Mercedes-Benz E 250 convertible is a classic Benz soft-top with styling that looks great whether the top is up or down.
The E250 convertible is all class with quality leather finishes, an elegant and understated dash arrangement. Power seat settings are on switches on the doors, easy to find and use compared to those unseen switches on the side of the seat in other marques.
The satellite navigation works well, although we found the voice commands didn’t always work, probably due to the extra road and wind noise entering through the soft top.
While the ‘250’ in the name might suggest otherwise, the engine is a 1.8-litre four cylinder unit that’s turbocharged to add a lot more grunt than you probably expect. Naturally there’s some turbo lag but it’s minimised by clever engineering.
Get the engine on song and over 2000 rpm and the E250 really takes off. Acceleration from rest to 100 km/h is in the high seven-second range. More importantly, the in-gear acceleration from 80 to 120 km/h lets you overtake safely in a minimum distance.
The use of a seven-speed automatic transmission aids in the engine’s ability to deliver, providing low gearing for around town and to get the engine revs up when overtaking, then slipping into high gears for lazy highway cruising. The tall gearing also help reduce fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
Most owners will find the big convertible using about seven to eight litres per hundred kilometres on the open road, a figure that will rise to a still reasonable eight to eleven litres around town.
We like the swooping bonnet and prominent grille and the rear end is set off by a subtle ‘ponton’ bulge over the rear wheel arches.
The E 250 is a four seater with each seat tailored to individual passenger comfort. The front seats are spacious and have multiple adjustments that provide exactly the sort of pampering we love in a car of this class. Immediately you sit in the front seat the E 250 seat belts are delivered just next to your shoulder via an extension arm.
The back seats aren’t too bad for legroom though there is usually the need to compromise with those in the front. Entry to and from the back seats isn’t easy - not an unusual problem in this class of vehicle, but we have experienced worse.
Head room in the back is low enough to cause hassles for those on the tall side but is great for kids - probably the main occupants in a car like this so that’s seldom going to be a problem. These comments are for the E 250 with the roof closed - with it open the sky is the limit in headroom.
Boot space isn’t too bad with the top up, naturally some space is lost when the top is down. Check for yourself before buying, but a sensible choice of luggage makes the E 250 more practical than you might anticipate.
This big Merc convertible has a five-star ANCAP crash rating. It has no fewer than nine airbags, including a pair of headbags in the front seats.
Roll-over protection includes two bars behind the rear seat backrests. If the crash detection electronics sense danger the bars are rapidly deployed upwards to proved head protection. The sturdy windscreen pillar can also absorb a lot of crash loading.
Combining elegant class with the prestige of a Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star and you get a practical convertible for not a lot over $100,000 - a good price for this class of car.
E250 CGI 1.8-litre petrol two-door convertible: from $107,850 (automatic)
E350 3.5-litre petrol two-door convertible: from $131,600 (automatic)
E500 5.5-litre V8 petrol two-door convertible: from $188,635 (automatic)
E250 CDI 2.2-litre diesel two-door convertible: from $111,450 (automatic)
Mercedes-Benz E250 Convertible
Price: from $107,850
Engine: 1.8-litre 4 cylinder turbo, 150kW/310Nm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic, RWD
Lexus IS250C F-Sport
Price: from $76,800
Engine: 2.5-litre 6-cylinder, 153kW/252Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto, RWD
Thirst: 9.3L/100Km, CO2 219g/km
Price: from $61,950
Engine: 2.5-litre 5-cylinder, 169kW/320Nm
Transmission: 5-speed auto, FWD
Thirst: 9.8L/100Km, CO2 234g/km