This 382-hp V8 is quick out of the gate and pulls steadily throughout the rev range. Toggle to Sport mode and its 7-speed automatic shifts quickly via the paddles. At highway speeds it's clear this Benz is suited for all driving situations.
Steering is weighted well in the E550. Some may find it heavy in parking lot situations. But this weighting equates to enhanced stability when at speed on the highway. When it comes time to stop, the brake pedal is firm and reassuring.
Ride comfort is average at best for this performance-oriented convertible. But interior comfort items do enhance the E. Seat heat and ventilation, multi-position lumbar and bolster support make this seat among the most comfortable around.
It's a convertible and by nature, not quiet. In addition to the moderate intrustion of tire and road noise, we experienced a creaking from the roof just above the driver's ear. With the top down, the windshield-mounted air deflector was useful.
Rear seats are good for storing cargo so long as it isn't human. HVAC and radio controls are easily reached but the decision to use buttons over knobs is questionable. If not for the easily used COMAND brain center this rating would be lower.
Forward visibility is great. A low swooping front hood allows for clear sight lines in all forward directions. A rearview camera compensates for the high trunklid and associated blind spot. Bi-xenon headlights offer extensive coverage.
Seat Access & Space
A 2+2 convertible isn't going to offer much space for passengers. In that sense, this E550 does not disappoint. Front passengers enjoy highly adjustable, easily accessed and supportive seats. Rear passengers just don?t fit.
Cargo & Storage
Not a lot of storage space here. A nook in the door pockets, a cranny in the center console and a trunk sized to snuggly wedge two carry-on bags. That's about all you get.
Mercedes-Benz continues to set the standard in build quality. Very, very good. This would be higher if not for the creaky noise we noticed from our convertible top.
We've tested hardtop convertible Es before. As expected, they offer more isolation from the outside world than the cloth-top version tested here. Still, it raises and lowers reasonably fast. And despite being cloth, is still rather quiet.