surfaces is stunning and the light color brings an airiness to the look. Mercedes even offers sun-reflecting leather on Cabriolet models!
The high-class Light Brown Sea Wood is a showstopper, and makes you feel like you are spending time at a high-end resort on the ocean. Ditto the high-quality materials throughout and tasteful contrasting stitching. Adding to the look are giant turbine-style vents that look classy and elegant as well. And having a light leather in a convertible is smart – it doesn’t get nearly as hot in the sun.
Mercedes made our tester a 4-season fun machine with an optional Warmth and Comfort Package that includes heated armrests and steering wheel, along with a rapid heating function for the front seats, so you can get toasty in a hurry.
Sink into beautiful and comfortable multi-contour front seats with massage function(!) and you get a great view of the state of the art in displays with two 12.3-inch screens giving a panoramic show. The driver gets perfect 160-mph speedo and 8,000 rpm digital gauges with a useful driver’s info display in between. Even with the top down and in bright sunlight, the display is easy to see.
The info-tainment includes a 12.3-inch touch screen display that is also accessible from a large mouse-like control with a rotary knob plus some supplementary buttons on the center console. We found Mercedes’ system to be easy to access and understand. While we usually groan about not having a traditional volume knob, the little roller control on the console works great and feels natural.
Like most convertibles, the rear seat loses room to accommodate the folding top, but with the E-class overall size, adults can squeeze back there for shorter trips, but anything longer than that should be for kids only.
Gorgeous and comfortable, is it too much to expect a great drive?
Last year, the E-class got a new engine, replacing the previous V6 engine with a new turbocharged in-line 6, which uses electric hybrid assist for added torque. Despite the change, horsepower stays the same at a very powerful 362 hp. With the 48-volt hybrid system, you can get a little extra low-end oomph when you need it – and it does feel especially powerful off the line. A combined 24 mpg EPA rating is quite good for a large vehicle with a powerful engine and all-wheel drive.
Combined with a silky-smooth, 9-speed automatic, here it really does remind us of Alfred the Butler. Feel like the posh, wealthy Bruce Wayne? Raise the power top in less than 20 seconds (and you can do it at low speeds, nice in traffic) and Normal mode lets you whoosh around town easily, quietly and effortlessly as you wish.
Worth noting, the sound insulation is so good, with the top up at freeway speeds you’d be hard pressed to guess you were driving a convertible with the top up and not a hard top coupe. An immensely comfy long-distance cruiser.
Batman time? Put the top down, tap Sport mode, and the E450 turns aggressive with quicker shifts, and the feeling of more power and precision at your command. There’s even a Custom mode if you want to tailor in some bespoke performance. Very Alfred-like if you ask us.
Working along with the transmission is the optional 4Matic all-wheel drive which makes the E a 4-season cruiser and helps put all that power down on your favorite twisty road. Another reccomended partner was our tester’s optional Air Body Control air suspension that lets you enjoy that creamy-smooth ride, even with those massive 20-inch wheels and tires.
Dial up a sportier mode and you’ll feel a firmer response, but it never gets near harsh. You do feel it step up its game though – throw it in a turn and this big cabriolet gobbles up corners like a smaller sports car. Great fun!
Do I Need a Superhero’s Bank Account?
Well, this is a Mercedes-Benz and a beautifully equipped one, so there is a premium. Our tester started at $75,750. (For reference the C-Class Cabriolet starts at $55,400.) Our tester had some lovely options, including those 20” AMG wheels ($1,450), Multicontour front seats with massage function ($950), Ventilated front seats ($450), Air Body Control air suspension ($1,900), Driver Assistance Package ($1,700), Exterior Lighting Package ($750), Warmth and Comfort Package ($1,050), AMG Line trim ($2,500) add a couple smaller items and $1,050 for Destination, and we rang the bell at $88,650.
The new BMW 840 xDrive is a strong competitor, but comparably equipped, we estimate a price of $106,480. Ouch. The Lexus LC C convertible is a stunner, but it’s even more expensive at an eye-watering $110,215. Both are lovely vehicles, and possibly a bit more focused as driving machines, but their interiors feel low rent compared to our E Class. Looking at it, the E450 looks like a bargain – if you can think anything in this price range can be called so.
Well, you might not be Batman. And you might not need a loyal man servant. Then again, no reason not to feel that kind of special whenever you drive!
Superb in every way, the Mercedes 2022 E450 Cabriolet is gorgeous to look at, delightful to drive, and oozes sophistication and quality.
Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round — whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, and learning to surf.