2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 Cabriolet

Along with the Infiniti G37 and the BMW 3-series, the E350 convertible is among the best-driving four-seat convertibles on the market today, but keep in mind that that's a bit of a left-handed compliment. The ride can be harsh on some of Michigan's worst roads, but I think the tradeoff is worth it. I'd much rather have this Benz than a wet-noodle Toyota Camry Solara or Chrysler Sebring, but I think I'd prefer an more affordable and raucous Ford Mustang GT droptop most in this category. The E350 handles fast driving on undulating back roads quite well, but it's still better suited to more relaxed excursions, such as taking the family to get ice cream on a weekend afternoon. Which is exactly what I did - two days in a row. The rear seats are good but not great. Aircap makes no detectable difference to front-seat passengers, besides increasing levels of top-down wind noise, but rear-seat passengers reported a slight lessening of wind in their hair.

Here's further proof of Don's contention that this car is more fashion statement than sports car: It is almost pointless to paddle your own gears when hustling down curvy back roads, because the transmission is slow to react and seems to do its own thing anyway, unless you're asking only for an occasional solitary downshift.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

New Car Research

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