WE Brits love our open-top motoring and with the slightest hint of sunshine on the horizon, it's down with the roof and crank up the heaters time.
There are many types of convertibles, including the dynamic two-seaters that offer exciting driving dynamics but may result in regular trips to the chiropractor. Then there are the more standard family car models that feature a roof that drops.
And finally, you get the coupe-styled four seaters that offer the ideal combination of comfort, performance, style and top-down fun.
The very latest E-Class Cabriolet from Mercedes-Benz falls into that latter category. It's the fifth and youngest member of the E-Class line-up that has seen a complete revision over the last 18 months and it's been worth waiting for.
There's a choice from a range of powerful diesel and petrol engines mated to a quick-fire 9G-TRONIC nine-speed gearbox and, for the first time, cars are offered with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive.
We tried the E 220 d AMG Line model powered by a 2.0-litre 194hp diesel engine which could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in an impressive 7.7 seconds and onto a top speed of 147mph.
According to official figures, the car can deliver combined fuel economy of 57.7mpg with carbon emissions of 126g/km.
The car was priced at £44,675, but a raft of optional extras and packs boosted the cost up to £50,490, which is actually very competitively priced for such a classy model.
The E-Class cabrio is a stunning looker that is guaranteed to attract attention thanks to its sleek coupe-like lines, low-positioned diamond grille housing the Mercedes star, a lengthy bonnet with power-domes, tail lights that resemble the glow given off by a jet engine and LED high performance headlights that were upgraded to multibeam LED intelligent lights on our model.
The interior is equally impressive and certainly has the ‘wow' factor throughout. There is the finest Nappa leather, plenty of soft touch surfaces, 64-way ambient lighting and a striking new woven metal trim along the dashboard and doors.
Costing Â£365 extra, the trim looks similar to carbon fibre and houses the turbine engine-inspired air vents. One small feature that just goes to prove Mercedes' attention to detail is the seat belt extender button.
The front seat belts are presented automatically when the driver and front seat passenger get in the car. But if the driver takes a while to get settled, then press a button and the seat belt is delivered again over the right shoulder.
Comfort levels are supreme and the car boasts performance capabilities to match its dynamic styling.
The latest model is 123mm longer and 74mm wider with a wider track and that all translates into improved driving dynamics.
The acceleration through the nine-speed gearbox is smooth and rapid with a constant burst of power on tap. The road-holding is ultra grippy and tight bends can be attacked with confidence.
There are paddle shifts if you fancy taking more control over the gear switches and driving modes called Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport+ and Individual alter the car's responses.
The addition of an Air Body Control function allows you to further configure gear changes, throttle responses and much more.
The car is also beautifully agile and makes light work of weaving its way through busy town centres and then when the open road presents itself, its foot down fun all the way.
Should the sun put in an appearance, the roof can be lowered in 20 seconds whilst still travelling at speeds up to 31mph. It can be raised just as simply which is a bonus with our unpredictable weather patterns.
A neat feature on the car is the neck warmers that blow out warm air so you can still drive the car with the top down on chilly days without turning blue.
The multi-layered roof features sophisticated insulation to reduce wind and driving noise. In fact, with the roof up, it feels and sounds like a hard-top car.
When it comes to infotainment, the Mercedes E-Class Convertible is packed to bursting with all the latest technology and the car boasts one of the most attractive display layouts on the market.
Two 12.3-inch screens combine together to create one long info panel that looks like it is floating beneath the glass. These panels offer a wealth of information and the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel can be viewed in Classic, Sport or Progressive layouts offering a variety of data and readouts such as navigation, phone contacts, music and eco driving performance - all displayed in various colours and fonts.
There was also the addition of a Premium Plus pack costing £2,895 that introduced a number of upgrades including a pitch perfect 23-speaker Burmester surround sound system.
The two-door E-Class Cabriolet is a designated four-seater and although there is room for a couple of adults in the back, leg room is a tad limited - especially if the front seats are pushed back. But up front it's a completely different picture with bundles of space for both the driver and passenger.
Storage options are okay with a boot capacity of 385 litres (310 litres with the roof lowered) and there is a new load-through feature thanks to 50:50 folding rear seats.
Throughout the cabin there are numerous practical storage options, including a glovebox, a covered double armrest where the smartphone connection cables are found, cup holders, trays and door bins. Back seat occupants also get door buckets, cup holders, pockets that fold out the back of the front seats and storage nets.
As one would expect, the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet is packed with safety features andan optional Driving Assistance package on the test car, costing an extra £1,695, added blind spot detection and lane keep assist, evasive steering assist, drive pilot and pre-safe plus.