What should I be paying?
This is not a cheap car, but it gets a lot more affordable if you start thinking of it as a cut-price S-Class Cabriolet rather than a more expensive C-Class Cabriolet (though the E-Class Cabrio facelift arrives as S-Class Cabrio production is on hiatus while the saloon enters a new generation). Its style and ethos are closer to S than C, and it’s actually tricky to pin down direct rivals from elsewhere – neither Audi nor BMW offer a four-seat cabrio this size and all attempts at premium 2+2s from outside the German big three have fallen by the wayside. Remember the Infiniti G37? No?
Sensible money buys the E220d. Why work harder and burn more fuel than is strictly necessary? But if it’s petrol you crave, try and get a 6cyl – there’s something slightly unbecoming about the entry E300, even if it returns relatively decent fuel economy figures.
The options list is lengthy, so beware. A lot of it is bundled into pricey packs, which makes it easier to pile on the thousands. But Mercedes has the good grace to make a lot of the important stuff – Airscarf and Aircap included – standard-fit in the UK, while AMG Line trim is default too. Clearly we’re a vain bunch and limiting our choice to the biggest wheels and chintziest trim is a no-brainer.