Say you find yourself in the world’s sunnier climes with the need to cruise long distances comfortably, have your backside cooled for you, control music with nothing but the sound of your voice, all while being able to “drop the hammer” at a moment’s notice and scare both yourself and bystanders. If you had these very specific criteria in mind for a new car, why you’d be in the market for a 2014 Mercedes E550 Cabriolet. Mercedes was kind enough to give me a crack at their latest soft top, and I was kind enough to give driving this (as tested) $82,335, 402hp barn-stormer the ‘ole college try. So we were both generous is what I’m saying.
Right off the bat, the E550 hits you with its angular design language. This isn’t the mathematical and cold “flame surfacing” of modern BMW’s or the brutalist slabs and creases of new Audis. No, the current Mercedes design language is a more organic and pressed theme. It works well in the flesh and is a welcome departure from the jutting faces of the Mercs from just a few years ago.
Inside you’ll find the same quantity and quality of leathers and surface materials that have been a trademark of the silver arrow almost since the company’s inception. Everything feels up to a high standard and the aggressive, angular design continues here as well. Of special note are the seats – pounding out a cross-country trip in these bad boys would be about as comfortable as laying in a bed made entirely of Tribbles.
Upon first firing up the powerful 4.6L V8 the first thing that struck me was the delicious “thrummm” of the engine. The next thing I noticed was that the radio was already set to Classical. Natch. With the roof down, radio off, and AC disengaged, in other words all distractions removed, I embarked upon my journey. It immediately become clear that the E550 is not a panacea for every driving need and condition. The following are all the things the E550 is not: a sports car, a city car, a posing car, or a fuel-sipping miser car. This is a grand-tourer in the traditional sense. A big, powerful motor paired with an eminently comfortable cabin and sublime road manners. It is built to gobble up great swaths of road at a time.
Because the E550 Cabriolet is more about marathons than agility sprints, the basic concern with convertibles – their softness and propensity to wobble – is not even worth worrying about. If you are thinking of tracking or autocrossing this car, you have bigger problems then body roll and stiffness. Taken for what it is, the 2014 E550 Cabriolet is the only choice for cross-country motoring.
You can check out more of the car in the gallery below: