By Duane Pemberton
The name Mercedes-Benz usually invokes visions of the finer things in life – you know, vacations, food, wine and travel. It’s been a brand that’s been synonymous with those things because of its pedigree as a world-class brand, Mercedes clearly has a lot of good brand-equity amongst most consumers and I’m okay with that.
I know I had folks ask me – over a year ago – “Duane, why cars on WineFoot?” – My answer is, “Why not”? We are all consumers and those of us in particular to the love of wine tend to not only appreciate good wine but any product that can enhance our lives – it’s all about the “wine lifestyle”.
The 2011 E550 Cabriolet is a 2-door convertible with an extremely potent V8 that produces 382hp and can launch the car from 0-60 in a mere 4.7 seconds (Car and Driver test results). At a sticker price of near $70,000, it’s clearly for a certain demographic that wants both the image and prestige of the brand.
- VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive,4-passenger, 2-door convertible
- BASE PRICE : $65,675
- ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
- Displacement: 333 cu in, 5461 cc
- Power (SAE net): 382 bhp @ 6000 rpm
- Torque (SAE net): 391 lb-ft @ 2800 rpm
- TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatic with manumatic shifting
- DIMENSIONS: Wheelbase: 108.7 in Length: 185.0 in
- Width: 70.3 in Height: 55.2 in
- Curb weight: 4158 lb
- FUEL ECONOMY:
- EPA city/highway driving: 15/22 mpg
I drove the car for a week and can certainly appreciate the appeal it brings to the table.
The interior fit and finish is top-notch but the very-squared styling isn’t my personal favorite. That said, it sports most all the creature comforts we’d expect to see in a sedan of this category. Full-on entertainment/navigation system that will even rip your audio CD’s onto its integrated hard drive.
The performance of this car – as a daily driver – is what I know will appeal to many, however it does come a fuel cost of lower MPG. Then again, if you can afford $70k for a car then you can clearly afford the cost of the required premium unleaded gas to go into it.
Its traction control system really helps the car launch with any noticeable spinning – not so much the case if you disengage this system. The beautiful “throaty” sound of the V8 kicks-in with the kind of roar that kicks-ass and takes names but not at all in an obnoxious way.
Handling for me felt great- being rear-wheel drive has its benefits for a car that’s more of a “driver’s car” in that the steering feels much more solid and of course there’s non of that dreaded “torque-steer”. Body roll is rather minimal for a sedan like this and felt very sure-footed during tight corners.
One of the more impressive things about this car is how quiet it is inside the cabin with the top up – in fact, I had a few passengers that forgot it’s a convertible when riding around.
If this car was a wine, I’d say it’d have to be a big, jammy, kickin’-ass California Zinfandel – not the over-oaked, too much alcohol kind as it’s more refined than that. But the drop-top and performance simply beg to be driven on an open road with the sun shining and the BBQ grill waiting for you when you get back home.