THE ugly face of Mercedes raised its head at the weekend in the grotesque spectre of former great Michael Schumacher.
Not that Schuie’s snarling plot to paste the pit lane with his fellow drivers in Budapest had anything to do with me, I too had my own Bank Holiday weekend drama while driving a Merc at speed.
As Schumacher and his Mercedes did their best to wallpaper Rubens Barichello all over a Hungarian wall barrier, I did my utmost to impale myself on the central reservation of the M9 – or rather, a couple from Cornwall did.
Schumacher, a man with a reputation as dour and unsporting as they come, used a novel way of trying to preserve his position in a race he never even came close to winning. He decided to cut across Barichello almost forcing the Brazilian to crash his car at breakneck speed.
Hours after the seven-times world champ almost turned Barichello into pit mush at the Hungaroring I almost did the same with my Mercedes while driving to Dublin.
My mishap into the central reservation had nothing to do with a pesky German, or bad road manners by a man in a Merc.
In fact, instead of trying barge somebody off the road, I was merely trying to avoid clipping an elderly English couple who had strayed into my path in their camper van as they sauntered towards Dublin and most likely, the early morning ferry.
And it is only when you are presented with an unforeseen obstacle as Jack and Vera in their caravan can you really appreciate the true delights of the Merc Cabriolet.
Braking was thankfully superb, handling was particularly excellent as I veered towards the central barrier and control was nimble.
As I managed to pull the car to the left and inside Jack and Vera’s driving line I managed to kick on enough pace and acceleration to avoid an oncoming truck on my inside.
Okay, so some wreckless driving by an elderly pair of camper vanners isn’t the best way of assessing the merits of the Mercedes E Class Cabriolet.
You want to hear what it was like to drive with the roof down, and with the breeze rushing through the cockpit, don’t you?
Well, if you really must know ... it was awesome. No matter what age you are, driving a car with no roof always manages to titillate, invigorate and excite in equal measures.
As far as I’m concerned the Mercedes E Class is the greatest coupe convertible in the world.
Apart from the soft top, the car comes with zig-zaggy front lights, which are every bit as sexy as the Audi eyelashes. The whole roof down thing takes a mere 20 seconds or so, which is just as well considering the rate of weather change we’ve had recently.
Of course for the E Class to look truly beautiful you should have the windows down too, which all very well if you’re cruising down Sunset Boulevard, but if you’re rocking down the M9 trying to avoid old people in camper vans it can be quite turbulent.
My E220 Diesel wasn’t particularly economical, as you might expect, but it wasn’t overly thirsty either. The Mercedes E Class with all the bells and whistles will cost you €73k – just don’t give it to a washed up German who doesn’t want you to pass him - in Hungary or on the M9.