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Soft top cruiser

autos Updated: Jul 01, 2011 01:19 IST
Ameya Dandekar
Ameya Dandekar
Hindustan Times
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In a country like India, where the extreme heat, dusty environs and humid conditions dominate, few can see the justification behind buying a convertible. A short ride in one is bound to either get you clambering to get the roof back up again or having to pull over and relax under a shady tree. Convertibles are, hence, very rare in India. However, it’s their exclusivity that makes them desirable.

A prime example of one such rare car is the Mercedes E-class cabriolet. One glimpse and traipse around the car is enough for you to realise that Mercedes has done a sterling job with the design. Hood down, it looks fantastic. Even so, the car maintains much of its flair even with the roof up, and this bodes well if flexibility is on your list of requisites.

The E-Cabriolet is powered by the same 3.5-litre V6 engine from the coupé version of the car. It puts out an impressive 272bhp and 36.1kgm of torque. However, it weighs 120kg heavier than the E-class, and this dampens the power. The torque does counter this deficit, but you’ll be quite disappointed if what you expect this car to put out sports car-like performance. At high speeds, it’s good at covering pace at a good rate, but when you try to go fast or overtake on a two-lane road, you realise that the grunt just isn’t adequate. In terms of outright performance, it takes 7.90 seconds to reach 100kph and has a limited top speed of 250kph.

The the E-Cabriolet is quite nice on sharp surfaces. The flip side is the extremely harsh ride and the E-Cabriolet crashes over sharp surfaces, which can be a bit jarring. It levels up well as you go faster but, as with most convertibles, there is a fair amount of scuttle shake and you can feel tremors through the body every time you hit a bad patch. Our test example with 17,000 km on the clock was already rattling like a taxi. This is simply unacceptable in a Mercedes.

Mercedes-benz e-class cabriolet
Price: Rs 66.47 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Top speed: 250kph*
Length: 4638mm
Width: 1786mm
Height: 1398mm
Wheelbase: 2760mm
Kerb weight: 1765kg
Engine: 6 cyls in Vee, 3498cc, petrol
Installation: Front, longitudinal, rear-wheel drive
Compression ratio: 10.7:1
Power: 272bhp at 6000rpm
Torque: 36.1kgm at 2400-5000rpm
Gearbox: 7-speed automatic

The E-Cabriolet has a design that commands desirability and a strong ability to stand out in a crowd. At R 66.47 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), it does deliver on all those accounts, although the ride could have been better, built of a higher quality with power to counter the weight gain.

Autocar India