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The E-Class Cabriolet has a standard Active Brake Assist, which uses forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Dawn doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.
The E-Class Cabriolet offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Dawn doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The E-Class Cabriolet’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Dawn doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
To help make backing safer, the E-Class Cabriolet’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Dawn doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
Both the E-Class Cabriolet and the Dawn have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.
The E-Class Cabriolet’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Dawn’s (5 vs. 4 years).
There are over 10 times as many Mercedes dealers as there are Rolls-Royce dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the E-Class Cabriolet’s warranty.
On the EPA test cycle the E 450 Cabriolet RWD gets better fuel mileage than the Dawn with its standard engine (20 city/27 hwy vs. 12 city/18 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the E-Class Cabriolet’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Dawn doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the E-Class Cabriolet’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Dawn doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet higher (5 out of 10) than the Rolls-Royce Dawn (3). This means the E-Class Cabriolet produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Dawn every 15,000 miles.
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 Dawn.
All-wheel drive, available in the E-Class Cabriolet, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all-wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The Rolls-Royce Dawn is not available with all-wheel drive.
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 Dawn’s optional 40 series front and 35 series rear tires.
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 Dawn doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For better maneuverability, the E-Class Cabriolet’s turning circle is 4.2 feet tighter than the Dawn’s (37.5 feet vs. 41.7 feet).
The Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 850 to 1000 pounds less than the Rolls-Royce Dawn.
The E-Class Cabriolet is 1 foot, 6.1 inches shorter than the Dawn, making the E-Class Cabriolet easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
For excellent aerodynamics, the E-Class Cabriolet has standard flush composite headlights. The Dawn has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.
The E-Class Cabriolet has a larger trunk with its top down than the Dawn with its top down (9.5 vs. 8.6 cubic feet).
The E-Class Cabriolet’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Dawn doesn’t offer folding rear seats.
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 Dawn doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
The E-Class Cabriolet’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Dawn’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.
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 Dawn doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. Its standard heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.
On extremely cold winter days, the E-Class Cabriolet’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Dawn doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
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. The Dawn doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
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 Dawn doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The Mercedes E-Class comes in coupe, convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Rolls-Royce Dawn isn’t available as a coupe, sedan or station wagon.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The E 450/E 53 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 3 years. The Dawn has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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