Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Convertible
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What's New for 2013
For 2013, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class adds two new models: an E350 Coupe 4Matic and the E400 Hybrid. New features include an updated mbrace telematics system, standard heated seats on coupe and cabriolet models and an optional Bang & Olufsen audio system for sedans and wagons.
American historian Will Durant once paraphrased Aristotle in this clever way: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." We wouldn't be surprised if Mercedes uses this as a motivational poster for its engineers. Year after year, the Mercedes Benz E-Class exemplifies excellence, regularly ranking at the top of our midsize luxury car list. It's a benchmark for refined ride quality, confident handling, meticulous craftsmanship, clever innovation and sophisticated comfort.
With the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, excellence also includes variety. There are sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon body styles, plus engines that range from fuel sippers to outlandish horsepower monsters. The E-Class lineup alone would otherwise represent the full model portfolio from some other luxury brands.
For 2013, the lineup expands with the new Mercedes-Benz E400 Hybrid, which will be available later in the model year. Similar to the S-Class hybrid, the E400 hybrid pairs its 3.5-liter V6 with a small electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. The improvement in fuel economy isn't substantial, but the wallop of extra torque from the electric motor should appeal to those with a penchant for acceleration rather than conservation.
It's true that some E-Class rivals offer sportier, more dynamic handling, but we contend that for most buyers in this segment, luxury trumps performance. Among sedans, we rank the 2013 Audi A6, 2013 BMW 5 Series and 2012 Jaguar XF as very close 2nd-place finishers. For coupe, convertible and high-performance variants, Audi's A5, S5 and RS 5 and BMW's M3 and M5 deserve a look. But for consistent excellence, it's hard to beat the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is available in five-passenger sedan, four-passenger coupe, four-passenger convertible (Cabriolet) and seven-passenger wagon body styles. Each is further broken down into different trims that correspond with its engine. The sedan is available in E350, E350 Bluetec, E400 Hybrid, E550 4Matic and E63 AMG variants. The cabriolet is offered in E350 and E550 (with a coupe-only E350 4Matic) trim levels, while the E-Class wagon is available in E350 4Matic and E63 AMG guises. (4Matic refers to the all-wheel-drive system.)
The E350, E350 Bluetec and E400 Hybrid sedans are similarly equipped with 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, LED running lights, a sunroof, automatic wipers, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power front seats with four-way lumbar adjustment and memory functions, MB-Tex premium vinyl upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, ambient lighting, auto-dimming inside and driver-side mirrors, the COMAND electronics interface, Bluetooth, the Mercedes' mbrace telematics system and an eight-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer and an auxiliary audio jack. The E350 sedan distills further into Luxury and Sport sub-trims, which vary in suspension tuning, styling, interior trim and wheel design.
The E350 wagon gets standard all-wheel drive, a power liftgate, a rearview camera and a rear-facing third-row seat. The E350 coupe gets heated front sport seats, leather upholstery, a 60/40 split-folding backseat and a console-mounted transmission lever with paddle shifters. The E350 Cabriolet gets a power-folding roof, a rear center pass-through and the AirCap pop-up air deflector.
Every E550 adds bigger brakes, 18-inch wheels and leather upholstery (optional on the E350). The E550 4Matic sedan comes with standard all-wheel drive and the Sport sub-trim items, while the coupe gets a sport-tuned suspension and a sport body kit.
The optional Premium 1 package adds a navigation system, a rearview camera, heated seats, a power rear window shade for the sedan and coupe, satellite radio, a 14-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system and an iPod interface. E550 buyers also get ventilated front seats with this package. The Cabriolet version of this package includes the AirScarf neck-warming system.
The Premium 2 package adds adaptive bi-xenon headlights with washers and automatic high beams, a power trunk lid and keyless ignition/entry. The Lane Tracking package adds blind-spot detection and a lane departure warning/keeping system. The Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control and advanced versions of the Lane Tracking items.
Stand-alone options on the sedan and wagon include front and rear parking sensors (also offered on coupe and Cabriolet), split-folding rear seats, heated and ventilated front seats (E350), a panoramic sunroof, enhanced front seats with adjustable bolsters, a heated steering wheel, an infrared night vision warning system and a rear-seat entertainment system. Most sedans and wagons can also upgrade to a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound system.
The range-topping E63 AMG includes most of the E550's equipment plus a larger V8, various AMG-engineered and -tuned components (transmission, suspension, steering, brakes, exhaust), headlight washers, a sport steering wheel, sport seats with adjustable bolsters, unique interior and exterior trim, and the premium sound system with satellite radio and an iPod interface. The sedan gets a power rear sunshade and a split-folding rear seat, while the wagon offers a panoramic roof.
AMG models can opt for the Premium 1, Premium 2, Lane Tracking and Driver Assistance packages along with most of the stand-alone features, as well as a limited-slip differential, 19-inch forged alloy wheels and carbon-fiber trim. Finally, the AMG Performance package adds power, more aggressive suspension tuning (sedan only), a sportier steering wheel, a higher top speed, red brake calipers and a carbon-fiber engine cover.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz E350 models come with a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 302 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard on every E-Class, as is rear-wheel drive on all but the wagon. The wagon comes with all-wheel drive (4Matic), which is also available for the sedan.