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Audi A5 Cabriolet 3.0 TDI Quattro S line vs. Mercedes Benz E-Class Cabriolet 350 BlueEFFICIENCY

Audi A5

Audi A5 Cabriolet 3.0 TDI Quattro S line

- £43,760

I'm a big fan of the Audi A5 and have been ever since I was driven around in the 2.7-litre V8 diesel version. Now, that engine's old hat, and has been replaced by a newer more refined 3.0-litre diesel unit that produces even more power.

The best specification A5 in my opinion is this, the A5 Cabriolet 3.0 TDI Quattro S line. It takes all the best bits of Audi and puts them together; Power Hood? Check. Quattro 4 wheel drive? Check. Big fat V8 diesel? Check.

Design wise the facelift S Line A5 is nicer than ever and benefits from new alloy wheels, dual separated exhausts and more modern headlights. Inside, it's all very much typical Audi, with soft touch materials everywhere you look and the steering wheel and controls have a high quality feel to them.

Out on the road the Audi A5 Cabriolet is a fantastic machine to be behind the wheel of. This version's got 240 horsepower and 368.8 lb /ft of torque to get the blood racing, which is more torque than you'll likely come across elsewhere in your travels. That makes it faster than its competition although not quite so much as the Mercedes Benz E-Class Cabriolet 350 BlueEFFICIENCY SE  which has just under 400 lb /ft.

Line the Mercedes and the A5 up, though, I'd go for the Audi every time. I think that unless a Mercedes features an AMG badge they're best left alone, as an Audi or BMW offers the same quality in 99.9% of areas.

Also, for the price you can buy a basic specification E-Class Cabriolet, you can get a top specification S Line A5 Cabriolet. Rather than be at the bottom of the Mercedes pile wouldn't you rather be at the top of the Audi's?

S Line trim gets you LED headlights, lots of gorgeous aluminium throughout the cabin, special S Line sports seats, special S Line alloys and sports suspension set up. For just under £44,000 you get a fully loaded car that goes like the clappers and will suit practically any occasion, being classy enough for fine dining and professional enough for the stock exchange.

What's the Mercedes Benz E-Class Cabriolet got going for it? I'll get back to you when I can think of something good.

Mercedes E Class

Mercedes Benz E-Class Cabriolet 350 BlueEFFICIENCY

- £43,280

Is there any cooler way to roll than in a fresh looking Mercedes?

Over in America they'd tell you there isn't, bar a muscle car. Mercedes has always either been the old man's rep mobile or the gangsters play thing. The AMG cars are ludicrously powerful and cool and the non sports versions are let-down boring. At least, that's my experience.

So what of the  Mercedes Benz E-Class Cabriolet 350 BlueEFFICIENCY?

Well, it's not boring. It might not have any AMG badges but this thing is plenty fast enough. With 231 horsepower and 398 lb /ft of torque this is a very able motorway cruiser and it'll even reach a top limited speed of 155 mph. With thanks to the big 3.0-litre diesel engine at the front this particular Mercedes boasts the same in-gear times as  a BMW 330d too. Not bad for a car that looks as though it should be sailing people abroad on a cruise.

You see, It's huge this Mercedes; It's styling may be an optical illusion, but it's 4698mm in length which is a whole 60mm more than the Audi A5 above.

Despite the size it's an economical cruiser however. It'll return a combined cycle of just under 40 mpg and out on the motorway you could hit 47 mpg. Taking in to account this car has a huge heavy diesel lump and a kerb weight of around 2000 kg depending on extras fitted, I don't think that's half bad.

In base SE trim the Mercedes Benz E-Class Cabriolet 350 BlueEFFICIENCY comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, full leather seats and surround, climate control and heated seats. It's a very well equipped car even in base form and when the lowest common denominator feels this good, it makes you wonder why you'd opt for a better spec out of the factory.

So the Mercedes Benz E-Class Cabriolet 350 BlueEFFICIENCY is not a boring car and it has very easy to access performance out on the roads. On long journeys, the car is just as good; you sink in to the full leather seats and the ride is never too firm for the UK's pothole ridden roads.

As you may be able to tell I really like this car. I've tried to nit-pick and come up with things I don't like but there simply aren't any. If it were between this and the A5 Cabriolet, I'd choose the Merc; sorry, but the Mercedes is just a different class of car. Why have Medallion when you can have Sirloin?

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