2020 Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet vs. 2020 BMW 4 Series Convertible

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The E-Class Cabriolet’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The E-Class Cabriolet has standard front and rear seat side-impact airbags and head airbags, which act as a forgiving barrier between the passengers and the door. Combined with high-strength steel door beams this system increases protection from broadside collisions. The 4 Series Convertible doesn't offer rear-seat side-impact airbags, only ones for front seat occupants.

The E-Class Cabriolet’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the E-Class Cabriolet and the 4 Series Convertible have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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There are over 10 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are BMW dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the E-Class Cabriolet’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th.

Engine

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The E-Class Cabriolet’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 114 more horsepower (362 vs. 248) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 258) than the 430i Convertible’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The E-Class Cabriolet’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 42 more horsepower (362 vs. 320) and 39 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 330) than the 440i Convertible’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The E-Class Cabriolet has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the 4 Series Convertible (17.4 vs. 15.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the 4 Series Convertible.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the E-Class Cabriolet’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the 4 Series Convertible:

E-Class Cabriolet

4 Series Convertible

Front Rotors

14.2 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

14.2 inches

11.8 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the E-Class Cabriolet has larger standard tires than the 4 Series Convertible (245/45R18 vs. 225/45R18). The E-Class Cabriolet’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 4 Series Convertible (F:245/45R18 & R:275/40R18 vs. F:225/40R19 & R:255/35R19).

The E-Class Cabriolet’s optional 245/35R20 front and 275/30R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 4 Series Convertible’s optional 40 series front and 35 series rear tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the E-Class Cabriolet offers optional 20-inch wheels. The 4 Series Convertible’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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The E-Class Cabriolet has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The E-Class Cabriolet’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The E-Class Cabriolet’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the E-Class Cabriolet’s wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the 4 Series Convertible (113.1 inches vs. 110.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the E-Class Cabriolet is 2.5 inches wider in the front and .8 inches wider in the rear than on the 4 Series Convertible.

Passenger Space

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The E-Class Cabriolet has .8 inches more front shoulder room and 1 inch more rear legroom than the 4 Series Convertible.

Cargo Capacity

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The E-Class Cabriolet has a much larger trunk with its top down than the 4 Series Convertible with its top down (9.5 vs. 7.8 cubic feet).

The E-Class Cabriolet’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The 4 Series Convertible’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

With its convertible body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the E-Class offers cargo security. The 4 Series Convertible’s non-lockable folding seat defeats cargo security.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the E-Class Cabriolet has a standard power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer a power trunk, so its trunk has to be closed manually.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 23% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.

Ergonomics

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The E-Class Cabriolet has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the 4 Series Convertible, the E-Class Cabriolet has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The E-Class Cabriolet’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The E-Class Cabriolet’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The 4 Series Convertible has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

Heated windshield washer fluid is standard on the E-Class Cabriolet to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. Its standard heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the E-Class Cabriolet has standard extendable sun visors. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the E-Class Cabriolet keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 4 Series Convertible doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Mercedes E-Class has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. Wireless charging costs extra on the 4 Series Convertible.

The E-Class Cabriolet’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The 4 Series Convertible’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Model Availability

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The Mercedes E-Class comes in coupe, convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the BMW 4 Series isn’t available as a station wagon.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the E-Class Cabriolet owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the E-Class Cabriolet will cost $1930 to $2995 less than the 4 Series Convertible over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the E-Class Cabriolet is less expensive to operate than the 4 Series Convertible because typical repairs cost much less on the E-Class Cabriolet than the 4 Series Convertible, including $63 less for front brake pads, $277 less for front struts and $62 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/19

The E 450/E 53 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 2 years. The 4 Series Convertible hasn’t been picked since 2014.

The Mercedes E-Class outsold the BMW 4 Series by 84% during the 2019 model year.

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