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Audi S5 Cabrio and Mercedes E 400 Cabrio in comparison: castles in the air for four passengers

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Audi S5 convertible and Mercedes E 400 convertible in comparison
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G ut that the two four-seater luxury convertibles are not politicians. Otherwise their titles would have been carefully analyzed by a plagiarism finder, with the result that something is probably wrong with the names. The consequences are well known: media degradation and flight abroad. With this gigantic summer weather - who would have thought that in June - we want to keep our two open-air protagonists in the country. With the two Beaus, the maximum escape from everyday life is.

But the fact remains: The name Mercedes E-Class Cabrio is strictly speaking incorrect. Under the pimped up 2013 sheet metal and E interior - now with a more elegant dashboard - is the shorter C-Class floor pan. This is why the open E (207 series) is not built in Sindelfingen, but by its C brothers in Bremen. Which in principle is more of an information for automotive pedants who know the paint numbers of all Mercedes after the Second World War by heart.

The rear of the Mercedes is narrower

Except when the passengers are on the two rear seats of the Mercedes, which are covered in fine leather E-class convertibles take a seat. Then the narrowness in comparison to the sedan is surprising. Sure, the folding fabric roof takes up space, but something less cozy around the knees would be nice too. If you jump into the Audi immediately afterwards, you will notice that it can be more spacious. Whereby the S5 acts cleverly with the less voluminous shape of the seats and the flatter glove compartment.

The open-top Daimler takes great care to make a good impression on its backbenchers: the front seats in the Mercedes automatically buzz E-Class Cabrio in a comfortable step-in position, while the S5 requires manual help. The difference in comfort becomes even greater while driving. The Audi pushes a little more support under the thighs, but as soon as the wind blows stronger, the hour of the aircap in the Mercedes E-Class convertible strikes. From the outside it looks as pretty as a bump on the forehead, but from 40 km /h it cleverly directs the air over the heads. Seat giants excluded. A fresh air lake is created in which the passengers can bathe in a relaxed manner without hurricane-like hairstyle turbulence. The Audi now also optionally offers a warm air scarf against a draft neck.

It shows upThere is a fundamental difference in character between the two open-air stars: the Mercedes is clearly designed as a connoisseur convertible, which, with its 333 hp three-liter six-cylinder, can also be used for sports when required. Incidentally, E 400 is also a small fraudulent label as the name for three-liter displacement. The Audi convertible, on the other hand, is initially an S5. Dynamic, snappy and with a spunky babble sound, the open-top driving skills come in second place. But let's look deeper into the engine compartment. The Guttenberg from Audi is waiting there.

Economical, quiet biturbo in the Mercedes E 400 convertible

V6 3.0 TFSI emblazoned in large letters on the engine, which translates for Turbo charged fuel stratified injection, in German turbo- and stratified injection. However, the S5 is by no means a turbo, but a compressor unit. He only uses the fuel-saving lean operation (excess oxygen) of the stratified charge at partial load. Something born out of the high waste heat shortage of the narrow V-engine, there is no hot turbocharger in the exhaust system, but a cool, mechanically driven charger. Mercedes has now banned the belt-driven type of performance enhancement from the engine range because it promises excellent response behavior without a loader second, but also drag losses. They increase consumption in the NEDC, and the developers before cuddling.

It is therefore not surprising that the S5 with 11.9 liters per 100 kilometers consumes 0.8 liters more than the exactly equally powerful biturbo in the Mercedes E-Class convertible. The jet-guided direct injection engine is not only the newer unit, but with a good 1.8 tons it also has to haul around two hundredweight less than the aging representative of the lightweight construction lobbyists from Lower Bavaria. In addition, its seven-speed automatic can draw from the abundance of the 1,500 rpm lower and 40 Nm higher torque. Which in principle promises lower and therefore more economical speeds.

So the Mercedes E 400 Cabrio cruises easily out of 1,400 tours with a short response pause, where the Audi is already wriggling in the lower gear of the dual clutch transmission. The power potential of the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet lurks, but it doesn't necessarily have to be tickled. In addition, a pleasant, gently throaty V6 baritone sounds. Simply a wonderful unit that fits perfectly with a convertible with its elastic, casual style. The Audi V6 looks much more direct, but also more jostling - passionate sports drivers love it for it.

Despite the additional weight, the sprint goes from zero to 100 km /h thanks to its standard all-wheel traction (purely mechanical crown gear differential) with 5.5 Just seconds to the Audi. Subjectively, the S5 drives more nimbly and the rear-wheel drive Mercedes E-Class is more neat. Which is primarily a question of coordinating the two electromechanical steering systems: something with the AudiSynthetic and strikingly smooth (in comfort), perfectly fitting with the Mercedes E-Class Cabrio and with correctly measured hand strength. The star carrier also brakes a little better across the board.

Mercedes E-Class Cabrio cruises better

If you just want to flow across the country, it is best to do so in the Mercedes E-Class Cabrio. The convertible feeling can be perfectly adjusted with the aircap, the adaptive damping responds excellently and easily absorbs hard distortions. When the acoustic roof is closed, the noise level is up to four decibels (72 dB at 160 km /h) lower than in the Audi - there are few solid sheet metal roofs quieter.

The S5 looks a bit tighter, more precise and wobbles less. But it also speaks to the highest level with its optional adaptive dampers. In terms of pure handling, it is both subjectively and objectively (driving dynamics measurements) ahead. When cruising, however, he has to admit defeat to the Swabian convertible. This has internalized the enjoyable, non-hectic, the way-is-the-destination side of open-top driving too much.

Since the facelift, like the sedan, the Mercedes E-Class has distinguished itself as an all-encompassing carer. With its steering assistant, it not only masters semi-autonomous following traffic jams, but also brakes autonomously for pedestrians and at dangerous intersections. The Audi cannot do that, as it does not have an optional stereo camera for a 3D view of the front. At least it offers a little more luggage space with the roof open with 320 liters. Which doesn't change the deserved victory of the even cheaper Mercedes E-Class convertible.

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