Excellent wind isolation with the top down; many pampering features; strong performance; ideal handling and ride balance.
Soft top doesn't provide security of retractable hardtop; not as sporty to drive as more performance-focused rivals; option packages quickly drive up the price.
The Perfect Convertible for Those Who Like To Be Coddled
Fast-forward a decade or two. Now, these same folks are older, savvier and, very likely, fussier and more demanding. They like the romantic notion of top-down cruising, yet don't want cold air chilling them, don't want road and wind noise disturbing them, and don't want the car to wriggle like Shakira when they encounter potholes or railroad tracks. For these conflicted luxury car consumers, there is the 2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 Cabriolet — the perfect convertible for the "I want to have my strudel and eat it, too" crowd.
Depending on your mood, you can motor top-down in this Benz with the wind lapping your face and swirling your hair...or not. Those crafty Mercedes engineers have devised a system of wind blockers for the E350 cabriolet that can keep the cabin nearly as calm as it would be with the roof raised. And if it's a bit nippy outside but you can't resist the moonlit sky above, just crank up the seat heaters and the Airscarf neck warmers. The latter blow warm air onto your neck and shoulders, and after the first use will have you wondering how you ever got along without them.
In addition to this tranquil fresh-air motoring experience, you also happen to get a car that practically defines the term "grand touring." The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 Cabriolet excels at covering ground very comfortably and at a rapid pace, if you so choose. Still, in the posh luxury convertible segment, there are a few other cars to consider. Both the BMW 3 Series convertible and Infiniti G37 convertible offer the additional security of a retractable hardtop design as well as a more involving drive for the enthusiast. The Volvo C70 is an outside shot; it's certainly comfortable but doesn't offer the level of sophistication or athleticism of the E350. Lastly the Audi A5/S5 cabriolet is another worthy soft-top choice. But as nice as these rivals may be, they lack the ultimate polish of this Mercedes convertible. It gives you the feeling that you're being completely pampered and protected from the cruel outside world even while you're enjoying it from your fresh-air vantage point.