2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet First Drive: Four-Season Droptop
– Mont Blanc, France
“Punta Helbronner” is a marvel of modern construction perched on a craggy peak in the Italian Alps more than 11,000 feet above sea level. Accessible only after taking two silent rotating gondolas from the quaint Alpine village of Courmayeur, the two-year-old metal-and-glass structure houses a bistro, a rare crystal exhibition, and a circular observation deck roughly 45 feet in diameter providing visitors with up-close views of Mont Blanc on one side, and, on a clear day, the Matterhorn on the other. And the day I visited, it also provided one primo parking spot for a 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class convertible.
While Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system is available on the all-new W213-generation E-Class cabriolet, it would take more than that to get such a car up to Punta Helbronner, which looks like the Millennium Falcon after getting impaled on an Alp. Hence, Mercedes-Benz hoisted the car up there via helicopter. Yes, it’s unnatural to see a car in a place like that and yes, it’s pretty cool, and yes, it’s a stupid PR stunt, and yes, it’s a PR stunt that worked ‘cuz I’m telling you about it. And it was one helluva photo op.
The cabrio is available in the U.S. only as an E400 at this point, powered by Mercedes’ biturbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with 329 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque.
Did Mercedes-Benz have to go through all this effort to get the kind of ink splash it wants for the launch of its newest cabriolet? Well, probably. The new E-Class cab is on...