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2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Test Drive Review

Dominating a class of one, there is nothing quite like a 2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet.

8.2 /10
Overall Score

Following a substantial refresh for the 2021 model year, the mid-size 2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class lineup sees few changes. The most significant of them is the cancelation of E63 and E63 S AMG models. Reportedly due to supply chain problems, V8 engines are being dropped from much of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz lineup. That leaves the E-Class with turbocharged four-cylinder and six-cylinder power plants.

Additionally, a couple of paint colours are new. With the E-Class coupe and convertible body styles, rear USB charging ports are now standard equipment.

Look and Feel

9/ 10

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is available in coupe, convertible, sedan, and station wagon body styles. Try to think of another model offering that kind of variety. We can’t.

E-Class sedans come with an E350 model designation, which signals a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. All E-Class variants are available as an E450, powered by a turbo 3.0-litre inline-six equipped with the automaker’s EQ Boost 48-volt mild-hybrid powertrain technology. In Canada, 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD) is standard, while rear-wheel drive (RWD) is not offered.

Driving enthusiasts will want an AMG-tuned E-Class. Every version of the car except for the All-Terrain wagon offers an AMG E53 model using a more powerful version of the E450 4MATIC’s engine.

Obviously, we’re not going to cover all of these different variants. Last year, we reviewed both the AMG E53 4MATIC+ sedan and the E450 All-Terrain wagon. In 2020, we examined the base E350 sedan. In all three cases, the E-Class ranked high, except in the cost-effectiveness category. The 2022 model isn't likely to change the cost-effectiveness equation.

This time around, we evaluated an AMG E53 Cabriolet (convertible), which had five digits worth of matte-finish paint, premium leather, and carbon fibre trim piled on. Even at its base price of $103,000 (not including the destination charge, which varies according to model and location across Canada) the E53 convertible struggles to justify its window sticker. With its full load of options, our test vehicle’s as-tested MSRP would edge close to an incredible $120,000 Canadian.

But then, this is not a car for penny pinchers. It’s for wealth flaunters. And as equipped, we must say it looked sensational.

Modern Mercedes have a design purity to them. In basic form, they’re almost devoid of character (we’re looking at you, white E350 sedan lease special). But when you add our test car's AMG styling, larger, more intricate wheels, a convertible top, and matte-blue paint finish that is almost luminescent, it's perfection.

However, the real treat awaits you inside, especially in high-end spec like our test vehicle. From the bright high-resolution digital displays and the glow-in-the-dark air vents to the artfully executed Burmester speaker grilles and soft, supple leather, our AMG E53 Cabriolet looked, felt, and smelled like nothing but luxury.

Performance

8/ 10

As mentioned above, the 2022 Mercedes-AMG 53 models have a 3.0-litre turbo inline-6 engine equipped with Mercedes' EQ Boost mild-hybrid technology. EQ Boost employs a 48-volt electrical system and an integrated starter generator embedded into the drivetrain to improve both power output and efficiency.

In this model, the AMG-tuned engine generates 429 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. Everywhere in the rev range between 1,800 rpm and 6,100 rpm, it is making either maximum power or maximum torque, ensuring a robust response to throttle input at nearly any speed. Mercedes quotes an acceleration time of 4.6 seconds to 100 kilometres per hour.

An AMG Speedshift nine-speed automatic transmission and AMG Performance 4Matic+ variable AWD system put the engine’s power to the pavement, and drivers can choose from multiple AMG Dynamic Select driving modes that palpably alter the car’s character. Remember, even in AMG specification, the E53 needs to coddle its occupants some of the time and capably storm down mountain roads at other times.

Rounding out the engineering highlights, the E53 Cabriolet has an AMG-tuned air suspension and an AMG performance exhaust system, and our test car included optional 20-inch wheels shod with sticky summer performance tires.

The duality of an AMG E53’s personality is on full display with the convertible. A quiet and cushy cruiser when it needs to be, the car is perfectly at home on a coastal highway, lazing along, top down, at a relaxed pace with your partner and children or another couple aboard.

During a solo drive in the mountains, adjusting AMG Dynamic Select transforms the E53 Cabriolet into something else entirely. The car firms up and stands at the ready to cover ground just as rapidly as you dare. While there is some evidence of cowl shake over bumps and dips due to the loss of the fixed roof, the E53 Cab nevertheless feels solid and sure-footed while running through twists and turns, the car’s amplified exhaust note adding to whatever soundtrack emanates from the Burmester speakers.

Our test car arrived during a chilly week, underscoring the E-Class Cabriolet’s three-season, top-down driving suitability. When equipped with all of its available heated this-and-that (see below), it’s easy to imagine enjoying the car on that first spring weekend when temperatures finally crest 10 degrees Celsius or during an October autumn colour tour. And if the weather ever takes a turn for the worse, the car buttons up in less than 20 seconds.

You can even drive the E53 Cabriolet in the winter, thanks to its AWD system, heated wiper blades, and a plethora of camera viewing angles. Just be sure to first switch to winter rubber.

Form and Function

8/ 10

A true four-passenger convertible, the Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet transports adults front and rear. Each seat is comfortable and Mercedes provides an Aircap system that reduces turbulence in the cabin when the top is down.

Most of the time, the E-Class Cabriolet carries one or two people. That’s why special attention is paid to the driver and front passenger comfort over those in the rear seats. Heated seats and a heated steering wheel are standard, and the test car had the available rapid-heating front seats and heated centre and door panel armrests. A neck-warming system called Airscarf is also standard.

For hot weather, sun-reflective leather stays cooler in direct sunlight. Ventilated front seats are available, too. If it’s just too hot outside, the triple-layer acoustic soft top helps to keep the car’s cabin cool and quiet.

Independent of the exterior temperature, the test car had multi-contour front seats with massage and an Air Balance interior fragrance system. On a long drive, the seats were perfect companions.

With the top raised, the car’s trunk will hold 360 litres of cargo. That’s not much. If you want to the top dropped, you’ll lose about half of that volume, giving the E-Class Cabriolet about as much trunk space as a Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Tech Level

9/ 10

No other car company gets digital instrumentation and infotainment right to the degree that Mercedes does. Its Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system is complex yet (mostly) simple to use. The swipe and scroll functions for the steering wheel touchpad buttons require acclimation, but otherwise, MBUX will make sense to anyone familiar with a modern smartphone.

Two 12.3-inch screens—a touchscreen and digital instrument cluster—form the foundation of the E-Class version of MBUX. They are full-colour, high-resolution displays that do not wash out in sunlight unless the sun is directly behind the car and the top is down.

You can interact with MBUX using the touchscreen, the physical controls on the centre console, the digital voice assistant roused with nearly any mention of “Mercedes,” or the touch-sensing buttons on the steering wheel. You can also customize the system to personal preferences—adding to its ease of use.

The MBUX system includes the expected features and functions like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Upgrades include Wi-Fi service and an augmented reality video overlay for the navigation system. This feature puts the front-mounted camera feed onto the display screen and overlays directional arrows to better assist drivers in finding their destination. A head-up display is also available, and the test car included a terrific Burmester surround-sound audio system with gorgeous metal speaker grilles.

Over time, the most common challenges with MBUX include remembering where a feature or function is within its broad and deep menu structure, and accidentally waking the digital assistant by saying “Mercedes.” In a convertible, the digital assistant can also experience some confusion when using it while the top is down, due to the added wind noise, but this is to be expected.

Safety

10/ 10

You might be surprised to discover what standard safety features are included in the E-Class—and what features are not included.

The E-Class has standard forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. The E-Class Cabriolet also features pop-up rollbars designed to protect occupants in a rollover collision.

Additionally, Mercedes Pre Safe and Pre Safe Sound are standard. Pre Safe can detect vehicle behaviour that suggests a collision may occur and prepare the cabin and its occupants for an impact. Pre Safe Sound helps protect your ears from damage during an impact by emitting a special “pink noise” through the stereo speakers. According to Mercedes, this noise induces a natural reflex within the ear canal that can shut out loud noises to prevent hearing loss.

Active Parking Assist is also standard on the AMG E53, a semi-autonomous parking aid that many E-Class Cabriolet owners will appreciate. A surround-view camera system also makes it easier to park. Rain-sensing wipers aid visibility, too, and come with Magic Vision Control. This feature sprays washer fluid directly from the wiper blades to eliminate or lessen the common overspray factor with traditional washer jets.

Most other safety features are bundled into the extra-cost Driver Assistance Package. These include adaptive cruise control with Active Speed Limit Assist, Active Steering Assist (lane-centring assistance), front automatic braking for cross traffic, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Emergency Stop Assist, and Pre Safe Plus (rear collision preparation).

Our test car was equipped with this package, and we found it to be a terrific collection of driver aids. In particular, the adaptive cruise control and Active Steering Assist were impressive, with the latter including signaled lane-change functionality.

In the past, we’ve also tested the Active Emergency Stop Assist, and it works as advertised to bring the car to a controlled stop in its lane of travel with the hazard lights flashing. This system responds to an inattentive driver who is sleeping or has suffered a medical emergency.

Cost-Effectiveness

5/ 10

A technological tour de force offering legitimate seating for four adults, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet is a car unlike any other. But you’re going to pay for the privilege of owning it.

Naturally, by sticking with an E450 in Black or Polar White with the standard 19-inch wheels and no options, you’ll save tens of thousands over what our loaded E53 cost while still enjoying robust acceleration, the MBUX bells and whistles, and the car’s luxe interior design. But a basic E450 convertible is also somewhat invisible in its natural habitat and isn’t as engaging or sporty to drive when the road ahead turns twisty.

No matter which version of the E-Class Cabriolet you choose for your new car, you’re guaranteed the ability to dress it up or down to tailor its look and feel to your preferences, and there certainly is value in that. This is a relatively rare car to start with and by custom ordering one with specific paint, wheel, top, leather, and trim selections you can create one that is uniquely your own.

Note: Images show a US model.

Updated by Christian Wardlaw

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